I watched a person in a sedan run a red light at Horsetooth and Mason. And I don’t mean that they entered the intersection on a yellow and left when it was red. And I don’t mean they entered when it was red, but they made it through before the cross traffic started through the intersection. I mean the cross traffic was already moving and the sedan and a 4×4 nearly collided in the center of the intersection. The sedan driver proceeded through, apparently unaware of what they had done wrong. And the 4×4 driver was left shouting and gesticulating and completely pissed off at the brazen disregard the sedan driver had shown.
I’ve seen at least four or five different bicyclists, in various parts of town, wrong-way-riding in the bike lane.
I’ve seen both bicyclists and motorists roll through stop signs without coming to something even approximating a stop.
And I’ve seen a motorist come to a full stop at a stop sign, and then proceed right in front of cross traffic that didn’t have a stop, coming within a foot or two of a collision.
I’ve seen pedestrians cross when they not only had a full-on “don’t walk” hand, but when there was a red light as well and cross traffic had a green.
And just a couple of days ago I was crossing as a pedestrian in a marked pedestrian crossing and had two vehicles nearly plow me down despite the fact that I was most of the way across the crosswalk before they even reached it — which means they had plenty of time to see me and react. And yet it was only when I started waving my arms and shouting that they appeared to notice me and stop.
My point is that in every single one of these interactions there’s a single common denominator. A person was involved. And people are fallible. Sometimes we do wrong deliberately — either because we think we’re in the right and we’re trying to make a point or maybe we choose to break the law for convenience or because we’re in a hurry.
And in every single one of these interactions, the perpetrators put their own lives at risk.
But it was only the interactions with cars that put other people at risk. And that, right there, makes all the difference in the world. It’s one thing to take your own life in your hands. That’s your right. But to put others at risk is irresponsible.
Motorists need to be held to a higher standard because they are in a position to do far more damage than bicyclists, pedestrians, skateboard riders or any other non-motorized form of transit.
Except that’s not true, because that errant cyclist, pedestrian, or biker, can cause something bigger as a car or truck to do damage they wouldn’t otherwise when they try to compensate for the cyclists error by swerving, braking, or accelerating. And that’s why EVERYONE that uses roads needs to be held SAME standard. This ‘cyclists should be exempt’ mentality really needs to stop and is a big reason motorists resent cyclists.
Austin, where did I say that cyclists should be exempt? I said that those using the most dangerous vehicle should be held to a higher standard. That implies that there are standards that all should be kept to.
If a motorist is driving around a pedestrian, bicyclist, or any other human being and they’re doing so in a manner which doesn’t allow them to safely correct for other users of the road and sidewalks, then they’re probably driving too quickly or too distractedly.
We are all responsible for keeping each other safe. And those that have chosen to use the most dangerous tool need to also use the greatest care when operating that tool. It’s one thing if they use a tool, or behave in a way, that puts themselves in danger. It’s another thing when they use that tool in a way that threatens the lives of others.
That implies an exemption for cyclists from the same standards as those expected of motorists, and that is extremely dangerous. Everyone on the road needs to be held to the SAME standard, and legally, if you are using it, you pretty much are. The reality is a person on bike can do just as much as one in a car when they decide to blow a stop sign and cause a motorist to swerve into someone else. The examples can go on, but the point is, not holding yourself or fellow cyclists to the same standards as others while on the road is going to get you or someone else killed.