I’m sure that Joel A. Feingold meant well when he wrote about cyclists and drivers in last Sunday’s Globe, but in his zeal to stand up for the rights of bicyclists, he overlooks the other side of the story (“Key changes needed to drive safety message home to motorists”).
I cannot count the times over the last 20 years that I have seen cyclists behaving recklessly. They are supposed to obey the rules of the road, just as drivers are. Yet they run red lights, make dangerous turns, weave in and out of traffic, ride in the dark without lights or reflectors, ride on sidewalks and nearly strike pedestrians, and pay attention to their MP3 players or cellphones and not to the road.
Feingold’s proposal to put the presumption of fault on drivers and make criminal charges more likely when a driver-cyclist collision occurs is especially troubling. My sole experience with “dooring” happened when two boys, who were seen weaving in and out of traffic and running red lights, ran into my already-opened door. Luckily, witness statements and the cyclist’s own admission that he was “flying” down the road saved me from expensive surcharges.
I do like Feingold’s proposal about prohibiting cellphones; however, that should be extended to cyclists as well.
Drivers should indeed be required to be aware of their surroundings, but so should cyclists. All too often, they act as if they are invisible and immune from legal and physical consequences, and this “key paradigm” must change if we are to significantly reduce the number of driver-cyclist collisions.