Bicycle Safety and Licenses

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by [email protected], Jul 14, 2005.

  1. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 15 Jul 2005 09:14:46 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

    >A license could accomplish two things:
    >
    >1. A bicycle rider would have to know the laws appicable to bicycles
    >in order to obtain the license.


    In other words, kids too young to understand the laws would be barred
    from riding bikes. Intensely bad idea.

    >2. The threat of license revocation would aid in law enforcement in
    >the same manner as with the automobile license.


    Corollary: Cops whose ticket quota for the month was low would be
    stopping random cyclists to see if they had a bike license, adding
    nothing to the safety of the general public and adding much
    disincentive for the public to use bikes. More bureaucracy, more
    regulations, inevitably an inspection program for the bikes, higher
    costs for cyclists, and how long after the cyclist license was
    required would it be before bike registrations, helmets and insurance
    became mandatory? Two days? A week? Let's just *not* go there.

    No, we need to be doing everything possible to *encourage* bike use,
    not to restrict it or make it less attractive. The hazard that
    cyclists pose to others is small. I can much more readily tolerate a
    bad rider than a bad driver, and sometimes that's the choice. Around
    here, the mere fact that a bike requires no license and a very low
    cost of operation with no real requirements has reportedly shifted
    some habitual bad drivers (and some owners of cars that should have
    been junked) out of the driver's seat and into the saddle instead.
    I'd very much favor keeping them there; if bike riding becomes a
    restricted activity like driving, there will be less disincentive for
    such drivers to simply get back behind the wheel.


    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
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  2. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 15 Jul 2005 09:20:32 -0700, [email protected] wrote:

    >The use of public roadways has been somewhat restricted since the
    >advent of the automobile. I can't ride a horse or even a moped on an
    >Interstate Highway. And as a pedestrian I am restricted as to where
    >and how I can cross the roadway (jay walking laws).


    But your *are* allowed to use the roadways as a pedestrian, equestrian
    *or cylist* without the requirement for license, registration,
    insurance or inspection as long as you adhere to the applicable laws.
    A motor vehicle driver has those *added* responsibilities and
    requirements precisely because of the potential for serious harm to
    others from even momentary lapses in performance of the task of
    vehicle operation. Cyclists and pedestrians are primarily a hazard
    only to themselves, and as a result there is no mandate to restrict
    their right to have access to the general public rights-of-way. It
    should be noted both that limited-access highways are classified as a
    different type of right-of-way and that in some areas the recognition
    by government has been made that where no alternate right-of-way
    exists, cyclist are permitted to use those roads as well.

    The sole potential issue behind licensing is safety. You won't
    improve *cycle* safety by requiring licenses, you will merely increase
    government size and reduce the number of bikes on the road. Reducing
    the number of bikes will decrease the amount of interaction between
    cyclists and motor vehicle drivers, most likely leading to an
    *increase* in the amount of unintentional hazardous behavior by the
    latter group as they become less vigilant with lack of exposure. Add
    that to the unlicensed-for-any-purpose drivers who will be back behind
    the wheel because there's no longer any incentive to ride a bike, and
    you've got a net loss all around.

    Licensing cyclists is a bad idea. It doesn't make sense for safety
    reasons, it's demonstrably bad from an environmental standpoint, and
    it's rotten policy economically.
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  3. [email protected] wrote:
    > While riding around the past several days I've noticed some amazingly
    > unsafe riding by what I assume are not serious cyclists. (snip)


    Compared to tailgating and slashing through traffic moving a 70mph?
    While talking on a cell phone? (Just a little perspective, let's also
    include "loaded vehicle weight".)

    > It also made me think about why drivers get so angry with cyclists.


    A lot of the time, they are assholes who are scapegoating where they
    know they can get away with it.

    > And
    > once again, these drivers' anger spill over to safe cyclists.


    Amen. See above. But at least now we have cell phones that take
    pictures and send them instantly. Makes it real easy to call 911.

    >How do people feel about licenses to ride a bike ?


    Covered by your state DL. Bike = vehicle, infraction = ticket.

    Don't invite additional harrassment of cyclists, please. --TP
     
  4. <[email protected]> wrote:
    > [email protected] wrote:
    >> While riding around the past several days I've noticed some amazingly
    >> unsafe riding by what I assume are not serious cyclists. (snip)

    >
    > Compared to tailgating and slashing through traffic moving a 70mph?
    > While talking on a cell phone? (Just a little perspective, let's also
    > include "loaded vehicle weight".)


