An Oregon State representative from the Portland area is proposing a crazy new bill in the state legislature that would allow bicyclists special rights to be able to run stop signs without fear of getting a traffic ticket. There is already a huge problem with bicyclists too lazy to stop at stop signs or even for red lights, that constantly run these traffic control devices. And now a state legislator wants to make this dangerous practice legal.
The most common sort of injuries that bicyclists do to themselves are single vehicle accidents cause by their own reckless riding habits. And now some brilliant state legislator would like increase these traffic deaths by giving bicyclists special rights to ignore basic traffic safety rules such as stopping for stop signs. Predictably, police are outraged at this proposal. They are usually first responders to fatal bloody bicycle accidents where the tiny twisted frames of a bicycle and a smashed body are smashed onto the street or under the wheels of a car or truck.
Currently, probably 90% or more of bicyclists disobey basic traffic rules and endanger their lives. Running stop signs and red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, riding with no hands, pulling wheelies, riding without a helmet, riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs are all too common of problems with many bicyclists that contribute to accidents and deaths. Instead of promoting better safety or traffic education among bicyclists, this state representative seems to want to vindicate and justify their poor riding habits that endanger their lives.
Another big problem is that bicyclists do not have to be licensed or carry insurance and often have little money to pay if they should run a stop sign and put a dent in an automobile door. On the other hand, auto insurance rates could increase if a new law allowing reckless riding by bicyclists would result in more insurance injury payouts. An insurance company could be stuck with a claim that runs a million or more dollars if a bicyclist was severely injured and had a spinal cord break or other disablement. All motorists might be stuck paying for these medical bills with higher auto insurance rates. And another problem is that "right of way" laws then become more complicated and more motorists who thought that they have the right of way could be charged with manslaughter or other charges if they hit and killed a bicyclist. the legal and insurance questions are very serious here.
Of all the bad legislation to propose, this has to be among the worst of all. It certainly endangers lives and sets a poor example for bicycle safety for children to follow as well. Many bicyclists need to improve their safety and riding skills. This legislation is going in the wrong direction for the good of society.
Strangely, while many people in the U.S. are getting off cars and on to bicycles as transportation, in nations such as China, many people are getting off bicycles and into cars.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!