My brothers and sisters living on what we now call Reservations must clearly understand this new trend in American Transportation Needs. The general trend of the past few hundred years has been to declare a cessation of open hostilities with the “promise of lands“. That was what the Boub v. Wayne Case meant with respect to bicyclists and municipalities. We cyclists were no longer “unintended and uninvited users of the roads“. So that meant that room was carved out for the use of cyclists in what began as “shared lanes“.
If you take a look at the PDF titled Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road you encounter these paragraphs early in the document:
Bicycle riding is a great way to get into shape and enjoy the outdoors. To remain safe on Illinois roads, it is important to follow the same traffic safety laws that govern vehicle drivers.
No amount of bicycle safety equipment can adequately protect a rider from the dangerous force of a car or truck if involved in a vehicle collision. The best way to avoid injury is by being prepared for the dangers that streets pose to bicycle riders and by obeying the rules of the road.
This booklet provides bicyclists the information needed to
stay safe while sharing the road with motorists. Learning
and practicing the bicycle rules of the road is your responsibility. The short time it takes to read this booklet and practice what you have learned can provide a lifetime of safe bicycle riding.
And thus began the denial of the agreement between bicyclists and other roadway users that seems an endless decline in trust. Cyclists demand that they not be required (like everyone else) to get a driver’s license. They even have decided that certain kinds of clothing is not something they should ever be required to wear. That includes for many cyclists things like helmets. But it also extends to the color and reflectivity of the clothing cyclists need to wear as light conditions wane.
The Latest In A Line of Petulant Actions
There is now a quite active Resistance Movement to deny that cyclists were ever intended to follow the Rules of the Road. As a cyclist I know that in any traffic conditions “I can cheat“. That includes things like ignoring the condition that I do not enter a protected crosswalk when pedestrians are present. But that is small potatoes when compared with the demand that I no longer have to obey the stop signs and traffic signals which I now declare were never intended for me, but are solely the responsibility of cars to obey.
So wonder of wonders when traffic is snarled and I might be late to work or a meeting I simply “run red lights” and then on side streets “blow through stop signs“. And when needed I like to ride on sidewalks along busy streets (e.g. Michigan Avenue) where I demand change so that any tickets will no longer be my responsibility.
As I said before the Indigenous Peoples who were offered Reservations are fully aware of this tendency in the actions and behaviors of The Settlers. The shame of it all is that the treaties were eventually ignored when those Settlers decided that it was more advantageous to them to ignore the responsibilities of the treaties they had been signatories to.
When gold or fresh water became a coveted commodity by The Settlers they suddenly forgot the terms of each and every treaty. And like their bicycling progeny today the excuse for avoiding the treaty is “my well-being“. Suddenly I am safer if I run red lights! Who could blame me for doing something that helps preserve my life?
In fact when in New York City it was asked of cyclists to “dismount” when entering crowded pedestrian/cyclist areas, cyclists refused! Evidently they are the only ones who “safety” matters.
This Behavior Will Continue
To this very day the Indigenous Peoples of America have to demand that understandings signed off decades ago are honored. The American Pedestrians and Motorists have to be vigilant when it comes to honoring the Rights of Cyclists while at the very same time demanding that they do the same for others. No longer should it be tolerated that they use the pedestrian crosswalk as a launching pad from which they run red lights. And most certainly “cooking up studies to try and justify their actions” should be rejected.
I am a cyclist who can read and write (despite being the progeny of Freed Slaves). I fully understand that all laws which apply to Former Slave Owners equally apply to me. And I believe that everyone should honor their commitments and abide by them even when it does not suit them at a given moment.