So When Is Cycling Going To Stop Coming ‘Hat In Hand’?

Background Reading



A screen grab of Jaguar’s promotional video on its Bike Sense technology.


The article cited above begins:

For decades, most of the safety advances in cars — seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes — have been designed to keep the people inside of them safer. But as vehicle fatalities have plummeted as a result over the years, we’re now focusing a lot more on what happens to the people outside of cars.

Seattle last year had 15 traffic fatalities; five of them were either pedestrians or cyclists. San Francisco had 29 traffic deaths in 2014, including 17 pedestrians and three cyclists. In New York City, 248 people died on city streets last year — 132 were pedestrians and 20 cyclists.

All of these cities have now embraced campaigns to eliminate traffic deaths entirely in the coming years as part of what’s become a national “vision zero” movement. Much of the push involves adapting city infrastructure or changing local laws like speed limits to protect cyclists and pedestrians. But the history of car safety poses an intriguing question: If vehicle technology has made it safer to ride in cars, should automakers now take more responsibility for making it safer for people who don’t even use cars to travel around them?

So there is a corollary that should be stated here. Not only should cars be equipped with collision-avoidance technology, but bicycles should be as well. I noticed with deep sorrow that not a single mention of the deaths of pedestrians last year were of those who died at the hands of bicyclists. Yeah, that is strange. But the Urban Cycling Movement has only one gear. They are always focused on shoving blame in the direction of motorists and pedestrians and never shouldering any themselves. This article is a classic example of that sort of thinking.

Bicycles are currently required to be equipped in manner which is far too primitive to make them useful on the streets. They all need to be built with hub generators. By law they should have to display lights front and rear along with having collision-avoidance technology that at the very least warns the cyclist of approaching cars from the rear and pedestrians crossing up ahead. And if the bikes are built to the standards of something like Divvy they might even be capable of having their brakes automatically apply themselves when approaching pedestrians.

It is high time we stopped coming ‘hat-in-hand‘ to wring out handkerchiefs free of crocodile tears. We have shown ourselves to be eager to kill as many pedestrians as our fellow motorists, if given the opportunity. We need to be stopped as well from running down more vulnerable users of MUPs and street crosswalks.

Time for us to become ‘grown ups‘.