Saturday, August 16, 2008

In the interest of fairness ...

In the interest of fairness I should note that Chad Hermann posted a follow up to yesterday’s commentary about bicyclists. In this post he mentioned his personal experiences with bicyclists (as Bram did, but not in such detail). Chad Hermann thinks only 75% of bicyclists break the law. And he did mention someone passed him twice, in a car, so he also noticed the behavior of one motorized lawbreaker. I still say we close our eyes to the illegal behavior of cars/SUVs/pickups and mostly to motorcycles, because we all go at least a bit over 25 and 55, and we slow down but don’t actually stop at stop signs.

Dr. Hermann also, after taking an “aw shucks you don’t want me to do this” attitude, made a couple of suggestions. First he mentioned there should be a complete re-examination of the traffic laws for bicycles, which is actually a very enlightened suggestion. I suspect he would not want the rules loosened any, but that is entirely speculation on my part. He then suggested bicyclists be licensed. This is a more complicated suggestion. It’s a lot like the Republican suggestion that voters have photo ID’s. I myself, and most everyone I know who rides bicycles, would have no problem with this suggestion. As I stated before, though, some poor people rely on bicycles as cheap transportation. If you can only afford a bike, then trekking to a bicycle testing center (the old driver testing center – now a Pittsburgh police station – on Washington road?) could be fairly arduous. The license requirement might be yet another excuse for racial profiling and harassment (not necessarily here. Again, if you can only afford a bicycle to get around with, you probably can’t afford a $25, $50 or $100 ticket.

But I have to give Dr. Hermann credit for making the suggestion, and if it were ever made by a policy maker, I’m sure the issues I just cited would be raised. And I would like to see something done so that bicyclists and car drivers know what bicyclists should and shouldn’t do in traffic.

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