Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is This Guy Serious?

Recently in the Providence Journal, some yahoo named warren wrote an OPED piece. I've republished it here, along with some counter arguments. If any of you kind readers end up squaring off with some one as thick as this guy feel free to use some of the commentary I've listed below.

Leon Urban: Get bikes off the road 01:00 AM EDT on Monday, September 22, 2008 It is often suggested that automobile drivers should learn to share the road with bicyclists. In my opinion, it is foolhardy and dangerous for bicyclists to be on the highways with motorists, period. Bicycles no more belong on roadways than autos belong on bike paths.
Well buddy, thanks for your opinion despite it being completely void of critical thought and objective point of view. Through out America, states have vehicle code that include bicycles as a vehicle that have a legal right to the road. The only reason it's "foolhardy and dangerous" is because of reckless and careless motorists who seem to share your groundless opinion that bicycles don't belong on the road. Now cars don't belong on bike paths because they are bike paths, which are kind of like bicycle "Freeways", like your car "Freeways", where signage clearly prohibits bicyles, mopeds or pedestrians.

Bicycles are slow, small and difficult to see; autos may weigh tons, and, with their automatic transmissions, are powerful and fast at a light touch of the foot. There is a question of timing and visibility here; and should a tragedy occur, proof of who is at fault would do nothing to mend bodies.
Bicycles are "Slow" no more than cars are "Slow". There have been many times where I have had to press my brakes on my bike because the cars in front of me can't keep the same pace as me. Saying a bike is "slow" shows your complete lack of common sense. The rider on the bike may be slow, but the bicycle itself is not. To this, Mopeds are also small and difficult to see, and often do not have max speeds comparable to cars. Should we ban them from the roads as well? What about Motorcycles, often times drivers complain that they are "hard to see" as well. Your logic creates a slippery slope. It appears the problem is not with the "hard to see" object, but with the driver who finds things "hard to see".

Too many cyclists are clueless as to rules of the road — either for automobiles or for bicycles. This complicates matters for motorists, who are required to pass a written examination on rules of the road, and pass a road test to obtain a driver’s license. And young teenagers are required to attend a 30-hour driver-ed course, to boot. This is gross and unfair to motorists, whom we expect to share the road with bicyclists.
Too many drivers are clueless to the rules of the road. I would challenge you to find me 10 drivers who are completely aware of all their legal obligations on the road and who uphold those obligations to perfection. In fact, I bet it would be a challenge to find half of that many drivers who are even half aware of half of their obligations to the road. Not all teenagers take a 30 hour drivers ed course, since it's not required, and those drivers ed classes are taught by subcontracted individuals who are independent of the government. There is little to no oversight so the content taught varies greatly depending on where you are from. Most don't teach "ALL" of the rules of the road, which ironically include rules about watching out for bicycles or even motorcycles. Yes you do have to pass a test, but motorists are piloting a ton of motorized steel, bicyclists pilot maybe 30 lbs that is self propelled.

This unfairness is magnified immensely when contrasting the mandatory costs of having the two types of vehicles use our highways. Registration and license fees, taxes and a sensible insurance package with liability and collision coverage may cost in the thousands of dollars for a responsible car owner but perhaps zero for unwitting cyclists. Should a bicyclist be the cause of an accident, there would be no mandatory liability insurance for any injured parties; in all probability too, in court, the cyclist would walk.
Driving is a privilege, not a right, and there are certain requirements placed on drivers. You talk like you are some how entitled to motorized transportation which you are not. If you choose to drive a car, be prepared to pay all the required "fees, taxes and registrations". To that, insurance is not required to "drive" I've been hit by an uninsured driver and the brunt is more than you can imagine. So if an uninsured cyclist caused you "Bodily harm" and "Reasonable damage" in a car-bike accident that was TRULY the cyclists fault, you'd be in the same boat as if you'd been hit by an uninsured driver, only probably a lot better off as bicycles rarely do any "Bodily harm" or "Reasonable damage" to cars.

Additionally, bicycling is a transportation "choice" as well, one that is currently void of such "fees, taxes and registrations". It's that lack of "fees, taxes and registration" as well as lack of "fuel" that leads us to "Choose" bikes over cars.

Even drivers of automobiles say they are afraid to drive on the highways. Yet they have the car’s protection and the stability of four wheels. “Driving is no pleasure,” they say. They will even say, “It’s crazy out there — like a racetrack, a war zone.” No one owns the roads; bicyclists are permitted and certainly welcome on them. Still, it is folly and dangerous for them to be out there. - Leon Urban Warren
Again, it seems to be that the problem is less the "roads" or even "bicyclists" and more "those who use them" in a "crazy" way like a "racetrack" or a "war zone". Your argument is trite, foolish and completely subjective. Your editorial seems to indicate that drivers need to be re-educated and that more people should ride a bike since the financial burden is so much less. The truth is this: Bicycles are vehicles, and have a legal right to the road... period.

If you have such a hard time accepting bikes on the roads that are "shared access" I recommend you just get everywhere you need to go on the "Car Only Freeways".


Hammerhead said...

Seems to me that the solution to the safety concern is to prohibit motor vehicles from shared public access right-of-ways (roads). People driving motor vehicles on our roads kill and injure more people every year that bikes ever will. Prohibiting bikes will only reduce by a very small fraction the carnage.

I think the safety argument is bogus, and the solution presented is illogical.

Brad M said...

What seems to be constantly overlooked is the fact that we have early cyclists to thank for paved roads. So many motorists are ignorant to this fact.