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Are Bicyclists Menace to Society?

There are many more pedestrian fatalities involving cars, but the recent death caused by an allegedly negligent bicyclist who ran a red light and plowed into pedestrians crossing the street in San Francisco and actually killing one man raised heat rhetoric over the behaviors of some cyclists and the question of who owns public space:

The bicyclist was zipping south on Castro Street at the end of his twice-weekly ride to the Marin Headlands, blowing through red lights and stop signs.

But the Market Street crosswalk was filled with pedestrians, and Chris Bucchere, 36, allegedly was riding too fast to stop. So he aimed for the least populated spot and plowed on through.

"In a nutshell, blammo," a blogger purporting to be Bucchere wrote that March day. The man he hit, Sutchi Hui, 71, died four days later. Bucchere was charged Thursday with felony vehicular manslaughter and is scheduled to be arraigned next week.

Post-crash commentary, angry and profane, didn't just call for Bucchere's head, although there was plenty of condemnation for him and the rest of the Lycra-and-toe-clips set. Instead, the conversation became a fight about who owns public space — a scarce resource in the second-most dense city in America, where bike use is soaring and many motorists decry a war on cars.

Maria L. La Ganga of the Los Angeles Times has the story: Link Previously on Neatorama: Are Urban Bicyclists Snobs?

Here in Munich, Germany, the situation is pretty clear: German traffic laws define bicycle usage as part of the general traffic code, and major violations can cost you your driver's license. Munich also has the advantage of having a large net of bike lanes that sometimes are on the sidewalks, sometimes on the streets. Another thing that makes it safer here is that the cops will ticket you if you go the wrong way on the bike lane.

I guess the two factors that play a role are that (1) bike use is encouraged, and (2) the rules that surround cycling as a traffic participant are clearly defined and enforced.
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Bicyclists are vehicles are fully within their rights to take the lane. Furthermore, they use an negligible portion of the transport capacity of the road, that is a road segment filled with slow bicycles caries much more people per hour than a road filled with cars at optimum throughput. Since bicyclists are taxpayers, it's bigoted to say they clog the road: they use less than they pay for, while automobiles use more.

As for this maniac here, it's just a testament of how safe bikes are. It's possible to kill someone with a bike, but it's very very hard. It takes a frontal high speed crash to mortally wound a 70-year-old. The same maniac driving a car would have squashed 10 people on the spot. It's like comparing assault rifles with beer bottles and concluding they can both kill.
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I’m very sorry but I am not willing to ride 5 mph on the sidewalk and make my 20 minute trip take an hour.

I'd rather my 20 minute car trip not take an hour because I'm stuck behind a bicyclist.

I'll gladly share the road with any vehicle, no matter how it's powered or how many wheels it has, so as long as it can keep up with 10 MPH of the speed limit.
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Now will motorists understand why I insist on using the road and quit screaming at me to "GET ON THE SIDEWALK"?

People may resent me going 15 mph on roads where there is no posted minimum speed but I'm sure hell not comfortable riding on the sidewalk at that speed, and I'm very sorry but I am not willing to ride 5 mph on the sidewalk and make my 20 minute trip take an hour.
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@bearfoot you are right in that a bicycle is a vehicle and should be treated as such, so your point about how wrong they are to be in the middle of a vehicle lane is myopic, because motorcyclists and most compact motorized transport also have the right to use the lane it is not simply a "car lane". That is the biggest problem beside the hobby-ist or undereducated bike user, people not understanding a bicycle as a form of transportation for more then just children. Americans have this lame classist system that cars are the king of the road and anything else is unpatriotic or childish. Saving gas and lives by using alternatives to the huge personal automobile should be at the forefront of transportation dialogue in the US and not seen as an enemy towards progress. I try to strictly follow the traffic laws when I ride my bicycle because as the California DMV handbook says I am a vehicle and legal I must follow the rules of the road.
Another part of the problem is that law enforcement is not present or educated about all vehicles that share the road due to underfunding or no funding at all. Making the terrible state of the economy probably the real villain , well besides anybody who would risk others lives before their own wants.
We seem to be seeking enemies where there were no enemies before.
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The cyclists I know detest jerks such as this alleged monster. Obey the laws on roads and race on race day -- there's always one nearby.
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@thanks> But this type of behavior is common in bicyclists.. I see them all the time riding in the middle of the car lane like they'd be more than a speed bump if they were run over.. They need to be woken up and make them realize they are responsible.

and if you want a real eye opener about how dangerous they can be there's several videos about being a bike messenger in NYC out there.. they slam car doors, ride like maniacs and all in ll just ride stupidly.

Bikes are vehicles too, and should follow the same laws or stuff like this will happen more.

