Jonathan Maus states it really well,
“Hi. I fully support your request for people to have bicycle licenses and take tests. If we could find the funding and the if we could develop a program that would be able to test people about bicycle laws and best riding practices, that’d be great. That being said, I’d fully support a bicycle licensing program only if it meant that our roads and laws would be significantly upgraded in order to treat bicycle traffic with the same level of infrastructural and institutional respect that we currently offer trucks and other motor vehicles. Also, please keep in mind that the reason we must have a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle is due in large part because those vehicles can very easily kill, maim and injure innocent bystanders with even the slightest lapse in judgment or operational error. The same simply cannot be said for bicycles.
The vast majority of people who ride bikes in Oregon also have a driver’s license. And I’d be willing to bet that they know the rules of the road more keenly and more accurately than people who don’t bike at all. Why? Because their life depends on it.“
To add to his quote. Keep in mind that EVERY day someone is killed by someone else’s inattention at the wheel. For every person killed 2-3 are maimed and permanently debilitated, often damned to disability for the rest of their lives. Almost always these people are innocent until this happens, then they are innocents that are permanently scarred.
Next blog entry, I promise transit + a more positive note. The people I know that have been killed or maimed by inattentive drivers lately has me on a tear. We need to design better roads, keep drivers under control, and stop giving them a “get out of jail” free card at every turn. The double standard with cars and other dangerous things is ridiculous. If people treated cars like guns, we’d have mass banning campaigns nationwide with millions of people marching against them. But instead the population is generally oblivious and care-less about this fact. Not that I’m saying ban either of these things, but we should work toward a safer and better infrastructure system that isn’t so damnably dependent on automobiles.
In the end, it would be better for ALL of us. It would especially have been better for all those dead. The 19 year old girl that was an art student. The 29 year old girl that was merely riding home from work. The expectant mother who was broadsided by an errant driver. The now dismembered young ladies that were waiting for the walk sign to change on the corner. The young brothers riding together, 9 and 13 respectively.
Let it hit home. Pay attention. Remember what you yield when you’re driving. At least try a little harder everyday to pay attention and not become the next killer.
I spent four years practicing driving very assiduously and carefully because I was scared as hell of the car.
I am an extremely good driver; the only accident I’ve had was when I was rear-ended by an incompetent SUV driver.
Of course, the result is that I notice that the majority of drivers are *terrible*. Most people just don’t take driving a car *seriously*. They don’t seem to understand what “safe stopping distance” means. It’s frighteningly awful.
I’ve seen some really irresponsible bikers, running red lights, going the wrong way on one-way streets, etc., but I would be so much happier if every one of the irresponsible drivers were instead an irresponsible biker.