[*BCM*] UAV accosts biker in Brookline
E O Altman
transmogrifer200 at yahoo.com
Sun May 25 13:10:02 EDT 2008
I do not condone bad or aggressive driving, by UAVs (urban assault vehicles) or pedalcyclists.
When will we, as a community of cyclists, get together on this?
It stands to reason that every time a cyclist pulls a BS move in traffic or aggresses a vehicular driver or a pedestrian that that cyclist is creating a wave of negativity that may well take down another hapless, law-abiding, careful, courteous cyclist later on.
I empathize with the cyclist in Brookline. There are plenty of drivers out there who navigate carelessly, even with hostility in their hearts, around cyclists. Quell the urge to hit back. Stay calm and be vigilant. The odds ARE stacked against us cyclists in more ways than you may realize.
Some years ago I was hit by a car. I was hurt pretty badly: coma, back and neck injuries, wrecked bike and bike clothing (thousands of dollars). Even so, several lawyers told me that it would not be worth my while to seek compensation for my losses, that it would cost me thousands (investigative costs) on the front end, to try to get damages from the offending driver. By the time a trial could be scheduled, I would walk into the courtroom, tall, healthy-looking, etc. (even though I still have to take pain-killers and have adjustments seven years after the accident). The jury, most of whom would be licensed drivers, would quite likely not see it my way. All the defense needed was a single juror who had an issue with cyclists. Every day drivers are put out by cyclists in this city. Ultimately, we lose; and, when we do, we lose big time!
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
In 2002, 662 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 48,000 were
injured in traffic crashes. [Forty-eight thousand!]
The number of pedalcyclist fatalities in 2002 was 8 percent lower than the
723 fatalities reported in 1992. The highest number of pedalcyclist fatalities
ever recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) was 1,003
These numbers are staggering. Even so, statistics seem to be improving for pedalcyclists. There are many reasons for this, e.g.: there are more pedalcyclists (when they get behind the wheel of a car they tend to empathize with those who are biking and exercise greater care); cities are working to improve bicycle safety with improved street designs and signs, safety awareness programs and laws; there are more biking clubs, with ever increasing memberships, dedicated to getting people out on bicycles and riding safely.
Critical Mass Boston riders really need to re-evaluate why they come together to ride through Boston.
The aggressors who ride in Critical Mass think they are cool. They are not doing any of us any favors. When the safe cyclist ignors the hooligan on a bicycle, he is contributing to growing hostilities directed at cyclists.
Thi year' May Day, I rode (for 2 blocks, before I pulled up - I did not want to be part of the negative energy being created) with the Boston Critical Mass Ride. My vocal requests for fairness, to share the road, were met with sophomoric sneers. On their way to protest the "unfair treatment of immigrants", to sing about peace and gentle diplomacy, to celebrate the working man (and woman) who is the foundation of America, the May Day Critical Mass cyclists went out to attack Boston. Even though it was a small crowd of bikers, they still managed to harass drivers, enter and block intersections when they did not have the right of way, whoop and holler and disrupt the peace.
Do not get drawn into the mob fray. Be a role model of safe, courteous, law-abiding cycling. If you are going to ride in traffic, ride accordingly: refrain from dawdling and disrupting the flow of traffic, signal your intentions and move accordingly, obey traffic rules, yield to pedestrians (do not weave through those walking when they have the right of way and do not block crosswalks), smile, have fun and pay attention.
I know we can make Boston a more bike-friendly town. Every time a cyclist pulls a BS move in traffic or aggresses a vehicular driver or a pedestrian we make our town less friendly and our streets more dangerous for all.
e o altman
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