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Old 03-09-07, 09:21 PM   #1
wheel
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Reforming Bicycle Traffic Laws

http://www.geocities.com/fredoswald/law-reform.html
any thoughts?

What's Wrong With Bicycle Traffic Laws?

Traffic laws are supposed to promote your safety if you obey them, and protect your rights if someone else causes an accident. The core principles of traffic law do this very well for both motorists and cyclists, but there are many add-ons in bicycle traffic law that degrade both our safety and our rights.

There is no federal traffic law. Traffic law is a state function, and the troublesome add-ons are state (and local) laws.

This is not a problem for motor vehicle operators. Motor vehicle traffic laws are generally uniform throughout the 50 states. A motorist traveling from state to state need not learn a new set of laws with each border crossing. Also, local authorities have only limited powers to enact special ordinances. The standard traffic laws promote safe practices.

Cyclists do not enjoy this uniformity or benevolence of bicycle operation laws. State laws differ widely and local laws are often loose cannons aimed at our rights. Well-meaning but misguided lawmakers treat cyclists like children. Moreover, many troublesome laws betray a lack of knowledge of the actual causes of bicycle accidents.

Many state and local laws trample cyclists' rights. We are treated as incompetent children and third-class citizens. Some laws forbid cycling on roadways, but instead direct us to use more dangerous facilities such as sidewalks and pathways beside the road. Other directives confine us to the edge of the road, even where the road edge may not be safe. In many states, local ordinances form a crazy-quilt of dangerous and discriminatory rules that vary from community to community and that conflict with the known best practices of bicycling safety.

The safest way to operate a bicycle is as the lawful driver of a vehicle. This means riding on the roadway while following the same traffic rules as other drivers. Cyclists who operate this way have one-fifth the accident rate of the average bicycle operator. Paradoxically, the best and safest practices are sometimes prohibited while dangerous mistakes of novices are encouraged.


any thoughts?
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Old 03-10-07, 01:34 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel
http://www.geocities.com/fredoswald/law-reform.html
any thoughts?

What's Wrong With Bicycle Traffic Laws?

Traffic laws are supposed to promote your safety if you obey them, and protect your rights if someone else causes an accident. The core principles of traffic law do this very well for both motorists and cyclists, but there are many add-ons in bicycle traffic law that degrade both our safety and our rights.

There is no federal traffic law. Traffic law is a state function, and the troublesome add-ons are state (and local) laws.

This is not a problem for motor vehicle operators. Motor vehicle traffic laws are generally uniform throughout the 50 states. A motorist traveling from state to state need not learn a new set of laws with each border crossing. Also, local authorities have only limited powers to enact special ordinances. The standard traffic laws promote safe practices.

Cyclists do not enjoy this uniformity or benevolence of bicycle operation laws. State laws differ widely and local laws are often loose cannons aimed at our rights. Well-meaning but misguided lawmakers treat cyclists like children. Moreover, many troublesome laws betray a lack of knowledge of the actual causes of bicycle accidents.

Many state and local laws trample cyclists' rights. We are treated as incompetent children and third-class citizens. Some laws forbid cycling on roadways, but instead direct us to use more dangerous facilities such as sidewalks and pathways beside the road. Other directives confine us to the edge of the road, even where the road edge may not be safe. In many states, local ordinances form a crazy-quilt of dangerous and discriminatory rules that vary from community to community and that conflict with the known best practices of bicycling safety.

The safest way to operate a bicycle is as the lawful driver of a vehicle. This means riding on the roadway while following the same traffic rules as other drivers. Cyclists who operate this way have one-fifth the accident rate of the average bicycle operator. Paradoxically, the best and safest practices are sometimes prohibited while dangerous mistakes of novices are encouraged.


any thoughts?

