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Old 11-05-08, 01:51 PM   #1
harleyfrog
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Yet another "Bicycle License" argument

Apparently, someone called in to the local paper's Sound Off column to whine about bicycles needing licenses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by from the article
If bicycle riders think they have the same rights as the automobiles, they need to have their turn signals, their lights and a bicycle tag. They also need insurance, then they can have the right of way of the highway.
I was asked by one of the members of the local bicycle club if I'd like to write a response. Oh, would I?

Quote:
Originally Posted by my response
To the Sound Off reader who wrote “Get insurance, then rights”. You said, “If bicycle riders think they have the same rights as the automobiles, they need to have their turn signals, their lights and a bicycle tag. They also need insurance, then they can have the right of way of the highway.” I would like to address your arguments one at a time, so as to clarify any misunderstandings.

First of all, bicycles do have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers. The Mississippi Code Sec. 63-3-207 states:

Every person riding a bicycle or an animal or driving any animal drawing a vehicle upon a highway shall have all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle under this chapter, except those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application.

That is a right guaranteed under the law. The exception is for controlled access facilities, such as Interstate Highways.

As to turn signals, bicyclists, as well as motorcyclists and automobile drivers, can use hand signals to indicate intention to turn and stop. Sec. 63-3-709 states:

The signals required in this article shall be given either by means of the hand and arm or by a signal lamp or signal device of a type approved by the department. When a vehicle is so constructed or loaded that a hand and arm signal would not be visible both to the front and rear of such vehicle, then said signals must be given by such a lamp or device.

Sec. 63-3-711 goes on to clarify:

All signals given by hand and arm shall be given from the left side of the vehicle in the following manner and such signals shall indicate as follows:

1.Left turn – hand and are extended horizontally.
2.Right turn – hand and arm extended upward or moved with a sweeping motion from the rear to the front.
3.Stop or decrease speed – hand and arm extended downward.


In regards to the use of lights, the MS Code Sec 63-7-13 states:

Every bicycle shall be equipped with a lighted white lamp on the front thereof visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of at least five hundred feet in front of such bicycle and shall also be equipped with a reflex mirror reflector or lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible under like conditions from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the rear of such bicycle.

However, this is applicable only “during the period from sunset to sunrise and at any other time when there is not sufficient light to render clearly discernible any person on the highway at a distance of five hundred feet ahead”. (Sec. 63-7-11)

As to bicycle tags, there is no requirement in the State of Mississippi, nor in any other state, that requires bicycles to have tags. The idea, while attractive to some, has been tried in the past and proved to be both ineffective and inefficient. In 1935, the City of Toronto, Ontario, required bicycles to be licensed and to display the tag; that measure was repealed in 1956, for a long list of reasons. Among the reasons were: ineffective in preventing bicycle theft; bicycle license not needed by police to enforce existing traffic rules; and developing a bicycle testing and licensing system would cost more than the funds it would generate and divert attention from enforcing existing traffic rules.

In regards to insurance requirements, there is no such requirement under Mississippi Law requiring bicyclists to purchase insurance. In fact, most, if not all, insurance companies do not even have such policies available. In addition, most bicyclists already have health and automobile insurance.

I would also like to point out one other law in the MS Code, Sec 63-3-1112:

Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter or the provisions of any local ordinance, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and shall give an audible signal when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused, incapacitated or intoxicated person.

Having said all of that, I, as a bicyclist, adhere to these regulations, as do many other bicyclists. That does not mean that there are those who do not, just as there are motorists who do not adhere to all traffic laws. As a bicyclist, I am well aware of the vulnerable position I am in every time I ride. However, I do everything within my power to mitigate the risks involved, as everyone does with any and all activities they undertake, such as driving. I ride with head lights and tail lights and a helmet, not because it is required by law, but rather to reduce my risks of accidents and injury. I avoid, whenever possible, using heavily trafficked streets, such as Pass Rd. and Highway 90, but that is not always possible to do. I have witnessed other bicyclists riding in dangerous and unlawful ways and I do not like it any more than you do because it reflects poorly on all bicyclists; much the same way that bad drivers reflect poorly on all drivers in general.

Bicycling is a safe, healthy, relaxing and enjoyable means of not only exercise, but of transportation as well. I bicycle to work at least two to three times a week, not to save money on gas, but because I enjoy it and the health benefits that come with it. I would no sooner give up my rights to ride my bicycle than I would give up my right to free speech or ask others to do the same.
To quote Joel from MST3K, "Whadda think, sirs?"
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Old 11-05-08, 02:20 PM   #2
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Only one problem - Sound Off emails are limited to 70 words
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Old 11-05-08, 02:24 PM   #3
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Only one problem - Sound Off emails are limited to 70 words
Yeah, which is one of the reasons I submitted it as a letter to the editor. The other was to not be an Anonymous Coward.
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Old 11-05-08, 02:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyfrog View Post
Apparently, someone called in to the local paper's Sound Off column to whine about bicycles needing licenses.

