This Is Nothing If Not, ‘Truth In Advertising’

Background Reading


© John W. Iwanski

© John W. Iwanski

The real problem is that our streets weren’t designed to accommodate bikes and cars together.

“Protected” bike lanes like the one Seattle installed shortly after Kung’s death are a start (although don’t even get me started on that one in particular), but cycling in the city will continue to be a gamble until there are truly functional networks of these lanes woven through the city — until bicycles are put on level ground with cars. (If you want to see a city that’s done that, go to Copenhagen.)


Sadly even the streets of Copenhagen do not eliminate deaths when cycling.

In fact when I looked at the most recent statistics on cycling deaths in the city of Copenhagen I was astonished! Given all the ‘hype‘ surrounding the place we know as ‘Bicycle Heaven‘ I would have expected the attainment of Vision Zero. But sadly they too after all these years of constantly laboring over the redesign of roadways have not managed to eliminate the problem of collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles.

It Does Not Get More Straightforward Than A Pedestrian Crosswalk

Bicyclists are a bit like drug addicts who refuse to recognize that they have a problem. They are constantly pointing to the fellows sitting next to them drinking himself under the table and asking why are they allowed to behave in that manner and he is being subjected to an intervention for a bit of crack cocaine.

When a person who designs streets for a living admits that the problem is often human error it might behoove cyclists to picture the standard pedestrians crosswalk, to understand the problem.

Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

Cyclists must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

The problem is straightforward. If you are a cyclist you stop and allow pedestrians to cross. And if you are ‘amber gambling‘ to beat a red light and strike a pedestrian, then shame on you.

So someone in the seemingly self-righteous Portland area give me one reason why the design of a simple crosswalk would ever result in pedestrian death by a cyclist! I really cannot think of a single instance in which the failure of a cyclist to yield the right-of-way would not be the cause of death.

So clearly there are probably few if any improvements to be made to the current crop of crosswalks. I would certainly welcome any that came along. But in the short term, it is the bicyclist community that has to accept responsibility.

But of course there are always those in the Urban Cycling Community who refuse to accept any personal blame for anything. It is always some rogue cyclist who has to shoulder the responsibility but never them for creating a culture in which the rogue cyclists behavior has become the norm.

On the other hand every time they open their mouths they condemn every motorist alive for being the problem for causing this or that collision. And yes, motorists like myself are personally and collectively guilty for not speaking out when we see reckless driving. That should be the same stance that cyclists take.

Condemn those who reflect badly on the community of cyclists. Change the culture from within!