    A cyclist running a red light can start a chain reaction as cars start
    swerving to avoid hitting him. The danger is not limited to the cyclist
    hitting someone.

    Art Harris
     
  5. An anonymous poster wrote:

    > A license could accomplish two things:
    >
    > 1. A bicycle rider would have to know the laws appicable to bicycles
    > in order to obtain the license.
    >
    > 2. The threat of license revocation would aid in law enforcement in
    > the same manner as with the automobile license.


    That's true. And while we're at it, a law requiring that every citizen
    have his/her social security number tatooed onto his/her forehead would
    also be a boon to law enforcement.

    A universal dusk to dawn curfew enforced by martial law would greatly
    reduce many sorts of crime.

    However there are limits to what a free society is prepared to sacrifice ...

    And by the way, what about the breathtakingly cynical hypocrisy of using
    the name "Patriot Act" for a law that has NOTHING to do with patriotism?

    Sheldon "Freedom" Brown
    +------------------------------------------------------------+
    | What are politicians going to tell people when the |
    | Constitution is gone and we still have a drug problem? |
    | -- William Simpson, A.C.L.U. |
    +------------------------------------------------------------+
    Harris Cyclery, West Newton, Massachusetts
    Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041
    http://harriscyclery.com
    Hard-to-find parts shipped Worldwide
    http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  6. Chip C

    Chip C Guest

    Sheldon Brown wrote:
    > [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > > How do people feel about licenses to ride a bike ?

    >
    > No WAY!
    >
    > There is a common law right of all people to travel on the public
    > roadways, going back to prehistoric times.
    >
    > When the automobile appeared on the scene, it was immediately recognized
    > that this was an unprecedentedly dangerous device, so special
    > requirements were created to regulate it.
    >
    > It is clearly understood that the permission to operate a motor vehicle
    > on public roadways is a priviledge, not a right..
    >
    > None of this has any legal effect on everybody's right to travel the
    > roads under their own power.
    >
    > Sheldon "A Right, Not A Priviledge" Brown
    > Newtonville, Massachusetts


    Hmmm. Is the line in the sand more defensibly drawn at "operating a
    powered vehicle" or "operating a machine of any type"? I'd never
    propose requiring a license to pedestrianize your way about town, but
    is a bike not more like a car than a pair of feet? Is the presence of a
    motor the big deal, or the quantitative ability to cause damage and
    injuries to others?

    What about licensing not riders but bikes and making them carry actual
    legible number plates, a la Kronans perhaps, so a complainant could at
    least hope to identify the miscreants among us? Unsecurability of the
    number plates would probably kibosh that. Odd there aren't more stolen
    car license plates, really.

    (In addition to car license plates, should we issue drivers with big
    cards being their DL numbers, and require them to position the cards
    visibly in the rear window of whatever car they're driving? Should
    these cards be colour coded to indicate status as a new driver, or one
    convicted of certain offences recently?)

    Back on the topic, I suspect that most of the offenders that the OP saw
    actually *had* DLs in their pockets, except for those who'd had theirs
    yanked due to DUIs (always my first assumption when I see an obvious
    non-cyclist - you know who I mean - on a bike). So most have been,
    nominally, exposed to the usual prattle of rules and regs. Rather than
    licenses I'd prefer a massive advertising campaign along the lines of
    "bikes belong on the road and they'd damn well better act like it"
    accompanied by a crackdown on crummy cycling *and* bike-unfriendly
    motoring (ideally, as others have mentioned, by cops on bikes).

    Chip C
    Toronto

    PS What's up with Kronan number plates, anyway? Are they actual valid
    license numbers, anywhere?
     
  7. Pat

    Pat Guest

    : : > How do people feel about licenses to ride a bike ?
    :
    : I don't think it's practical or necessary. What's needed is
    : enforcement. When scofflaw cyclists start getting traffic tickets,
    : they'll think twice about running red lights.
    :
    : Art Harris

    I think what we need is education. Education for the children about bicycles
    not being sidewalk toys, as a start. Even adults think there are no rules
    for bicycles. Education is a start, but enforcement of existing laws is
    good, too.

    Pat in TX
    :
     
  8. Pat

    Pat Guest

    :
    : The sole potential issue behind licensing is safety. You won't
    : improve *cycle* safety by requiring licenses, you will merely increase
    : government size and reduce the number of bikes on the road.

