Legalizing Illegal Bicyclist Behavior

Drivers are often reminded through posted signs to “share the road” with bicyclists.  But what about “share the laws”?

If assemblymen Jay Obernolte and Phil Ting get their AB 1103 passed, this will no longer be true.

AB 1103 would allow bicyclists to run stop signs legally.

Obernolte told the Times that bicyclists’ “loss of momentum causes them to spend a substantially longer amount of time in the intersection.”  In other words, those two-ton monsters roaming the streets ruin their cardio workout.  Well, drivers could argue that stopping for bicyclists and providing a three-foot clearance for them impedes their progression as well.

Bicyclists will be the one type of vehicle traversing the highways that follows Mad Max-type of rules, leaving the rest of us drivers and pedestrians at our own peril navigating along Fury Road.

Imagine the confusion as you pull up to a stop sign, and when it appears to be clear, you press the accelerator only to quickly slam on the brakes due to a blur of wheels speeding in front of you.

If the rule of thumb is to change laws to reflect the way drivers and bicyclists operate their vehicles, then you might as well do away with stop signs and red lights altogether since so many people run through them.

Whenever I see a driver or a bicyclist speed through a four-way stop intersection as I alone obey the complete stop, I think about what would happen if the other person met someone like himself.   The result?  A crash.

Instead, these menaces count on law-abiding citizens to keep them safe.  How loony is that notion?

Once I observed a bicyclist going at least 30 mph downhill in a residential neighborhood, blowing through a four-way stop.  A driver honked his horn at him to which the bicyclist stopped, turned around, and gave him the middle finger on both of his hands.   The bicyclist knew what he did was illegal and wrong, but didn’t care, even about his own life which could have ended right there if not for the driver following the law in stopping at the intersection.

It is amazing that there aren’t double the number of traffic accidents when one sees on a daily basis blatant disregard for rules of the road.  No wonder Glendale has the distinction as one of the least safe cities in terms of traffic in America.

And before we unleash anti-immigrant venom into the discussion to explain this behavior, I have seen young and old, driving jalopies and jaguars, all perpetrators of bad driving.

The cause is complex, but much of it is rooted in the increasing selfishness of people.   They don’t care who is around them on the streets; they are determined to do whatever they want without risk of being caught or shamed.

What motivates a bicyclist or a motorist to make a complete stop when there is no one else around?

I feel embarrassed if I do something wrong in public; too many others do not feel the same.

To bring sanity back to the streets, I have three suggestions.

One, hire more parking enforcement officers.   Provide them with more training so that they can issue moving violations such as running stop signs.   Station them at four-way stops.  The revenue from all the tickets will more than pay for the additional jobs.

Two, have a public service campaign that educates the public how to behave on the road.

Three, contact Assemblymember Laura Friedman who represents the Burbank/Glendale area and express your opposition to this proposed law which will legalize bad behavior, something for which there is no drought.

Doing the right thing can’t be legislated, but neither should be doing the wrong thing.

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