[*BCM*] The movement that divides us
schimek at alum.mit.edu
Mon Jun 5 16:47:24 EDT 2006
Bicyclists for the most part have been ignored by road designers. It is not surprising that they are also ignored in traffic enforcement. Where there is zero enforcement, people will do whatever they can get away with (and possibly either think it is lawful, or possibly make up a rationalization about why the law does or should not apply to them). However, bicyclists are not ignored in the law. Where this comes into play is if you are injured (or cause an injury). Then all of a sudden it matters who was following the traffic law. It may mean a difference of millions of dollars.
If you look at the crash statistics, you will see that *at least* half of all car-bike collisions among adult bicyclists occur when the bicyclist is clearly not following the rules of the road (e.g., going the wrong way or failing to yield when required). The conclusion is that following the rules will make you safer.
By failing to teach the police what the laws are regarding bicycling, we doing a disservice to bicyclists by failing to stop dangerous behavior and therefore needlessly increasing crashes. We also contribute to situations where police give out misinformation, or even stop lawful bicyclists. We are also failing to get police to stop motorists who do things that are dangerous to bicyclists (e.g., passing and then immediately turning right). We are also contributing to the public idea that bicyclists don't belong on the road.
I was honked at a few weeks ago, and then told that I don't belong on the road because "you [bicyclists] don't stop at red lights." The speaker was a 9 year old girl (although it was her mother who honked). People figure this out pretty young.
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