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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Road Rights: Sign of the Times @bicyclingmag

“It is better to run over a bicyclest [sic] than to get in a head on accedent [sic] because they don’t share the road.” This was the message that somebody posted on a sign along a rural road in San Diego County in California. Within days, news of the sign had gone viral. Naturally, cyclists were outraged. Had it ever occurred to the sign maker that there was another option available to motorists—to make a legal pass when it is safe to do so? Apparently not. Never mind that the better option was also the only legal option, when there were seconds to save and cyclists to kill.
And it turned out that the sign’s creator wasn’t alone in his or her murderous fantasies. Several motorists driving along the road were quite willing to voice their agreement with the sign. Their rationale? “Cyclists do not obey the law and sometimes purposely disrupt traffic.”
“Cyclists do not obey the law.” OK, let’s agree that this is often true of many cyclists. It is also true of virtually every motorist and pedestrian. But nobody posted a sign advocating vigilante murder against random motorists because “drivers do not obey the law.” So is “scofflaw cycling” the real problem here? And if it is, why isn’t there a sign advocating for the murder of random motorists as punishment for “scofflaw driving”?

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