Bicycles and Traffic Laws

Today I ran across an essay I wrote nearly three years ago, which exhorted cyclists to apply peer pressure to get each other to obey traffic laws.  Upon reading it, I had two realizations.  First, I realized that I still agree with every word.  Second, I realize that the problem has (if anything) gotten worse in the past three years.

Let me say it one more time, for the record:  Cyclists, every single traffic law that applies to cars also applies to you!

But I’m afraid I’m in the minority.  The other day I was walking across a cross walk and was nearly taken out by a kid on a bicycle who blew through the four-way intersection without stopping for the sign.  This is typical.  Later that day I posted on Facebook, “Am I the only cyclist who respects traffic laws?”.  One of my long time riding buddies responded succinctly:  “Yes.”

Obviously, peer pressure isn’t working.  It hurts my libertarian soul to say what I am about to say, but I think the only answer is increased enforcement.  Anyone on a bike who fails to stop at a stop sign or give proper turn signals, needs to be ticketed and pay a big fine.  They are a public safety hazard and they give us few law-abiding cycle commuters a bad name.  Anyone who can’t obey traffic laws doesn’t belong on a public road.

If you feel the way I do, feel free to write a letter to your local police department asking them to enforce traffic laws for cyclist the same way they do for cars.  If possible, send a paper letter.  E-mail is too easy to delete; paper usually stays on file for a while.

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