    I disagree. You will improve cycle safety by requiring education as to
    rights and responsibilities of the cyclist. Most people here in Texas have
    not a single clue about laws applicable to bicycles. Oh yes, with education,
    safety could definitely be improved.



    :
    : Licensing cyclists is a bad idea. It doesn't make sense for safety
    : reasons, it's demonstrably bad from an environmental standpoint, and
    : it's rotten policy economically.

    No, it's not a bad idea if done properly. It will increase safety quite a
    bit when cyclists stop doing inane stunts on the public roadways.

    Pat in TX
     
  9. Pat

    Pat Guest

    "Dion Dock" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    : Let us not forget that motor vehicles require licenses. I don't know
    where
    : you live, but I routinely see the following:
    :
    : * running yellow/red lights
    : * speeding
    : * failure to come to a complete stop
    : * turning without signal
    : * weaving
    : * tailgating
    : * passing bicycles without leaving enough room (3' per the Oregon drivers
    : manual)
    :
    : I think people hold bikes to a higher standard; maybe because they know
    the
    : chances of a cyclist getting a ticket are much lower.
    :
    : A license would solve this how?
    :
    : -Dion

    It would help solve the problems because the operators of the bicycles would
    have to take a course in the laws pertaining to bicycle use. I think people
    do not hold bikes to a higher standard---they just like to gripe when
    somebody gets away with something that they would like to do.

    Pat in TX
     
  10. Pat

    Pat Guest

    : >A license could accomplish two things:
    : >
    : >1. A bicycle rider would have to know the laws appicable to bicycles
    : >in order to obtain the license.
    :
    : In other words, kids too young to understand the laws would be barred
    : from riding bikes. Intensely bad idea.

    In Germany, the kids have to take the cycling course at age 10. Is that too
    young to understand? No, it isn't. They assume that kids younger than that
    are not riding in the street, anyway.
     
  11. Jay Beattie wrote:
    > Again, not that I am for
    > bicycle licensing -- I am just against whacky arguments based on
    > the "common law" -- which seems to be a wish-list for people with
    > agendas. The early American "common law" allowed for slavery,
    > wife rape and a lot of other things that have been rejected as
    > wrong.


    Nope, common law actually made slavery illegal. Google on "Sommerset",
    "Common Law", and "slavery". That part of the system just wasn't
    followed in the US in the early days.
     
  12. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Fri, 15 Jul 2005 16:00:36 -0500, "Pat" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >: >A license could accomplish two things:
    >: >
    >: >1. A bicycle rider would have to know the laws appicable to bicycles
    >: >in order to obtain the license.
    >:
    >: In other words, kids too young to understand the laws would be barred
    >: from riding bikes. Intensely bad idea.
    >
    >In Germany, the kids have to take the cycling course at age 10. Is that too
    >young to understand? No, it isn't. They assume that kids younger than that
    >are not riding in the street, anyway.


    HISD can't get them to read at 10 now. How is requiring them to pass
    a test going to change that? More importantly, how is making them
    pass a test going to make them apply the information it covers? Have
    you never encountered the phenomenon of the child who knows the rules
    full well and still pays no attention to them? I do not believe that
    the damfoolish behavior of some riders is any more indicative of their
    lack of familiarity with proper procedure than is the case with the
    idiots who go blasting past me in their $50 SUVs at 20 mph over the
    posted limit. You can't teach responsible behavior to the
    intentionally irresponsible or actively negligent, and in my
    experience, those are the ones who go around riding through red lights
    without checking for cross traffic...and worse.

    Traffic safety on a bike isn't rocket science; I see no need to treat
    it as more than it needs to be. Germany is an entirely different
    culture; what works for them isn't necessarily even feasible here.
    (NB, see their attitudes toward consumption of alcohol by minors, and
    a number of other such topics.)
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  13. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Fri, 15 Jul 2005 22:51:03 GMT, Werehatrack
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >idiots who go blasting past me in their $50 SUVs at 20 mph over the


    Make that "$50K"
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  14. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Fri, 15 Jul 2005 15:08:57 -0400, "Arthur Harris" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    ><[email protected]> wrote:
    >> [email protected] wrote:
    >>> While riding around the past several days I've noticed some amazingly
    >>> unsafe riding by what I assume are not serious cyclists. (snip)

    >>
    >> Compared to tailgating and slashing through traffic moving a 70mph?
    >> While talking on a cell phone? (Just a little perspective, let's also
    >> include "loaded vehicle weight".)

