Should Cars and Cyclists Share Equal Liabilities?

Background Reading

Summary

A woman rode a Citi Bike near Madison Square Park on Monday. Women take about a quarter of all Citi Bike trips and make up just under a third of its members. Credit Christopher Lee for The New York Times

A woman rode a Citi Bike near Madison Square Park on Monday. Women take about a quarter of all Citi Bike trips and make up just under a third of its members. Credit Christopher Lee for The New York Times


TakeAways

This is a curious problem. Cyclists want more severe charges brought against motorists who hit and injure them. But they do not necessarily want their punishments to be as severe as those meted out to motorists. Why is that?

Does it make a difference to a pedestrian whether she was hit and injured by a car or a bicycle? If her bodily injuries are severe perhaps the only real distinction might be the fact that an automobile driver is likely to have an insurance policy that includes damages for physical injury during the operation of their vehicle. Bicyclists could have no such coverage and be limited to merely a homeowners or renters policy.

So in the situation where you need to recover money who strikes and injures you might matter. So then does it mean that bicyclists should have to operate with a similar kind of insurance, adjusted for things like repair costs to their personal vehicle but similar in the event of a collision with another cyclists or pedestrian? I think so.

And that would of course mean that bicyclists need to have a driver’s license and some training to be able to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. In addition it would mean that they would have to undergo some inspections to ensure that their vehicle was roadworthy and in compliance with all applicable laws.

In short we would be asking (on behalf of pedestrians and other bicyclists) for the same protections against loss of earning power and personal injury that anyone should expect to be true of the person who just struck and injured them or worse caused their death.