Do We Really Understand the Logic Behind a ‘Vulnerable User’ Law?

Background Reading


Cyclists are very sensitive to the impatience with which they feel motorists treat them. They constantly complain that “They Are Traffic Too!” and should be afforded “Vulnerable User” status to serve as a deterrent to the kinds of abuse they suffer at the hands of motorists. So imagine my surprise when I came across this reply to a thread on “Pedestrians Stepping Into Dearborn PBL“:

Reply by Jaik – 4.3mi 2 hours ago
A friend and I were discussing this recently, well people and cars in the bike lanes, in general. It came down to the question of what happens if people just run into them? I was told a while ago that pedestrians have the right of way, no matter what. I never looked into that. If it’s true, I think it’s ridiculous.
Last year I was in an accident involving a PBL and pedestrians. I had the choice to hit the parked cars, curb, or people. I aimed for the people(they’re squishy). I the people got out of the way and it was just me that tumbled around.
I don’t think I would ever try to hit a car, although, I do wonder who would be at fault for injuries, damages, etc.

Wow! Wrong On So Many Levels

Creative Signage

Creative Signage

I read this kind of thing on the ChainLink so often that it makes me cringe. And then after the dozen times or so you come across it you stop being outraged and are simply saddened. Now as a taxpayer and a citizen I would be wondering to myself why again am I being asked to donate to the Active Transportation Alliance and what again is this business about Urban Cyclists having “safety” as their uppermost focus in urging the creation of more Protected Bike Lanes. Keep in mind that we are taking about an incident in which pedestrians were deliberately targeted while in a crosswalk in a PBL.

One of the reasons I am always suspicious of groups like LOOK! Chicago is that Urban Cyclists are thought to be less concerned about pedestrian or motorist safety than they are about how much money can be obtained during an injury lawsuit. This particular cyclist is reinforcing that notion in the strongest way possible. He admits that hitting pedestrians (because they are squishy) is preferable to slamming into something hard which might cause him greater injury and yet not bring any monetary damages for his troubles!

I really do not know what to say in this regard. Were I not a cyclist I would be on the phone with my local governmental representative asking how soon could we cancel the next round of useless spending on the very bicycle infrastructure that Ron Burke says will change the behavior of cyclists. Either his organization Active Transportation Alliance is clueless about the reality of the deep-seated lack of empathy for any class of individual who gets in the way of the Almighty Cyclist Class or the are willfully ignorant and are just in the advocacy business for the money. Frankly I would prefer the latter to be true.

I Am Of Two Minds Here

I Share The Road

I Share The Road

When people who claim to be cyclists write about this kind of psychopathic behavior in such nonchalance it leaves me numbed. And my first instinct is to write the Administrators at the ChainLink Forum to plead that such reprehensible remarks be removed. But on the other hand I realize that nothing would serve cycling better than to have its underbelly exposed.

Now the target of this exposure (in my mind) is not the “haters“. Rather it is that class of individual who is interested in either becoming a more active cyclist or at least in fostering the climate that will make cycling flourish. These folks are being sold a “pig in a poke“. Gabe Klein and Ron Burke are quite good at “happy talk“. What the folks who hail from the suburbs need to see for themselves is the level of depravity of cycling at the present moment.

Why? Because they are the only ones with deep enough pockets and political contacts with the GOP that can force this rudderless ship away from the shoals of its own destruction. We have a class of 20- and 30-somethings who are frankly anarchists at their very core. If you remove activism surrounding bicycle infrastructure from the table they will move on to something else. This (cycling) is not a passion for them that has much to do with anything beyond some mindless dislike of oil usage (for which their only answer is to annually disrobe in public).

Theirs is the mistake of conflating every single “issue” that we Liberals have dreamt up into a thing called the “sustainable lifestyle“. And frankly everything is subservient to that notion. That means that people on foot are merely fodder for the cyclists cannon. Being squishy they provide a softer landing if the decision has to be made between hitting and killing a toddler or a tottering senior citizen. Either one however should never be given absolute “vulnerable user” status that would put a crimp in the “fun times” that we observe every 4th Friday of the month.