One legislative priority for the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota this year is to increase penalties for injury accidents against cyclists and pedestrians. Proposed laws in Minnesota step up existing penalties.
On the plus side, Minnesota often will charge people under existing rules. Not as much in Alabama, where police officers cannot issue citations if they do not see what occurred, even if drivers are clearly negligent. In this op-ed from the Huntsville Times, Morgan Andriulli speaks out about this flaw, and how it makes the excuse “I didn’t see the cyclist” a free pass for negligent behavior.
I especially like this passage:
This is not a debate about who does or does not have the right to be on the road. Our streets and roads are a public-use facility and it is a privilege to use them that comes with responsibilities, drivers and cyclists alike. This is about protecting vulnerable users from others who have failed in their responsibility to not hit things or kill people. Your driver’s license charges you with that responsibility.
Many traffic calming strategies are aimed at protecting vulnerable users, and are frequently opposed on the basis that they “slow down” motorists. It’s important to remember that roads are public-use, and their use is a privilege. There is not necessarily a “right” to certain speeds or exclusivity.