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Letters | Open season on cyclists?

Unwise to look to criminal law to protect cyclists

My heart goes out to the family of the cyclist who suffered a preventable death on a dangerous Wellesley road. I hope that a civil lawsuit against the government and private parties who caused or failed to prevent this foreseeable tragedy will bring the family some measure of relief. But advocates who look to the criminal law to provide cyclists with protection and respect should be careful what they ask for (“Cyclists say their rights are going unrecognized,” Feb. 15, and “As cycling gains popularity, an anti-cyclist bias remains,” Editorial, Feb. 24).

My observation of biking, driving, and law enforcement in Boston leads me to believe that a strict prosecutorial approach to traffic enforcement would turn more cyclists than motorists into criminals. If the goal is to prevent accidents, our tax dollars would be better spent on road engineering and public education than on prosecuting people who do not intend to cause harm.

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That’s not bias against cyclists; it’s a more efficacious way for government to show them it cares.

Sharon L. Beckman


The writer is associate clinical professor of law at Boston College Law School, where she is codirector of the Criminal Justice Clinic and director of the Boston College Innocence Project.

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