If cyclists expect to be treated fairly on the road, they should have the same rules and fees as automobile operators. Bikes should be licensed, and drivers should have to pass road and written rule tests. Owning a bike does not make someone qualified to ride.
Recently, there have been several letter writers stating that cyclists are not treated with respect. I say it goes both ways.
Cyclists seem to ignore the law or just plain don’t know it. Cyclists seem to want the law when it is convenient. Riders seem to rarely signal, ride abreast of each other and fail to stop at signals or signs.
I believe cyclists should share in the costs involved in supporting their wants. Why should motor-vehicle fees and fuel taxes be used to support something most motorists don’t want? -Ronald Smyser, Middletown
Those who bike or walk for transportation already massively subsidize motoring and our 99% auto-centric infrastructure at a far disproportionate rate. Even those who ride for recreation usually own a car and are already acting on Mr Smysers demands.
- Bicyclists do not cause crashes that maim people and destroy property (think insurance premiums).
- Bicyclists do not brutally kill 40,000+ people a year on our highways – the world’s largest arenas for violence.
- Bicyclists do not inflict anything near the kind of wear and tear on the infrastructure (think pave & rehab costs).
- Everyone pays for police, engineers, and civil services charged with regulating traffic, and enforcing laws and making arrests to save drivers from themselves – yet bicyclists play virtually no part in it.
- We all pay increased healthcare premiums for a society so lazy and obese that walking 2 blocks to the store is a herculean task – while those who choose healthy alternatives like bicycling and walking tend to be the least sick, least likely to require medical services.
Mr Smyser also throws stones from a glass house (or car window, for that matter); he fails to acknowledge that drivers routinely drive over the speed limit and roll through stop signs when there’s visibility of crossroad traffic. Many fail to signal, continue to talk on cell phones or text message (despite primary laws against it), and engage in threatening or hostile acts toward bicyclists and pedestrians who are well within their rights as users of the public right of way. All of this in a vehicle that can kill instantly. One must wonder if Mr Smyser harbors the same resentment toward the Amish, farm tractors, runners, anyone besides other drivers that he sees as a nuisance on his roads, and thinks they should pay the price.
In summary, the non-motorist already pays a far disproportionate share to support Mr Smyser’s driving habit. If he is genuinely concerned about bicyclist’s behavior and really wants to help, we invite him to volunteer on matters of education and enforcement. These include bicycle checkpoints, safety courses, complete streets implementation, etc. There is plenty of work to be done.
Comment on Mr. Smyser’s letter HERE.
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