Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Broken Record

Gary at CycloneCross recently linked to this interesting post on Dave Moulton's Bike Blog where he discusses treating road cycling as a human rights issue and treating incidents of road rage or illegal acts towards cyclists as hate crimes.

Although I may not agree with all of his ideas, I like where he goes with the article. He also brings up some interesting points. What he omits, though, is the "how."

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a cyclist propose cyclist-friendly changes to the law (or changes in the way the current laws are enforced), I could buy myself a Pinarello Prince road bike, with cash. If I had a dollar for every time one of these same people took any action whatsoever on their idea, I'd be able to buy a few Clif Bars.

Sometimes I sound like a cliche broken record, but cyclists need to take action if they want change. It is not enough to leave it to the League of American Bicyclists (LAB), or the Ohio Bicycle Federation (OBF), or the other advocacy groups. If you want change, contact your local government officials. Call or e-mail your state representatives or U.S. Congressional representatives. Tell them how you feel about cycling issues. Remind them that you vote. Join LAB or OBF. Do something. Preaching to the choir doesn't count.

If cycling isn't important enough to you that you can't take a few minutes each month to be an advocate, then don't complain. At least to me.


JimmyNick said...

Advocating for cycling is a great idea, e.g. promoting uniform laws that treat cyclists as legal equals with a legit right to the road, and pushing for heightened public awareness of our rights -- particularly among cops, courts and other particularly influential cesspools of ignorance.
But hate-crime status? That's really pushing it.
Why do we deserve special civil rights that don't befall motorists (who get abused, harmed and killed FAR more often in road-rage incidents) and pedestrians (who get harassed, injured and probably killed a lot more than cyclists)?

ds said...

Good point, Jim. I still don't know how I feel about the "hate crime" issue. But, remember that special protections don't need to make sense....they don't in other arenas. For example, why does it make sense that you can lose your license when stealing gas from a gas station but not when caught stealing from the mall. Oil companies don't deserve this special treatment either, but they have great lobbysists and great pull in government.

Actually, I just want to get a discussion going and encourage people to get off of their asses on these issues, regardless of what they feel is the best way to solve these issues. It sure beats complaining and whining amongst ourselves.