Memo to cyclists: Obey the law.
The anonymous author of this article came from a very car-centric viewpoint. He/she may have been a cyclist, but as with most people in America, they have bought into the driving mindset. Almost the entire article was incorrect or misguided. The fact that it was published by a media outlet (Vancouver Sun) only makes this even more depressing.
Here are my responses to each statement:
Drivers already know what to do.
Do they? Than how do you explain the vast majority of automobile-related deaths? I would say that there are far too many drivers who don’t know what to do.
[Drivers] have to pass a driving test to show they are familiar with the rules of the road and can competently operate their vehicles in order to qualify for a driver’s permit. They must also prove the vehicle is roadworthy and buy insurance before they can legally use public roadways.
If you don’t know how to use a car, well, let’s just say the chances of killing someone else are much greater. In the beginning of the history of motorized transport, drivers weren’t required to have a license. What changed that? The public began to realize that if someone didn’t know how to drive, others could get hurt (or killed). They needed these drivers to prove their skills behind the wheel. The concept of licensing had arrived.
Failure to abide by the rules set out in the Province of British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act carries severe consequences, including loss of the licence or the impounding of the vehicle or both. Reckless driving can put the violator behind bars.
Reckless driving, or failure to abide by the rules of the road can result in the death of an innocent third party. In comparison, I don’t think the loss of a license is so severe. Do you? I wonder why this point was left out of your statement above?
Not so for cyclists. Anyone can purchase a bicycle and ride it. There are no licensing requirements, no tests of knowledge or skills, no insurance, no safety checks.
Cyclists don’t need to prove their skills on a bike because they aren’t hurting anybody else. This argument (licensing of cyclists) only exists because motorists are resentful when slowed or interrupted. When a rider recklessly operates a bicycle, it very rarely results in someone else’s death. You usually are only putting yourself at risk on a bicycle.
One exception: if a cyclist is in a tight-riding group of cyclists and doesn’t know what to do, he/she can harm other cyclists. But, most cyclists don’t ride in groups. And members of that group? Well, they’ll let that individual know pretty loudly and quickly about they’re unsafe behavior. When was the last time someone in a car clearly let somebody else in a car know that they were driving unsafe?
Vancouver is planning on spending $25 million on cycling infrastructure. You had some issues with that:
The City of Vancouver recently unveiled plans to spend $25 million on cycling infrastructure as part of its “green” program that includes making cycling a more attractive means of getting around town than private automobiles.
However, even by its own generous estimates, only 3,500 cyclists bike to work every morning, so the proposed spending on cycling works out to $7,142 per cycling commuter.
Here’s some news regarding your figures: that figure of $7,142? That’s a one-time expenditure! Divide it over the life of the improvements, and you have very little annual cost. Roads, painted lines, wider lanes, all last a very many years when dedicated for cyclist use. The cyclist impact on this infrastructure is minimal at worst.
How does this understanding impact your per cyclist spending? If the improvements lasted ten years, that’s only $714 per cyclist. Twenty years? That’s $357 per cyclist. Thirty years? $238. And that’s assuming the number of cyclists doesn’t rise. Study after study has shown that the rate of bicycling rises in cities where improvements are made. So the cost per cyclist, will in actuality, be less than that.
And, how much is spent annually on non-cyclists? I don’t have the exact answer other than $3 billion was earmarked recently for one project involving four sections of roadway. But given the frequency of road repairs and the amount of wear & tear caused by motor vehicles, I’m very willing to bet it’s substantially more than your $7,142.
This might come as news to many cyclists but they are covered by the Motor Vehicle Act just as drivers are.
This may come as news to many drivers, but they are covered by the Motor Vehicle Act just as cyclists are. But no: many surveys have found that most cyclists are aware they have to follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles.
If cyclists followed these rules, as they are required to do, cycling and driving would be safer for all. In fact, authorities say wearing approved helmets alone could prevent up to 85 per cent of serious injuries, which account for 80 per cent of all bike-related deaths.
If motorists followed the rules of the road, as they are required to do, life would be safer for all. In fact, the vast majority of roadway accidents involve automobiles. The vast majority of roadway deaths are caused by motorists.
Oh, and by the way, most serious accidents that are the result of failure to wear helmets? Those involve children. And yes, this is a pet peeve of mine. (Children should always wear helmets. So should adults.)
How many cyclists know or care that when two vehicles come to an intersection with a four-way stop at the same time, the one on the right has right of way? Or that their front white headlight must be visible at 150 metres?
I suppose that since you see some cyclists flouting these laws, you naturally have come to the conclusion that all cyclists do and the majority don’t care. Well, I know. I care. Of course, I invariably meet up with a driver who disregards the law and signals for me to continue on, even though they have the right of way. And then, some get upset when I refuse their offer. Why don’t these drivers follow the rules of the road?
(Via Vancouver Sun.)