Comment 11628

By sean (registered) | Posted September 11, 2007 at 22:53:31

Observer,

I have said it many times. I am arguing for BALANCED ENFORCEMENT of ALL ROAD USERS. I welcome you to stand on any city street with a radar gun and record the percentage of motorists obeying the speed limit. Stand at any stop sign and record the percentage of drivers coming to a complete stop. Or watch my video above and let me do the work for you. The sad truth is, every road user habitually breaks laws every time they leave the house. The difference is, those behind the wheel of a car are capable of causing great harm to those around them. If the rules are for everyone, that means everyone. So, in fact, I am not hung up on protecting immature cyclists. Are you hung up on protecting immature drivers? I AM hung up on demonstrating that the common attitude that "crazy cyclists" are the root of the problem is completely false.

Today, I was almost run over by a police car. I was coming to a stop along the curbside lane, and the police car turned left in front of me, driving in the wrong lane of two separate streets and almost hit me head on. Here I am, with my required lights and stopping at a stop sign and still I'm inches away from being flattened by a car. THIS is the kind of road behaviour that kills people. How many pedestrian deaths have we sufferred in this city this year? How many of those were caused by "crazy cyclists"? How many by cars? For each time you've seen a cyclist cause an incident and "pedal away", I can count 10 incidents where I have been almost killed (Accidentally or through bullying) by a car, and the driver drives away unconcerned (actually probably happy that they scared the pesky cyclist who made them thirty seconds later for work). I was actually physically hit on my bike by a Toronto Parking Enforcement officer in his car when he ignored a stop sign.

Why is my argument about liability insurance ridiculous? The reason it is not required is because statistically, cyclists do very little harm to anyone but themselves, whereas most vehicular accidents result in huge amounts of property and bodily damage to those surrounding the person at fault.

The fact that you are even implying that we should enforce law breaking cyclists while letting all speeders and sign-rollers in cars off scot-free tells me that you have no concern for human life and you'd rather get where you are going in your car as fast as possible. To quote Homer Simpson: "Sure, it'll save a few lives, but millions will be late!"

It actually makes me a little sad to hear this coming from a self-declared world-travelling cyclist. Can you honestly say that you've been scared more by bikes while you are on foot than you have by cars while you are on a bike? Have you ridden in Hamilton at all or only in Europe? This is a scary city for cyclists and pedestrians... and that's not because of our single bike courier running stop lights at 30km/h! As a daily commuter, I spend hours upon hours every week in my saddle, every second of which I'm 100% alert to the world around me (I have to be for my own safety). Meanwhile, motorists whiz to and fro, protected from each other by their glass and metal airbag cushioned roll cages and protected from the law by some twisted reasoning under which we've allowed 20km/h over to be "the norm".

If I sound angry, I kind of am. And if I see one more story about a cyclist dying at the hands of a motorist, only to read that the cyclist "should have been wearing a helmet", I'm really going to lose it ;-)

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