    >
    >A cyclist running a red light can start a chain reaction as cars start
    >swerving to avoid hitting him. The danger is not limited to the cyclist
    >hitting someone.


    So can a pedestrian or a pigeon. Do we license "being a bird"?
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  15. "Werehatrack" wrote:
    >><[email protected]> wrote:
    >>> [email protected] wrote:
    >>>> While riding around the past several days I've noticed some amazingly
    >>>> unsafe riding by what I assume are not serious cyclists. (snip)
    >>>
    >>> Compared to tailgating and slashing through traffic moving a 70mph?
    >>> While talking on a cell phone? (Just a little perspective, let's also
    >>> include "loaded vehicle weight".)

    >>
    >>A cyclist running a red light can start a chain reaction as cars start
    >>swerving to avoid hitting him. The danger is not limited to the cyclist
    >>hitting someone.

    >
    > So can a pedestrian or a pigeon. Do we license "being a bird"?


    No, I'm not in favor of licensing, but I am in favor of enforcement.
    "Dustoyevsky" was minimizing the impact of cyclist misbehavior.

    I _am_ saying that human beings are more intelligent than pigeons, and
    should be held to a higher standard. Do you disagree?

    Art Harris
     
  16. Sheldon Brown wrote:
    > And by the way, what about the breathtakingly cynical hypocrisy of using
    > the name "Patriot Act" for a law that has NOTHING to do with patriotism?


    Isn't PATRIOT some bizarre Orwellian/Stalinesque acronym in this case?
     
  17. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Fri, 15 Jul 2005 20:07:24 -0400, "Arthur Harris" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >"Werehatrack" wrote:
    >
    >> So can a pedestrian or a pigeon. Do we license "being a bird"?

    >
    >No, I'm not in favor of licensing, but I am in favor of enforcement.
    >"Dustoyevsky" was minimizing the impact of cyclist misbehavior.
    >
    >I _am_ saying that human beings are more intelligent than pigeons, and
    >should be held to a higher standard. Do you disagree?


    No. And I agree with your core assertion; enforcement of existing
    regulations is what's primarily needed, but I'll make that statement
    with the added proviso that we need more bike-riding cops as well.
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  18. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On 15 Jul 2005 17:22:45 -0700, "Brian Huntley"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >
    >Sheldon Brown wrote:
    >> And by the way, what about the breathtakingly cynical hypocrisy of using
    >> the name "Patriot Act" for a law that has NOTHING to do with patriotism?

    >
    >Isn't PATRIOT some bizarre Orwellian/Stalinesque acronym in this case?


    Politicians Are Terrible Rulers In Our Time?
    --
    Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    Some gardening required to reply via email.
    Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  19. Doug Huffman

    Doug Huffman Guest

    Y'all didn't see or contradict the eager subjects earlier? Or are they
    merely junior tyrants that want to decide what a reasonable regulation is.
    Too bad all Rights aren't so clearly enumerated as the Second.


    "Werehatrack" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On 15 Jul 2005 17:22:45 -0700, "Brian Huntley"
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>
    >>Sheldon Brown wrote:
    >>> And by the way, what about the breathtakingly cynical hypocrisy of using
    >>> the name "Patriot Act" for a law that has NOTHING to do with patriotism?

    >>
    >>Isn't PATRIOT some bizarre Orwellian/Stalinesque acronym in this case?

    >
    > Politicians Are Terrible Rulers In Our Time?
    > --
    > Typoes are a feature, not a bug.
    > Some gardening required to reply via email.
    > Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
     
  20. "Werehatrack" wrote:
    > Art Harris wrote:
    >>I _am_ saying that human beings are more intelligent than pigeons, and
    >>should be held to a higher standard. Do you disagree?

    >
    > No. And I agree with your core assertion; enforcement of existing
    > regulations is what's primarily needed, but I'll make that statement
    > with the added proviso that we need more bike-riding cops as well.


    I suppose that's true. We have some county police on bikes in my area, but I
    don't recall ever seeing them on the road. The bike unit originally had 12
    members (ten years ago). I don't know if has grown since.

    http://www.co.suffolk.ny.us/webtemp5.cfm?dept=12&id=1753

    Art Harris
     
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