Get Bikes Off the Roads

22

Sep

Get Bikes Off the Roads

Need something to get you warmed up as the weather turns cooler?  Look no further than this morning’s Projo.  A letter to the editor posted this morning claiming that

It is often suggested that automobile drivers should learn to share the road with bicyclists. In my opinion, it is foolhardy and dangerous for bicyclists to be on the highways with motorists, period. Bicycles no more belong on roadways than autos belong on bike paths.

Bicycles are slow, small and difficult to see; autos may weigh tons, and, with their automatic transmissions, are powerful and fast at a light touch of the foot.

Show me a safe bike path, that efficiently takes me everywhere I need to go by bicycle and I’m sure you will see more people on bikes.  The simple truth is that we have a few, very nice bike paths in the state, that all to frequently force cyclists to stop at cross streets and go very few places.

While this last statement is true, isn’t it the drivers responsibility to “control” their vehicle?  Who cares if they are driving an Indy race car, which I’ve never driven but I imagine responds quite quickly, it doesn’t give you the right to drive irresponsibly.  He continues:

Too many cyclists are clueless as to rules of the road – either for automobiles or for bicycles. This complicates matters for motorists, who are required to pass a written examination on rules of the road, and pass a road test to obtain a driver’s license. And young teenagers are required to attend a 30-hour driver-ed course, to boot. This is gross and unfair to motorists, whom we expect to share the road with bicyclists.

I agree that there are many naive cyclists on the roads, but for every cyclist I see breaking the law in a single day, I can point to MANY more motorists doing the same or worse.  The bigger issue, in my mind, comes back to who is likely to get hurt by the misdead?  In all cases, be it the cyclists or the motorist breaking the law, the cyclists is going to loose.

While it’s true motorists had to pass a written and driving test at some piont to get their license, how many could do so today, were they to be spot tested?  I think the number would be surprisingly low.  Here is my favorite part of the argument:

This unfairness is magnified immensely when contrasting the mandatory costs of having the two types of vehicles use our highways. Registration and license fees, taxes and a sensible insurance package with liability and collision coverage may cost in the thousands of dollars for a responsible car owner but perhaps zero for unwitting cyclists. Should a bicyclist be the cause of an accident, there would be no mandatory liability insurance for any injured parties; in all probability too, in court, the cyclist would walk.

… and who’s problem is it that driving a car is expensive?  Imagine for a moment if everyone road bicycles as their primary vehicle.  The infrastructure required to support the few remaining cars and public transportation options is immensily less than our current, umaintainable, infrastructure.  As for the difference in insurance costs, it all comes back to who is more likely to do severe damage.  Outside of bicycle racing, how many serious bicycle/bicycle or bicycle/pedestrian accidents are there compared to atomobile vs. anything type accidents?  As for the accident question, how many bicyclists cause an accident where they, themselves, are not the ones sent off to the emergency room?  Perhaps they would walk out of court, if they could walk at all!

10 thoughts on - Get Bikes Off the Roads

  • Sep 22, 2008 at 7:51 am

    …snip…

    Should a bicyclist be the cause of an accident, there would be no mandatory liability insurance for any injured parties; in all probability too, in court, the cyclist would walk.

    …snip…

    Lol. In all probability the cyclist won't be able to walk, ever again, let alone attend court.

  • Sep 22, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Doh. duplicate observation. Thats what I get for laughing and commenting before finishing reading.

  • Barry
    Sep 22, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I think underlying the hostility to bicyclists by such motorists is the deep awareness that bicycling is a superior lifestyle for reasons of economy, health, and environment, and a natural reaction of those in polluting vehicles to this is to show hostility. The solution is more bicyclists!

  • Sep 22, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Barry, not sure if that's where the tension comes from. I'd venture to guess most folks driving aren't that wrapped up in their vehicle choice as it relates to their fitness, cash flow or carbon footprint. I think they'd just rather we didn't get in their way, and that we didn't make them have to drive with a higher level of attentiveness. The plight of the angry motorist continues…

    Oh, and that tax/insurance BS gets me every time. Are many cyclists not also vehicle and property owners? If they are, and they don't drive everywhere should they get some taxes back?

  • Barry
    Sep 22, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I think underlying the hostility to bicyclists by such motorists is the deep awareness that bicycling is a superior lifestyle for reasons of economy, health, and environment, and a natural reaction of those in polluting vehicles to this is to show hostility. The solution is more bicyclists!

  • Sep 25, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    The biggest hostility against bicyclists in the roadnet design. In RI, all they do is steal shoulders for additional narrow lanes, which we know kill bicyclists and motorists alike. As hostile as NYC is, there are more cyclists per capita commuting to work there than Providence by a factor of 250 to 1.

  • Dennis
    Sep 26, 2008 at 10:22 am

    You know, I have to agree with some of this stuff. When I'm riding I see folks on bikes riding the wrong way on one-way roads, running stop signs and lights, swerving in and out of traffic…. but they do have a helmet on. I'd estimate one good rider for every 5 idiots I see out there.

    How much of this "bike safety" are we responsible for? Once "they" get on a bike they become "us". Now we all look like idiots.

    Still, I try to follow the rules as much as possible and set something like a good example. What else can we do?

    Dennis

  • Sep 26, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    The trolls are out. "Swerving in and out of traffic"? Where are they supposed to be? Hugging the curb?

    Bicyclists have every right to ride as far out in traffic as necessary to avoid the horrible road edge conditions. They should confine themselves, otherwise, to the right 1/3 of the travel lane, according to law.

    One way streets often run counter to good bicycling accommodations. I sometimes find myself going against the grain, since the IDIOT who designed the road totally forgot about cycling use.

    The facts of the matter is that ALL ONUS for law compliance falls on motorists first. Any courtesy that bicyclists show motorists is merely good breeding and self preservation, not obligatory.

  • Dennis
    Sep 28, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Swerving in and out of traffic.

    Headed up the hill on Hope, between Rochambeau and Cyprus. This happy cyclist found it important to ride as far to the right as possible. He managed this by riding in the parking lane when cars were not occupying it, then moving out onto the roadway when a parked car came up in front of him. The end result is a bicyclist that looks drunk, "swerving" out into the traffic lane from the concealment of parked cars.

    Wrong way? How about riding against traffic on a One Way road, like in front of the Dunk, by Kennedy Plaza, or on North Main Street? This really makes for a fun ride during the one rush hour ride (N. Main) when I was riding to the right traveling North and find a bicyclist bearing down on me, head on. Who gets to pull out into traffic to avoid the collision on this one?

    And Alan, It is my understanding that when I'm on my bike I have to follow the same rules of the road that the motorized vehicles follow, when possible, not just ride as I see fit at the moment "out of courtesy".

    My point to my post was to remind the biking public that not all of us are doing the right thing out there. Let's police "us" a bit while we're policing "them".