Likes Likes:  51
Dislikes Dislikes:  0
ELITE ELITE:  0
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26

Thread: "Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    N. Arlington
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default "Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?"

    A provocative commentary in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/10/op...lists.html?_r=

    Laws need to be enforced when a driver kills a cyclist. Greater motorist education/tolerance is needed. Smarter urban planning with more dedicated cycles tracks is vital. And yes, cyclists need to stop adding to problems and perceptions and not act like yahoos on the roads and trails (not all cyclists, of course, but we all see it enough to know there is truth here) -- we need to be better and raise the bar higher in terms of following all traffic laws as we expect of motorists around us. The NYT author is spot on: "My own view is that everybody’s a little right and that we’re at a scary cultural crossroads on the whole car/bike thing."
    Last edited by JFF; 11-10-2013 at 12:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Madison Manor
    Posts
    1,086
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I like the commentary overall, but do not accept the premise that cyclists' own behavior should determine whether motorists should follow the law and police should enforce the law. We should all be a PAL and follow the law. However, the fact that a motorist saw 99 cyclists break the law does not give them the right to drive in a dangerous manner or to receive little or no punishment for injuring or killing a cyclist. Likewise, it does not give the police the right to automatically assume that the cyclist is at fault in an accident or to otherwise not enforce the law against motorists. Finally, it is illogical to equate the potential threat to public safety of a motorist acting in an illegal manner to that of a cyclists acting in an illegal manner. This does not mean that cyclists should not follow the law and that a cyclists can harm someone else. Rather, the threat posed by the motorist is much greater and, therefore, should receive the greater amount of attention.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    N. Arlington
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sjclaeys View Post
    I like the commentary overall, but do not accept the premise that cyclists' own behavior should determine whether motorists should follow the law and police should enforce the law. We should all be a PAL and follow the law. However, the fact that a motorist saw 99 cyclists break the law does not give them the right to drive in a dangerous manner or to receive little or no punishment for injuring or killing a cyclist. Likewise, it does not give the police the right to automatically assume that the cyclist is at fault in an accident or to otherwise not enforce the law against motorists. Finally, it is illogical to equate the potential threat to public safety of a motorist acting in an illegal manner to that of a cyclists acting in an illegal manner. This does not mean that cyclists should not follow the law and that a cyclists can harm someone else. Rather, the threat posed by the motorist is much greater and, therefore, should receive the greater amount of attention.

    No disagreement here. This is a yes/and situation. Just sayin' we cyclists too need to do our part as plenty of 'em want it both ways: running a light and then getting PO'd separately when a motorist does something wrong near us. We can't have it both ways. Yes, motorist threat to cyclists far greater than vice versa and legal punishment should reflect that. Unconscionable a motorist who killed a cyclist (or anyone else) for "driver error" is not punished.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    No, it's a false equivalency and cyclists should not encourage or support it. We should simply demand safer streets. If you want to separately advocate for cyclist law adherence in the interest of law and order, fine--bit the two are not related and we should not allow the safer streets discussion to be derailed by victim blaming.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Rosslyn, VA
    Posts
    1,304
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Although I do agree with all of you, how is that working out so far? As far as I can tell nothing is changing in regards to the way cyclists are treated and respected on the roads nationally, if it were we wouldn't constantly be having this same discussion. We can talk the talk all day long sharing rhetoric about equal rights and being respected but the reality for me suggests it doesn't do much of anything, I don't feel proportionally safer on the roads than I did 20 years ago. If we really want to change the way motorists see and interact with cyclists than we need a better approach. I have no idea what it is, but I am certain it isn't based on the "them vs. us" debate, because as the article points out we will loose that battle every time. I often get flack on this forum for sharing this view, but at the end of the day I want what we all want; to feel safe and protected on the streets while riding a bicycle, for motorists to respect me and understand I am not trying to make their lives difficult, for the laws to recognize the differences between bicycles and motor vehicles. I do love the ideas and sentiments shared here but feel like change needs to happen in reality which is where I spend my time cycling.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dickie View Post
    Although I do agree with all of you, how is that working out so far?
    Mostly it's terrible, with some signs of progress mostly on the legal front and somewhat through sheer force of numbers in some places. What I don't understand is how sucking up with smarmy rhetoric about how it sure is terrible that some cyclists are bad people will make things better.

    Two scenarios:

    advocacy method 1:
    "we need to make this street safer so another kid doesn't get run over by a car"
    "cyclists stop signs blahhhhh"
    "that's irrelevant. does anyone have anything to say about making this street safer"

    advocacy method 2:
    "we need to make this street safer so we don't have another kid run over by a car"
    "cyclists stop signs blahhhhh"
    "you're right, cyclists suck! I'll go scold cyclists for being scofflaws!"

