Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bike article follow-up

Last month, the Boise Weekly published a story about the "3 feet to pass" law. I commented HERE.

But I missed a follow-up letter to the editor from Judy Taylor of Boise.

Ms. Taylor apparently thought the time was right to vent her frustrations about cyclist behavior. They don't stop at signs and signals. They don't stay in "their" lane, but straddle the stripe. They don't ride single file. Families with a child in one of those "carts or whatever they are called" are occupying the space she wants to occupy, etc.

Taylor: "Bikers want to share the road but not the rules of the road. I don't think it should be entirely up to the motorist to look out for bikers. They should also look out for themselves and obey the same rules. There is no difference between them and us except they are the ones that will be the fatality in an accident."

Another way of looking at that... even if a "biker" does something really, really, really stupid, it's unlikely he'll end up killing anybody but himself. Motorists kill innocent bystanders all the time! (I agree with her that cyclist should know and follow the laws... just as motorists should. She obviously is unaware of Idaho's famous bicycle stop law.)

I only became aware of Ms. Taylor's letter when I read a response from Jimmy Hallyburton, in a follow-up letter. (For those not aware, Jimmy is the dynamo of positive energy beind the Boise Bicycle Project. I sat right up when I saw his name in print.)

Hallyburton points out that according to law (in Idaho and most states), "Every person operating a vehicle propelled by human power or riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle." He took her to task for propagating the "them and us" mentality, that so frequently puts motorists and cyclists at odds with each other. (And he also observes that she accurately voices "the thoughts of a lot of drivers and point[s] out some real flaws with cyclists.) And he stresses that the main thing we lack is education. "Currently, half of the states in our country have standard Safe Routes to School curriculum in schools that make bicycle education mandatory, but not Idaho. In fact, Idaho's SRTS program, that teaches thousands of kids about bicycle transportation with practically no budget, is about to be axed so we can repave another mile of the interstate."

Great letter!

(There essentially is no formal rider education. And that seems unlikely to change. And... I always cringe when I see a well-meaning parent or adult riding bicycles slowly up the street with a helmeted child... ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! Very unfortunate.)

1 comment:

Clancy Anderson said...

Jimmy's response was witty and very well put. Sadly, I see no one in a rush to educated bicyclist or motorist.