I was asked by one of the members of the local bicycle club if I'd like to write a response. Oh, would I?



To quote Joel from MST3K, "Whadda think, sirs?"
You are wasting your time and electrons, unless you just like to Sound Off. Who do do think is going to pay any attention to anything written to a local paper sound off page if it is in conflict with their own beliefs?
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Old 11-05-08, 03:21 PM   #5
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Mostly good until you started flinging the BS below:

"I have witnessed other bicyclists riding in dangerous and unlawful ways and I do not like it any more than you do because it reflects poorly on all bicyclists; much the same way that bad drivers reflect poorly on all drivers in general."
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Old 11-05-08, 05:15 PM   #6
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You are wasting your time and electrons, unless you just like to Sound Off. Who do do think is going to pay any attention to anything written to a local paper sound off page if it is in conflict with their own beliefs?
I don't believe it is a waste of time at all. I think it is wonderful that there are people out there willing to set the record straight and speak their mind. We cannot get comfortable with the way things are. If we do then it is one step forward and two steps back. Kudos for making your voice heard.
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Old 11-06-08, 08:34 AM   #7
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The fact that motor drivers have licences doesnt stop them going through stop signs or speeding.
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Old 11-06-08, 10:56 AM   #8
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The fact that motor drivers have licences doesnt stop them going through stop signs or speeding.
Yes but with a legible license plate a ticket can be issued by the stop light or speed limit cameras. I figure it's only a matter of time before some enterprising government agency decides to go after an additional revenue stream by requiring plates on bikes.
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Old 11-06-08, 11:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_wmn View Post
Yes but with a legible license plate a ticket can be issued by the stop light or speed limit cameras. I figure it's only a matter of time before some enterprising government agency decides to go after an additional revenue stream by requiring plates on bikes.
Why bother when there is still ample low hanging fruit given the antics and disregard displayed by motorists? I rarely drive or ride anywhere without seeing numerous and flagrant traffic violations. For police, catching these people must be like shooting fish in a barrel.
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Old 11-06-08, 11:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Yes but with a legible license plate a ticket can be issued by the stop light or speed limit cameras. I figure it's only a matter of time before some enterprising government agency decides to go after an additional revenue stream by requiring plates on bikes.
Any revenue generated from bicycle license would be greatly outweighed by the cost to set up and administer a whole new department just to test and license bicycle riders. It also proves to be ineffective in curbing problems associated with bicycles (theft, unlawful behavior, etc.) when compared to enforcing existing laws. The city of Toronto tried this before and ended the program for those very reasons.

And, yes, I do think it's important to respond to the Sound Off writer. To let such a comment go without a rebuttal is a sign of weakness; that is how rights are taken away.
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Old 11-06-08, 11:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyfrog View Post
And, yes, I do think it's important to respond to the Sound Off writer. To let such a comment go without a rebuttal is a sign of weakness; that is how rights are taken away.
You must be might busy if you feel compelled to respond to every nutball rant that gets printed/posted/spoken on local media for its shock effect.
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Old 11-06-08, 11:51 AM   #12
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You must be might busy if you feel compelled to respond to every nutball rant that gets printed/posted/spoken on local media for its shock effect.
This is the first (since I've been here) that has been posted in the local paper, so, no, not that busy. However, if no rebuttal is given, then other voices may join in and then it will be too late; it's much easier to put out a burning bush than it is a crown fire. By rebutting the remark with factual information, you defeat a weak argument, strengthen your position, educate the masses, and, most importantly, retain your rights. It's easy to be cynical (I should know), it's easier to do nothing (which is what they're hoping), and easier still to come back with an emotional rather than a logical response (which is what they want), but to defend your position with irrefutable facts defeats your opponents and makes them look like the uninformed fools that they are.
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Old 11-06-08, 12:03 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyfrog View Post
This is the first (since I've been here) that has been posted in the local paper, so, no, not that busy. However, if no rebuttal is given, then other voices may join in and then it will be too late; it's much easier to put out a burning bush than it is a crown fire. By rebutting the remark with factual information, you defeat a weak argument, strengthen your position, educate the masses, and, most importantly, retain your rights. It's easy to be cynical (I should know), it's easier to do nothing (which is what they're hoping), and easier still to come back with an emotional rather than a logical response (which is what they want), but to defend your position with irrefutable facts defeats your opponents and makes them look like the uninformed fools that they are.
You are making the assumption that the dingbats who write loony arguments/rants to letters to the editor/Sound Off media (and the people who are too dumb to recognize it for what it is) are amenable to rational arguments.
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Old 11-06-08, 12:06 PM   #14
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You are making the assumption that the dingbats who write loony arguments/rants to letters to the editor/Sound Off media (and the people who are too dumb to recognize it for what it is) are amenable to rational arguments.
Then they will be shown as fools to those who are amenable to rational arguments.
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Old 11-06-08, 12:14 PM   #15
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Then they will be shown as fools to those who are amenable to rational arguments.
Hey I've been outing foolish statements for years on BF but the fools never get it. And it stirs up a nest of other fools whose feelings get hurt when their sacred cows are gored.
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Old 11-06-08, 12:16 PM   #16
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Decent response harleyfrog. Send it if you wish; or not. Whatever works for you. Don't worry if others approve or not. It's your response.
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Old 11-06-08, 12:51 PM   #17
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Nice job, Mr Frog!

