From the News Record (Greensboro, NC), 04.06.08:
The streets can be mean around here to bicyclistsGreat column from North Carolina, reacting to a near-fatal collision involving a local bicyclist. If only more news outlets offered such intelligent writers.
Theoretically, bicycling is supposed to be a healthy activity. And statistically, Greensboro, where the accident occurred, is supposed to be conducive to biking and walking -- relatively speaking, at least.
But you have to wonder. The numbers don't factor in close calls and abuse. And they only include those accidents that are reported to police.
Despite the spread of bike lanes (up to 14.5 miles now) throughout the city and such cyclist-friendly amenities as bike mounts on city buses, local drivers are not especially known for our willingness to share the road.
We cuss at cyclists...We throw stuff at them...Sometimes we even kill them.
But the law is incredibly soft on drivers who hit bicyclists. A crash that results in a bicyclist's death is only a Class 2 misdemeanor (six months in jail or a $500 fine or both), said (Greensboro transportation planner Peggy) Holland, who is herself a bicyclist. "Is it because we don't count? What's going on? Why doesn't the law protect us? If you hit a bicyclist, there really isn't much punishment for it." (Read more.)
Will more punitive legislation improve bicyclist safety? Maybe. Just as capital punishment prevents murder...right? Personally, I prefer that advocacy demand better road design--Complete Streets--which reduces vehicle speeds and improves safety for all road users.
Image: Yehuda Moon.
Visit: Interview with Bicycling in Greensboro President, Greensboro News-Record
Visit: As Gas Prices Rise, Cycle To Savings, WFMY-TV
Visit: Greensboro: Bicycle first in rat race, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
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