The folks in England are sick of the havoc cyclists are causing. And some politicians, and their constituents, have had enough. A new bill is being proposed to crack down on the douche bag cyclists there.
I’ll get to the legislation in a moment, but first I wanted to focus on another part of this article.
There is little that divides UK public opinion more sharply than cyclists.
To their supporters, Britain's bike-riders are clean, green, commuters-with-a-conscience, who relieve congestion on the nation's roads while keeping themselves fit.
But to certain newspapers, and indeed plenty of motorists, they are "lycra louts", jumping red lights, hurtling past pedestrians on pavements and denying the Highway Code applies to them.
Now this debate - regularly articulated, with the aid of Anglo-Saxon dialect, during rush-hour traffic - has found a forum in the House of Commons, where MP Andrea Leadsom has introduced a private members' bill to create new crimes of causing death or serious injury through dangerous or reckless cycling.
I am not a huge fan of the Brits, they have bad teeth and listening to most of them speak… well it gives me one of those nails-on-a-chalkboard type reactions. But they are right on point with their reactions to cyclists. Sounds like the majority of Brits have figured out something the majority of Americans have trouble seeing: Cyclists are a menace.
The legislation itself would create new crimes for injuries and deaths caused by cyclists. This is interesting as in most states in the U.S. make it almost impossible for any cyclists to ever be charged with anything. Cyclists enjoy a lot of protections in regards to when they cause accidents, especially with cars. In almost all cases, regardless of circumstances, the driver will be found at fault of any car/bicycle accident. Same is true, although to a lesser extent, with regards to pedestrians. In most cases where a jackass cyclist run down a pedestrian, it is determined that those on foot must give right away to those on the bikes.
In this country cyclists literally have a license to kill. But why do they enjoy these special privileges in the United States? Because, unlike in the United Kingdom, non-cyclists don’t stand up these bullies and demand their elected officials do something. Have you ever called your local politicians about the cycling menace? Probably not. But you know who does cause the phones to ring off the hook at the state senators’, local mayors’, and city council members’ offices? The Cycling Lobby. Cycling Groups spend millions each year buying off local politicians across the country. In exchange they get tax dollars spent on bike lanes they never use, specialized license plates for their cars, and of course a vehicle code that almost always takes their side. But from us non-cyclists? Nary a peep. Cyclists can get away with mayhem and murder for one simple reason. We allow them to. In the UK, they don’t stand for it, and we need that same kind of passion here.
Even in Enlightened England, the bill has it detractors though. Cycling homers complain it will discourage cycling. Oh well then, we certainly want to do that. I was being sarcastic there. Imagine a State Representative proposing a bill that would make penalties stiffer for rapist in his state. And then someone gets up and complains this bill will mean fewer rapes. That’s basically what the detractors are doing here.
I’d love to see some states here in the US start passing similar laws, but it can’t happen without you. Call your state representative, your city councilman, and any other local politicians who have a say in the state and local cycling ordinances where you live. You can make a difference.