Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Media Bias in Cycling Accidents

Bob Mionske, author of the excellent and invaluable Bicycling & the Law, has highlighted the issue of media bias in bicycle-vehicle accidents in his newest VeloNews column.

I would be the first to agree with his assertion that cyclists who blow stop signs or disrespect the rules of traffic “(provide) the ammunition to those who want to restrict our rights to the road.” In fact, I regularly rant about that very issue. At the same time, something he doesn’t mention in this column is that we might expect a city like San Francisco, known as a progressive city, to have somewhat more enlightened views of a green, low-pollution transport method such as cycling. However, that’s not reflected in the recent Chronicle coverage of a pair of cyclists killed by a law enforcement official who CROSSED THE CENTER LINE of the roadway. It is difficult to argue that their deaths were provoked by their legal use of their own through lane.

This is why bike education is important – and not merely for cyclists, but for law enforcement, legislators, and drivers. Aggression by cyclists and drivers creates mutual escalation, when the goal should be to work together as road users. Many law enforcement officers have little training in bicycle statutes and rules for road use, resulting in some ridiculous situations – I’ve personally experienced such a situation, in which the citation against me was laughed out of court by the county prosecutor as ‘completely without legal basis.’

We all need to work together. Unfortunately, there’s a long way to go there.

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.

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