Our next-door neighbors in Oregon - particularly Portland - are famous for accommodating and encouraging cyclists. (Although there is no reason Portland should have more cyclists than Boise. They have the same sprawl issues, and the geography and climate in Boise are more bike-friendly in Boise than in Portland, in this writer's opinion.)
The newly-convened 2011 Oregon Legislature is mulling over two bicycle bills that have been introduced.
One "would prohibit anyone from carrying a child under six years of age on their bicycle or in a bicycle trailer."
That one makes no sense. In essence, it would eliminate cycling as a transportation option for anybody who cares for a young child. I don't think I've ever seen a child over six years old riding in a bike trailer.
I s'pose proponents of the bill would argue that it would reduce the number of injuries or fatalities suffered by kids under six, while cycling. If that's the objective, shouldn't they also force kiddies out of cars?? Thousands of kids are maimed and killed in car accidents!
I hope that bill never sees the light of day.
The other would prohibit operating a bike "while wearing a listening device that is capable of receiving telephonic communication, radio broadcasts or recorded sounds."
Obviously people perceive cyclists with earbuds to be a safety menace to themselves and others.
IMO, this is an instance where cyclists shoot themselves in the foot. There is a sizeable percentage of cyclists who are NOT very responsible and law-abiding. And a sizeable percentage of that group is also wearing earbuds.
The Libertarian in me is against that law. I see it as an ever-expanding nanny government. Music-listening cyclists are mostly risking their own lives and safety (although one could argue that they put other roadways users in risky situations as well). As the government regulates more and more behavior, it leads the clueless to conclude that if it's not against the law, it must be safe. (Case in point - people who text while driving, and who won't stop unless it's made illegal. And many still won't stop; they'll just be sneakier about it.)
It seems like we're approaching the day when common sense will only be spoken of in nostalgic terms... something that existed back in Grandpa and Grandma's day.