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!