Thursday, July 26, 2012

Do You Want To Take The Chance?

I was checking out Tom Held's blurb about cycling cameras (viewed here: ) which had a nice video about a cyclist who uses one and reports vehicle operators that violate traffic laws.

Three things struck me.

 First, a Brookfield police officer's idiotic stance that a vehicle did not violate the 3 foot rule (which it indeed did, on camera) and that instead of citing the driver, the officer wanted to cite the cyclist for obstructing traffic (which he was not) and being in a lane of traffic (which the cyclist can be). Also great, when asked for a comment, Brookfield police department asked the reporter to talk to another police department with more experience.  Way to go Brookfield!

Second, when discussing riding in winter (where on video a plow sprays snow at the cyclist), a Milwaukee police officer commented "do you really want to take the chance?" Nice! I love how terribly the officer misses the point and in fact blames the cyclist for getting sprayed by a plow.

Instead of discussing how a bike has a right to be on the road, no matter what the conditions, time of day, etc., the officer (who himself is riding a bike) basically says that if that plow had injured the cyclist, it would be the cyclist's fault because what dumbass rides in winter.  No mention of the fact that a cyclist can ride in winter, that the cyclist was as far to the right of the rode as safety allowed, and that the plow not only violated the 3 foot law, but the plow should have waited to pass the cyclist or stopped plowing while passing the cyclist.

The officer's comment of "do you want to take the chance" pretty much sums up what plenty of motorists think of bikers- cyclists are not wanted on the roads.  It is a comment that completely shifts blame for any incident away from the motor vehicle operator and to the cyclist.  It is a bias.  It is close minded.  And it is exactly the prejudice that many cyclists have to put up with.

Lastly, at the end of the clip, the reporter indicates officers have been sent to Madison for cycling rights training.  When asked if any of the officers present were familiar with cyclists rights, not a single hand was raised.

No wonder motor vehicle operators are infrequently ticketed for violating cyclists rights, including bringing charges when a motorist is killed or seriously injured by a car operator.