One pressing motivation behind Seattle-based Cascade Bicycle Club’s campaign to pass “vulnerable user” legislation seeking justice for cyclists injured or killed in car accidents is to force law-enforcement agencies to take bicycles seriously.
No one who has been involved in a police-reported accident doubts the entrenched bias against cyclists. The attitude can generally be summed up as, “Since some cyclists run red lights or otherwise do foolish things on the streets, the bicyclist is almost always at fault in an accident.”
Drivers of course run red lights and do stupid things all the time. If they hit another car and injure or kill the driver, they are cited. Only when they hit or kill a cyclist do they automatically get the benefit of the doubt, as well as, usually, the benefit of not even a ticket.
In San Francisco, S.F.StreetsBlog has a compelling post documenting baldly expressed anti-cyclist sentiment from the local police department.
It’s a good primer for anyone seeking to understand why the words “justice” and “cycling” have been mutually exclusive for so long, and the urgency behind Cascade’s campaign to unite them under the law.
Crosscut.com: Time to ‘claim the lane’ on bike safety
Biking Bis: Seeking justice for bike riders in Washington State
Let There Be Justice