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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Our PR Problem: Self-righteous Spandex-wearing Scofflaws [The Bicycle Blog of Wisconsin]


“Bicycles Also” signs like this should not really be necessary, for a lot of reasons.
I can’t tell you how many times people complain about “cyclists” who run red lights, blow through stop signs, ride without lights at night or and don’t pay for the roads.  If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that cyclists should be taught the rules of the road and given a test like motorists, I could retire and move to Copenhagen where those things actually happen.
But it surprised me to still hear these tired myths brought up in response to sincere requests to level the playing field when innocent people riding bicycles or walking are killed by someone driving a car who has been proven to be negligent. It is one thing to complain about “scofflaws” and quite another to tell someone who has lost a loved one or friend that anyone walking or bicycling deserves what they get because roads are meant for cars and all “cyclists” are self-righteous, spandex wearing law breakers.
Last Tuesday at the Bike Fed’s Lobby Day in Madison, that actually happened to a person who had taken the time off to travel to the Capitol because friend bicycling legally and safely on a straight, rural road in broad daylight. When meeting with her elected representative, the legislator balked at supporting the Vulnerable User Law. He went on to tell his constituent, that even though the driver admitted guilt and has been charged,”bicyclists” don’t obey the laws and although it may be legal to ride a bike on the road, the roads were meant for cars and people deserve what they get if they choose to roll the dice and ride somewhere other than trails.

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