An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What price, the life of a cyclist?

Just two days ago, I posted about that really cool looking elevated traffic circle in The Netherlands, built specifically for cyclists and pedestrians. One could only dream that the American infrastructure would include, if not such extensive structures, at least the thought behind it -- safety of the cyclist is more important than the money.

An article posted on the Bicycling blog yesterday illustrates the basic differences in the considerations of cyclists and motorists between our fair country and that little Dutch land over the pond. I urge you to read it. It's sad, really.

On a thread on Velocipede Salon, examining the same elevated traffic circle, one poster cited some perfect examples of intersections in New York (surrounding Central Park) for the application of this concept. Sadly, in the same post, he said that, " Those intersections kill people every year. Elevate pedestrians and cyclists up out of traffic and carry them over to their destination. Unfortunately, we just can't afford stuff like this in the US any longer."

Ah, yes, it's too expensive. So expensive that a number of people have to pay the ultimate price annually. But obviously that ultimate price isn't enough to pay for change.

The life of a cyclist in this country is easily dismissed to a motorist's convenience, the responsibility of the driver easily absolved with the flippant "I didn't see them." It's all a tragic accident (which I don't disagree with), and so no one is responsible (which I vehemently DO disagree with).

Driving a car, and a BIG one at that, is considered a right, dammit, in the U. S. of A., and no one is going to get in the way of that right. Hmm... I wonder where along the line in the last 80 years, from when cars were owned by less than 10% of the population ANYwhere, that roadways became owned by the motorists themselves.  Where did the privilege of owning a vehicle and the convenience of travel on government-funded roadways become a right of the population, along side Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness?

Isn't the more sensible approach that which is taken in The Netherlands? The responsibility belongs on the person operating the more dangerous vehicle. Their licensing education system is geared that way. And *SHOCKING!* it produces overall safer drivers.

Where does it start? Obviously these things (education and infrastructure changes) aren't free. When motorists view the infrastructure of this country as the means to move everyone to their destination safely, and not just themselves, we're one step closer.

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