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

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhr View Post
    Beyond what other people have been saying, I was further annoyed at this piece for the following reason: even if you think that cyclists are obligated to take more responsibility for their safety (something I'm not sure I agree with), the sheer laziness of writing that, on one hand, some people think they're entitled to run over cyclists, and on the other hand, some cyclist think that's unfair, and so the truth lies somewhere in the middle is astounding.

    Should we apply the same logic to crimes like murder? Sure, the people who are murdered aren't happy about it, but other people think murdering is OK... Maybe they can compromise?
    Actually, that's how modern "journalism" works for pretty much any topic. There's this strange belief that everything must be "balanced", which seems to mean giving every nutjob uncriticized access to mass media. It's admittedly hard to define the precise line between promoting groupthink and filtering idiocy, but "killing someone because you're too lazy not to" should be so obviously antisocial that it shouldn't be presented as a reasonable position.

    Another decent summary at http://wheelbike.blogspot.com/2013/1...y-nytimes.html

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickie View Post
    Although I do agree with all of you, how is that working out so far?
    Realizing the above, here's where I've evolved to:

    1) Safety on the roads isn't a cycling issue. It's a human issue. We need to focus on the drivers, how they are human, and how they don't want to kill anyone. On a neighborhood road, there's always a chance a little kid might dart out from somewhere a driver couldn't see. The chance that the kid dies goes from 25% if the driver is going 23mph to 50% if the driver is going 31mph. That "5-over" that so many people rely on because it's the buffer zone where you won't get a ticket makes you twice as likely to kill a kid. Even if it's the kid's fault for darting out in the road, you don't want to kill him/her. Slow down.

    2) More butts on bikes = more safety. Especially cute butts. That's why I think you all should care about Safe Routes to Schools and general family biking. You may not have kids, but families using bikes for transportation makes bikes transportation normal. Plus, those cyclist-haters don't hate on bikes carrying little ones. I know, I've lived it.

    What does that mean for advocacy?

    1) Focus on the driver. Assume they don't want to kill people. Even when it's not "their fault", focus on the fact that they don't want that on their conscious.

    1a) Work with law enforcement. This "5 over" thing and rolling through stop signs is widespread because the cops allow it to be. As the article points out, killing cyclists with your car is becoming accepted because people don't even get tickets for it. C'mon.

    2) Help us get families on bikes. Support SRTS. Apply for one of the two empty "community" spots on the MMTSSSC (if you live in Arlington and don't have kids in APS). Marshall/photograph/generally publicize Kidical Mass Rides. Suggest other ways to get families on bikes.

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    Oh, and the other realization I've come to lately is on the "cyclists ignore traffic laws" front. 1) Traffic laws weren't written for cyclists, and 2) they are often not enforced in a way that protects cyclists. I believe this phenomenon has a name. 1 has been pointed out a lot here but I don't think we discuss 2 very much, aside from the obvious complaint when we see targeted enforcement against cyclists.

    I think pointing out #2 to the powers that be (police and elected officials) could have an impact. Also, I'd like to compare the resources dedicated to solving and preventing homicides to the resources dedicated to keep vulnerable road users safe. I believe you'd find a disparity that might get some attention.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Oh, and the other realization I've come to lately is on the "cyclists ignore traffic laws" front. 1) Traffic laws weren't written for cyclists, and 2) they are often not enforced in a way that protects cyclists. I believe this phenomenon has a name. 1 has been pointed out a lot here but I don't think we discuss 2 very much, aside from the obvious complaint when we see targeted enforcement against cyclists.

    I think pointing out #2 to the powers that be (police and elected officials) could have an impact. Also, I'd like to compare the resources dedicated to solving and preventing homicides to the resources dedicated to keep vulnerable road users safe. I believe you'd find a disparity that might get some attention.
    You have a point, but its probably also true that cyclists ignore traffic laws for the same reason motorists do: they can generally get away with it.

    The problem with the whole equivalence argument is that cyclists are the slower, less massive and far more fragile vehicle, and as such any traffic law flaunting on their part is faaaaaaaar less likely to kill and/or injure someone than what motorists routinely do. The greater responsibility should always be on the more dangerous vehicle. We have a very, very car-centric culture though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Actually, that's how modern "journalism" works for pretty much any topic. There's this strange belief that everything must be "balanced", which seems to mean giving every nutjob uncriticized access to mass media.
    "Opinions on shape of earth differ"

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    The other problem with the earn drivers respect meme is that it conflicts directly with the "he came out of nowhere/I didn't see him" meme.

    If the problem is that drivers are drunk, texting or otherwise distracted, or just not expecting cyclists (a reasonable lack of expectation in many places)how does the level of law observance by cyclists enter in? What difference does it make how much people respect what they think isn't there? The respect issue plays mostly to drivers who are intentionally negligent around cyclists (which I've got to think is a small minority, many of whom will hate for reasons unrelated to cyclist obedience to traffic rules) It may impact bike policy - but I don't really think thats been the principle motivator against improved bike law in Virginia, at least.


    It still seems to me like the best approach is to increase the sheer numbers of cyclists, so its more normal, and more drivers ARE cyclists (and not just occasionally) and so other drivers are more likely to expect them - and to address distracted driving and speeding for its effects on everyone, including pedestians and law abiding drivers.

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