Sunday, May 8, 2011

Share the road letters in the Post

Several letters appeared in the Post today responding to an earlier editorial with the inflammatory title "Bicyclists are welcome in D.C., but they, too, should obey the law." David Cranor of TheWashCycle wrote an excellent rebuttal
"Sharing the Streets" used incomplete data from a 2004 D.C. government report to unfairly single out cyclists.

The study, which found cyclists slightly more likely to be at fault than drivers in accidents, included a critical fact the editorial ignored. Cyclists were faulted in 16 percent of crashes and drivers in 13 percent, but another 7 percent were hit-and-runs by drivers.

Furthermore, the study was based on police reports, which are unreliable. In four crashes, cyclists were cited for sleeping. And the police often assign blame without interviewing the cyclist, who can be under doctor’s care when the investigation begins, which a recent study shows leads to cyclists being more often blamed.

Many cyclists ignore traffic control devices such as stoplights, but so do drivers who, according to the Federal Highway Administration, also speed 70 percent of the time. Considering how much more reckless and dangerous drivers are, asking cyclists to follow the law "too" seems misplaced. Cyclists are still waiting for drivers to behave as well as we do.

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