    How does advocacy method 2 help with the stated objective?

    The real fix is a cultural change that recognizes the danger that motor vehicles pose all of us, cyclists or not. People don't want to hear it, but I think the long term benefit of reemphasizing and focusing on the need for people to drive more safely is better than going with a friendlier message that motorists and cyclists pose the same level of risk and motorists don't need to change as long as anyone else can be criticized for anything. It doesn't matter if the message is received better if its a wrong-headed and counterproductive message.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Rosslyn, VA
    Posts
    1,304
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    You are certainly consistent and passionate with your opinions mstone, I do admire that! Figure out a way to make it work and I'll certainly convert my way of thinking, because at this point does anyone really care who's right? I just want to feel safe and obviously my method isn't working either. On a good note, it was a beautiful ride this morning :-)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    N. Arlington
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    No, it's a false equivalency and cyclists should not encourage or support it. We should simply demand safer streets. If you want to separately advocate for cyclist law adherence in the interest of law and order, fine--bit the two are not related and we should not allow the safer streets discussion to be derailed by victim blaming.
    I appreciate the differences of opinion and emphasis here, but I did not suggest equivalence. This is a ” yes/and” not an “either/or.” No victim blaming here. I’ve been chased down by a motorist and challenged to a fight as I legally/safely rode; had a motorist on GW parkway gun for me, horn blaring as cars stopped to let me use the crosswalk (he/she drove around stopped cars to bear down on me as I was smack in the middle of the crosswalk because he/she was outraged to wait all of 10 seconds); have been intentionally buzzed at high speed because someone thought it was funny, and I’ve almost been hit by inattentive drivers more than I care to recall. I get it and it’s highly personal to me. {Side note, I’ve also had wonderful interactions with motorists waving me on, stopping for me, giving a wide berth, etc. So not suggesting it’s all bad; it’s not}.

    All that said, I reject the premise we should focus solely on motorist behavior and better laws/enforcement (we absolutely must do that) while not also owning up to the fact that cyclists don't help themselves or our collective reputation when too many cyclists regularly flout traffic laws – and then we are somehow not supposed to discuss that dynamic which directly relates to how some motorists view us? Bad behavior of cyclists does not ever justify or equal bad behavior of motorists, period. But we can’t have it both ways on following traffic laws/courtesy either. So, yes, the conversations are intertwined, though not equivalent.

    The vast majority of cyclists are responsible – and the vast majority of motorists are not out to get us (I suspect like most of you, I’m both a cyclists and a motorist). But we can’t just do more of the same and expect different results. As Dickie rightly suggests further above this post, the “them vs. us” debate is not getting us the safety progress we deserve. If anything, as the original NYT piece posits, “we’re at a scary cultural crossroads on the whole car/bike thing. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
    Last edited by JFF; 11-11-2013 at 11:18 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    4,124
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JFF View Post
    All that said, I reject the premise we should focus solely on motorist behavior and better laws/enforcement (we absolutely must do that) while not also owning up to the fact that cyclists don't help themselves or our collective reputation when too many cyclists regularly flout traffic laws – and then we are somehow not supposed to discuss that dynamic which directly relates to how some motorists view us? Bad behavior of cyclists does not ever justify or equal bad behavior of motorists, period. But we can’t have it both ways on following traffic laws/courtesy either. So, yes, the conversations are intertwined, though not equivalent.
    I'm less interested in matters of law and more interested in matters of safety. I also have seen no evidence that some cyclists holding themselves to an unrealistic standard (because no human, in any mode, follows all rules all the time) will positively affect the perceptions of those people predisposed to dislike cyclists. (Those people will continue to focus on the small percentage of truly dangerous cyclists, and there are no practical steps we can take to improve the behavior of those cyclists short of the consistent accounting of responsibility for behavior that results in adverse effects that I'm already advocating.)

    That said, I'm just as hell-on-wheels against cyclists who are actually irresponsible (e.g., by passing too close to pedestrians or not respecting pedestrian right of way in crosswalks) as I am against motorists who do the same. I just choose to focus on whether people are behaving safely rather than whether they're being perfect and dog-whistles like "stop signs" have nothing to do with safety. Generally, though, I criticize poor cyclist behavior when talking to cyclists in a venue and context that makes it appropriate. I don't see value in holding that conversation up in a futile attempt to beg someone to grant me the standing to criticize other non-related issues.

