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Bicyclists Ignore Traffic Laws

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Bicyclists Ignore Traffic Laws

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
July 21, 2008


Almost every day I see bicyclists speeding through stop signs, riding the wrong way on a street, running down pedestrians, you name it.

Do the police ever ticket a bicyclist?

If an officer ticketed a bicyclist, would he find his picture up on the PD bulletin board with Gomer written across it? Well, he shouldn't!

In a battle of car vs. bicycle, you don't need three guesses to know which will win.

And it's not just the kids who are the flagrant violators, although plenty of them ignore the laws.

Adult men in their fancy bicycle training or racing suits cruise right through stop signs like they aren't there. Where I tend to see them is at South and Dean Streets. More than once I've seen a man zoom right through the stop sign and turn toward the Square.

The kids are something else, though. They seem to display Attitude - like, "I dare you not to get out of the way." They ride f-a-s-t on sidewalks and then sail off the curb and across the intersection without looking or slowing. Pity the poor driver who hits one of them. Can you say lawsuit?

Oh, and helmets? No way. That's not cool.

I'll tell you what's not cool. TBI is not cool. Traumatic Brain Injury is definitely not cool. I knew a chiropractor in 1993 who had a very slow, almost-stopped fall from a bike. He had been riding on the sidewalk and slowed at a corner. He was almost stopped when the front tire hit a stone, and he pitched off the bike right on his noggin. He suffered a permanent head injury and, even today, has no short-term memory. He lost his professional practice and has never recovered. He gets along okay from one day to the next. But ask him what happened yesterday? He cannot tell you.

Let's see the police include attention to violations by bicyclists in their daily work. Just write the tickets; no explanations, no excuses, no reasons, no warnings.

The City should post bicycle rules on the Square. How else will bicyclists know that they are not to ride bikes on the sidewalks in front of the businesses around the Square or in the Square park itself? It's fair to provide a warning. Same for skateboards. After the signs are up, just write the tickets.

I did see an officer put the run on a gang of kids and bicycles in front of Cobblestone's the other day. I was just about to call, when he rolled up. He didn't bother to get out of his car and talk to the kids. He didn't make contact cards on them. He didn't question the driver of the car, who was talking to the 4-5 kids on bikes, about his illegal temporary tag. They were a scroungy lot, but perhaps he already knew all of them. At least, he moved them along.

© 2008 GUS PHILPOTT

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