As much as I dislike certain local laws, I do not like the idea of the federal government mandating how I have to ride my bike---its bad enough that helmets are "mandated" (I do ride with one all the tim though)-----but this is getting into politics--I just generally dislike any federal "mandate"
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Old 03-10-07, 05:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel
The safest way to operate a bicycle is as the lawful driver of a vehicle. This means riding on the roadway while following the same traffic rules as other drivers. Cyclists who operate this way have one-fifth the accident rate of the average bicycle operator. Paradoxically, the best and safest practices are sometimes prohibited while dangerous mistakes of novices are encouraged.


any thoughts?
Can you prove the statement in bold above?

The biggest issues I face as a cyclist are motorists that refuse to believe I should operate "a bicycle is as the lawful driver of a vehicle." They refuse to treat my vehicle as an equal on the road. I therefore must enlist "special behaviour," unlike any other operator of a vehicle on the road, in order to insist on my place on the road.

How do you change that?
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Old 03-10-07, 06:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheel
any thoughts?

...Some laws forbid cycling on roadways, but instead direct us to use more dangerous facilities such as sidewalks and pathways beside the road. Other directives confine us to the edge of the road, even where the road edge may not be safe. In many states, local ordinances form a crazy-quilt of dangerous and discriminatory rules that vary from community to community and that conflict with the known best practices of bicycling safety.

The safest way to operate a bicycle is as the lawful driver of a vehicle. This means riding on the roadway while following the same traffic rules as other drivers. Cyclists who operate this way have one-fifth the accident rate of the average bicycle operator. Paradoxically, the best and safest practices are sometimes prohibited while dangerous mistakes of novices are encouraged.


any thoughts?
The author of the piece is buds with John Forester in the LAB-Reform organization and the language of this rant is all standard John Forester Brand verbiage on laws and cyclist safety:
"conflict with the known best practices of bicycling safety"
"The safest way to operate a bicycle is as the lawful driver of a vehicle."
"This means riding on the roadway while following the same traffic rules as other drivers."

And most telling of all, the pièce de résistance of Forester fabrication:
"Cyclists who operate this way have one-fifth the accident rate of the average bicycle operator."

The author makes the same mountain out of a molehill about side path laws in the U.S. that another BF self proclaimed legal scholar is currently engaged in exaggerating.

His organization's project of assigning "grades" to the various states based on compliance with it's unique vision of proper traffic code is an exercise in Forester Brand arrogance. In fact, the whole article is a wildly exaggerated take on the actual effect of varying state traffic codes on the safety of cyclists of the real world. Good exercise in Foresterism.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 03-10-07 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 03-10-07, 06:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skanking biker
As much as I dislike certain local laws, I do not like the idea of the federal government mandating how I have to ride my bike---its bad enough that helmets are "mandated" (I do ride with one all the tim though)-----but this is getting into politics--I just generally dislike any federal "mandate"
How about the federal "mandate" that human powered vehicles like bikes are vehicles with full right to use the roads except Interstates (and there are exceptions to the no interstate rule as well in areas where there is no practical alternative)?
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Old 03-10-07, 06:47 AM   #6
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Cyclists who operate this way have one-fifth the accident rate of the average bicycle operator.
Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Can you prove the statement in bold above?
That's when the other shoe drops from the author and his Forester Brand Accomplices. The traffic law shoe is minor in the author's cyclist safety program, the real deal (IAW Forester dogma) comes with the drop of the educational/training requirement shoe. And all the false claims about a safety record associated with the recommended brand of training.
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Old 03-14-07, 09:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
Can you prove the statement in bold above?

The biggest issues I face as a cyclist are motorists that refuse to believe I should operate "a bicycle is as the lawful driver of a vehicle." They refuse to treat my vehicle as an equal on the road. I therefore must enlist "special behaviour," unlike any other operator of a vehicle on the road, in order to insist on my place on the road.

How do you change that?
2X4 to the forehead? just checking....
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Old 03-14-07, 09:34 PM   #8
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Good thing we have ILTB around to debunk and unmask the Forester moles. Thanks, ILTB. You provide a valuable service to us all.
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