Tuesday, August 06, 2002

The Europeans want to make motorists responsible for all car-bicycle collisions. Read it in the UK Observer or Independent. Apparently some countries already do it that way, and the EU wants to make the laws more uniforms.

The anti-cyclists are outraged about that, but it seems analogous to the rule that when car A rear-end car B, then car A is nearly always found to be at fault. That is a good general rule because it is nearly impossible to assess fault in any other way, the rear car is usually at fault, and it is a rule that promotes safer driving habits.

In my experience, cars violate traffic laws and safety rules far more frequently than cyclists, and the cars do it in ways that create hazards for cyclists. Occasionally cyclists violate traffic laws also, such as running a 4-way stop when no vehicles are present, but it is very rare that they do so in a way that creates a hazard for others. I'd like to see the European law here in the US.

George writes:

You don't see bicyclists breaking the law? I just got stuck behind a bicycle where I could not easily pass for about a block. There was no bicycle lane, and the bicycle was just riding in the middle of the road where the cars belong.

The bicyclist was obeying the law. The law says that bicyclists have the same rights to the road as cars, except for a few places like limited access freeways where they are prohibited. The bicycles do not have to be in the bike lane. They have some obligation to let other vehicles pass, but it is just the same as for any slow moving vehicle. Often riding in the middle of the road is the safest and proper way to ride.

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