Wednesday, November 01, 2006

U-S-A! U-S-A!

interesting article about arlington county offering free lights to cyclists to avoid violations...
the examiner

interesting in that it's a marked contrast with the city of london's bike police and community 'support' officers who seem to delight in sitting out of site at key commuter routes...

handing out on the spot fines just bolsters city funds, i find it hard to believe it changes attitudes.


iconoclasst said...
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iconoclasst said...

Don't worry, the fines are coming. A free light is a nice gesture, and it beats your situation, to be sure, but the cynic in me sees it as a way of appearing concerned while setting up a nice little bullshit system that's sure to rake in the revenue when batteries fail or (more likely) when cyclist are caught out unexpectedly after dark.

Arlington has a huge percentage of hispanic immigrants who work low-paying jobs and rely on bikes to get around cheaply. With a battery-operated light, they now have what amounts to a tax on them and the threat of a $72 fine (and here's the magical equation: $15 violation charge + $57 "processing" fee = $72 real cost to cyclists) when the light fades.

You want safety for cyclists? How about instead enforcing laws against drivers who run reds, speed, drive and park in the bike lanes, habitually make turns out of non-turning lanes, wander aimlessly and mindlessly in and out of lanes with a cellphone in one hand and coffee in the other, block crossings while they wait for a light, and otherwise harass cyclists or behave receklessly behind the wheel?

How about building/designing safe trail and pedestrian crossings? How about putting lights on the trails (to be fair, Arlington already does this on their main trails) so that even runners and walkers can benefit? How about repairing potholes in the bike lanes?

Lots to be done before coming after the cyclists--some of it generates revenue, some of it creates expenses, all of it has the potential to effectively save lives.

Just a wee rant, not directed at you.

crayola said...

that's cool, if i'm allowed to rant so is everyone else... in fact, i'd positively encourage it.

you make some interesting points too, i'd find it hard to disagree with any.

i guess what i was trying to say was from a similar perspective (but perhaps with a lot of ignorance as to what happens in the states).

basically, i'm tired with finding city bike police and community support effectively hiding around corners and ticketing when people make minor violations (especially in light of the 'share the road campaign i ranted about previously) when my elected bods could be doing something more constructive... your points being the major ones we also suffer here, poor facilities (which they tried to make us use by law only a few months ago, thankfully it was thrown out), poor driver education and yes, the very same, stupid pedestrians, who listen... but don't look.

i'm with you, believe me and thanks for the points, it's nice that someone actually comments, whether they agree or disagree.