You may want to copywright it, and then give permissions for others to use, substituting their own states' laws.

'"Throw enuf bullpoop up against a wall, and some of it is bound to stick!" (Author unknown)
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Old 11-06-08, 01:05 PM   #18
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You may want to copywright it, and then give permissions for others to use, substituting their own states' laws.
He wrote it, therefore it IS copyright protected. Same as a photo - copyrighted the moment you take, marked or not.
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Old 11-06-08, 02:08 PM   #19
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He wrote it, therefore it IS copyright protected. Same as a photo - copyrighted the moment you take, marked or not.

Or copyleft or Creative Commons.
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Old 11-06-08, 03:32 PM   #20
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Or copyleft or Creative Commons.
I Creative Commons licenses. As a working photographer (thus affected by IP laws) I current copyright systems. Protect corporations, harm the arts and creative fields, and make it nearly impossible to *easily* and *effectively* release something into the public domain.

On professional photography forums, my sig line is "Share art, not greed"
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Old 11-06-08, 03:51 PM   #21
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Yes but with a legible license plate a ticket can be issued by the stop light or speed limit cameras. I figure it's only a matter of time before some enterprising government agency decides to go after an additional revenue stream by requiring plates on bikes.
Not likely since some cities are not renewing the contracts with the camera companies. Seems that too many motorist are obeying the law and those cities are no longer making enough money to cover the contract cost.
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Old 11-06-08, 04:52 PM   #22
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Not likely since some cities are not renewing the contracts with the camera companies. Seems that too many motorist are obeying the law and those cities are no longer making enough money to cover the contract cost.
Hey, it must be true 'cause I read it on the interwebs.

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Old 11-06-08, 06:53 PM   #23
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I am amused when motorists try to arrogate to themselves the same rights and privileges of other roadway users. It is motorists who operate unbelievably dangerous machinery and insanely high speeds. Motorists need insurance because of all the mayhem they cause.

Bob Mionske argues a legal theory that the only way the State can require motorists to be licensed is because it is in fact a privilege to operate a motor vehicle on the roadways. By contrast, the public's right to use the roads (sans motor vehicle) can be traced back to English common law.

Ask your editorialist when was the last time a bicycle crashed into a house and killed a family of four. It's absurd to require the same level of accountability for the less dangerous roadway users.
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Old 11-07-08, 07:32 AM   #24
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I still wish I could get insurance for my bike. I'd like:
* Theft insurance.
* Medical and property liability.
* Personal medical (I'll replace the bike).

My main concern is having a bad accident and running up a significant chunk of my lifetime allowance on rehabilitation.

It shouldn't really be that expensive. $10 a month sounds about right, but it'd take an insurance company and some time to get better figures.

I wouldn't want it to be mandatory, just optional.
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Old 11-07-08, 08:09 AM   #25
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I still wish I could get insurance for my bike. I'd like:
* Theft insurance.
* Medical and property liability.
* Personal medical (I'll replace the bike).

My main concern is having a bad accident and running up a significant chunk of my lifetime allowance on rehabilitation.

It shouldn't really be that expensive. $10 a month sounds about right, but it'd take an insurance company and some time to get better figures.

I wouldn't want it to be mandatory, just optional.
Now if I had a $2000+ bike (like, say, oh, a custom made Seven, for instance), then I would like to have it insured. I'd hate to think of dropping that much change on a bike then have some JAM in a cage turn a finely crafted bicycle into a metal pretzel.
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