3.06.2008

Chicago da-bates bike safety legislation

Today's Chicago Tribune covers new proposals to fine motorists who put cyclists in danger by behaving recklessly. In the wake of the tragic death that occurred in the Tour Da Chicago last month, this move by Daley and company has spawned a backlash that is calling for penalizing cyclist who ride recklessly themselves. I am of the mind to agree with both sides. I may anger some riders who read this, but I do believe that we need to be more responsible on the road, both for our own good, and the good of motorists. I ride pretty cautiously, but I too am guilty of creeping through the occasional stoplight when there is absolutely no traffic, or rolling stop signs on side streets; I know I could use a reminder to keep my own safety, and that of others, in mind.
Anyway, have a look at the forum debate on that site if you want to get your blood boiling, and read the occasional well-thought-out post from both sides. While Chicago is fairly progressive when it comes to being supportive of the cycling community, it is pretty obvious that there is still a long way to go. Part of the problem, I believe, is our own fault. In trying to assert ourselves as being traffic as well, and trying to be a noticeable presence on our streets, I feel some have gone too far by being TOO aggressive. These 'crazy cyclists' as many on this discussion refer to them, seem to be how many Chicagoins see all of us as being; nutty messenger types who will cut you off, run red lights, stab your mother, all while flipping you the bird and drinking a can of PBR. Hopefully in light of recent events, and the possibility of tougher law enforcement in terms of cycling to the letter of the law, we will begin to improve our image and get the respect and courtesy on the road that we are entitled to.

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