    The vast majority of cyclists are responsible – and the vast majority of motorists are not out to get us (I suspect like most of you, I’m both a cyclists and a motorist). But we can’t just do more of the same and expect different results. As Dickie rightly suggests below, the “them vs. us” debate is not getting us the safety progress we deserve. If anything, as the original NYT piece posits, “we’re at a scary cultural crossroads on the whole car/bike thing. I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
    What is "them vs us" about saying that people drive too fast, don't pay enough attention, and don't drive in such a way that demonstrates a deference to more vulnerable people? I say that AS A DRIVER. Most of the benefits of people driving better don't accrue solely to cyclists--maybe the problem is allowing the discussion to get framed as a cyclist issue? I don't want my kids run over walking in crosswalk any more than I want them run over riding a bike. Slowing traffic down (say, to the legal speed limit as a starting point) reduces the likelihood of pedestrian accidents and reduces the severity of such accidents, and happens to also make it easier to ride a bike.

    I also don't see what is "them vs us" about insisting that our public servants hold people responsible for clear violation of laws that result in injury or death. You're absolutely right that there's no up side to a general argument about who is more virtuous--that's a stupid conversation anyway--but there's no "side" in arguing that a specific death should be investigated rigorously and criminal charges should be filed as appropriate. I absolutely reject the notion that the response "stop signs" to the question of "why didn't police file charges when this truck ran over that person" should be given any serious credence. Again, that's not "them vs us", it's simply staying focused on things that matter in a tabloid world.

    And yes, the vast majority of motorists aren't out to get anybody, but they're driving around in a social climate that normalizes behavior that increases the risks to others; they don't mean to "get" anybody, but they also don't drive in a way that demonstrates that they actually care if they "get" someone and the police forces in many jurisdictions excuse that as normal when someone gets killed. As a driver and as a pedestrian and as a cyclist and as a citizen, that bothers me tremendously.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    N. Arlington
    Posts
    13
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I'm less interested in matters of law and more interested in matters of safety. I also have seen no evidence that some cyclists holding themselves to an unrealistic standard (because no human, in any mode, follows all rules all the time) will positively affect the perceptions of those people predisposed to dislike cyclists. (Those people will continue to focus on the small percentage of truly dangerous cyclists, and there are no practical steps we can take to improve the behavior of those cyclists short of the consistent accounting of responsibility for behavior that results in adverse effects that I'm already advocating.)

    That said, I'm just as hell-on-wheels against cyclists who are actually irresponsible (e.g., by passing too close to pedestrians or not respecting pedestrian right of way in crosswalks) as I am against motorists who do the same. I just choose to focus on whether people are behaving safely rather than whether they're being perfect and dog-whistles like "stop signs" have nothing to do with safety. Generally, though, I criticize poor cyclist behavior when talking to cyclists in a venue and context that makes it appropriate. I don't see value in holding that conversation up in a futile attempt to beg someone to grant me the standing to criticize other non-related issues.



    What is "them vs us" about saying that people drive too fast, don't pay enough attention, and don't drive in such a way that demonstrates a deference to more vulnerable people? I say that AS A DRIVER. Most of the benefits of people driving better don't accrue solely to cyclists--maybe the problem is allowing the discussion to get framed as a cyclist issue? I don't want my kids run over walking in crosswalk any more than I want them run over riding a bike. Slowing traffic down (say, to the legal speed limit as a starting point) reduces the likelihood of pedestrian accidents and reduces the severity of such accidents, and happens to also make it easier to ride a bike.

    I also don't see what is "them vs us" about insisting that our public servants hold people responsible for clear violation of laws that result in injury or death. You're absolutely right that there's no up side to a general argument about who is more virtuous--that's a stupid conversation anyway--but there's no "side" in arguing that a specific death should be investigated rigorously and criminal charges should be filed as appropriate. I absolutely reject the notion that the response "stop signs" to the question of "why didn't police file charges when this truck ran over that person" should be given any serious credence. Again, that's not "them vs us", it's simply staying focused on things that matter in a tabloid world.

    And yes, the vast majority of motorists aren't out to get anybody, but they're driving around in a social climate that normalizes behavior that increases the risks to others; they don't mean to "get" anybody, but they also don't drive in a way that demonstrates that they actually care if they "get" someone and the police forces in many jurisdictions excuse that as normal when someone gets killed. As a driver and as a pedestrian and as a cyclist and as a citizen, that bothers me tremendously.
    Reading your post here, mstone, I think we are in violent agreement on more points than those points on which we disagree. Last post for me on this topic (I promise), but this Weekly Standard piece that just popped onilne will make your head explode: "Drivers Get Rolled - Bicyclists are making unreasonable claims to the road." It reveals the extreme views of the vocal minority of "I hate cyclists" types and reinforces how this "us v. them" battle is getting worse -- and that makes us all far less safe.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articl...25.html?page=1

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •