I have become an avid cyclist in the last 4 years. I ride city streets despite the risk of being killed by an inattentive, inconsiderate or even homicidal motorist. Life has risks. I have studied bicycle safety extensively and ride defensively to minimize risk. So often, when cyclist rights issues come up one hears “until cyclists follow the rules of the road like everyone else…” as if that justifies the vehicular homicide of cyclists. But everyone else does NOT follow the rules of the road. Often when I am waiting on my bike in the right hand lane of an intersection I look behind to see if I should scoot over a little bit to let someone turning right on red go around me. Over 50% of those that eventually do so do not signal. All motorists speed. Far more motorists text while driving than cyclists text while riding. When I used to go stock car racing in Killeen I would come back from my Saturday night program about 1-2:00 AM Sunday morning and I swear I was the only sober driver on Mopac. “All you pedestrians…” ignore “Don’t Walk” signs, and cross in between intersections often snaking around stopped traffic. The list could go on and on, but to what purpose? Pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, ALL break the law on a regular basis, but cyclist slaughter is all too often excused because of cyclist red light and stop sign running. Of course it is really stupid and suicidal for a cyclist to run a red light playing chicken with traffic which is proceeding through with the right of way. Stopping at a red light, looking around, and proceeding through an intersection with no cross traffic or traffic that can turn in front of you is illegal but not particularly unsafe to the rider or anyone else. Traffic law violations by pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike range from dangerous and incredibly stupid to illegal, but “no harm, no foul.”
Even with an element of suicidal cyclists that don’t use lights at night, blow red lights in a kamikaze fashion, etc., all, if not most, of the cyclist fatalities of 2012 were negligent homicide on the part of motorists.
And to set the record straight, cyclists pay for their share of the streets like everyone else — and more. License plate fees and gasoline tax do NOT go to city streets, but support a small percentage of the interstate highway system. In fact, given that they wear the road surfaces to a negligible extent, use none of our finite fossil fuel resources to travel, take up far less parking space, produce negligible exhaust, (there was a actually a politician who recently complained about cyclists’ CO2 foot print because they “breath harder”) it would be appropriate to agressively subsidize cyclist travel as opposed to motorist travel.