It is not a 'Non-issue" at all.
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@Michael Miller: No, because cars are not legally entitled to, but bikes are (sometimes, depends on the region). On sidewalks you have your own set of problems with skateboarders, bladers, and scooters as well - there aren't nearly as many, no, but their behavior and risk on sidewalks is the same, and they do cause injuries and even occasion fatalities. The only thing unique about bikes is that they are legally allowed to be on both. In my state there are different laws which apply to bicyclists on the road and on the sidewalk, but the basic gist is that they have to stay with the traffic (which means slow down on sidewalks and use a bell or verbally let people know when you are passing) and obey the same laws as those around them. There are specific guidelines for moving from the sidewalk to the road and visa versa as well.

Most people get that, and in fact, percentage-wise as we get more cyclists it our city, the people ignoring those laws goes down, not up, because there are a lot of people out there who care about the safety of themselves and others. If there was any effort to enforce the laws it would go down further, but much like jaywalking it represents a smaller income to the city, so the police usually don't bother.

Most people *don't* act like entitled brats though those who do stand out and ruin it for the rest of us, just like the idiots who cross four lanes on the freeway at 90mph. It's actually even worse for bicyclists because the more responsible and safety-concerned ones tend to hang to back streets to keep out of traffic, so they aren't the ones you see on your commute anyways.

One more time, it's not the cyclists that are the problem, it's the morons on the bikes that are the problem. Stop grouping them all as the same, because they aren't. If you don't believe me, get involved in commuter bike groups in your area yourself, and you'll see the line - it's the same as in any other group of people.
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@dev Do you also have many cars driving on the side-walk? Because cyclists certainly do. And yes, cars are certainly more dangerous for pedestrians than bicycles. But concentrate now, since this is the important point: that does not mean that cyclists have carte blanche to act as entitled brats.
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Here's the thing I've been thinking a lot about lately - and I can ONLY speak for myself related to my local experience: cars can't maneuver like a bike.

I can't make my 2 1/2 tone truck just instantly alter it's trajectory when a cyclist decides to ride the white line (in my door-line) and swerve. I cant drive the left side of the road because cyclists want to ride next to each other and, so on and so on.

The cyclists in my area (NH) are unbelievable. I want to share the road. I think it's cool when I see the guys all geared out on a long ride for training or just for fun. But almost across the board, the bikers in my area routinely behave as if they own the road.

There's got to be some kind of public awareness program or something that will help "those" cyclists realize what they are doing because they are making it impossible for every one else.

As a car driver, I REALLY want to do my part to share the road but it HAS TO BE a two-way street.
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Im an avid cyclist, and ive almost been hit by cars many times yet never hit a person. Many pedestrians i see are only paying attention to to their ipod or phone.... hmmm same with car drivers. It must be the cyclists fault
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azog: And where I live just as many cars blow through red lights, ignore stop signs and don't check for pedestrians. Purely by statistics, per driver many more people are injured or killed by cars than bikes. So should I say drivers are a menace to society? That attitude is exactly why it's so difficult to get anywhere in fixing infrastructure and finding better ways to enforce the laws of the road so the road is safe regardless of your mode of transportation. Having pissing matches about who's the biggest nuisance just puts everyone on the defensive. Better to just work together to counter the morons that exist in every bucket.
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Where I live, bicyclists simply ignore traffic laws. They blow thru red lights, ignore stop signs, don't signal, wrong way on one-way roads, etc. Dunno how it is elsewhere, but here, bicyclists have to follow the same traffic laws as automobiles. Thank God I haven't hit one (yet?). So yes, even tho the title is inflammatory, I agree with it.
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Here in Montreal, we get too many cyclists on the sidewalks. Though near where I live, we also get too many pedestrians walking on the bike path.
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" ... an allegedly negligent bicyclist who ran a red light and plowed into pedestrians crossing the street in ... "

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I live in Dublin, Ireland, as car dominated a city as any. I am an avid cyclist. I cycle for pleasure and have worked as a courier. My cousin was killed by a cyclist,on a pedestrian section of pavement, by a cycle courier. He was hit by the cyclist and fell and hit his head. There are many cyclists who behave as if they are beyond reproach. We cyclists need to put a stop to this.
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Really guys? Maybe that's not your intent, but why would you add fuel to the fire by using that particular headline? The source article certainly didn't. It's painfully obvious that this guy was criminally negligent, and it wouldn't make one lick of difference if he was riding a bike, driving a car, or flying an airplane. He valued the thrill over the safety of others.

Stupid people are a menace to society, in their many, many forms. Leave the majority of the people, bicyclists and otherwise, who are actually trying to be responsible out of it.
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