GUEST OPINION By
Early Thursday morning, before the sun came up, a 12-year-old South Jr. High student was hit as he rode his bike to school, by a motorist. As of this writing, he’s in the hospital with what are described as life-threatening injuries. (He was riding in the dark, wearing dark clothes, no helmet, and no lights or reflectors. The poor lady who hit him was distraught.)
It was all over the local TV news. The police and school spokesman Dan Hollar agree – it’s a good “wake up call” for everyone – for motorists to be on the lookout for cyclists, and for cyclists to ride carefully, visibly and legally.
Great advice. But – I wish it were in my power to further extend that wake-up call to the law-enforcement agencies.
As my “handle” might suggest, I ride a bike. It’s been pretty much my exclusive transportation – in Boise – for 22+ years now. And every day I see fellow cyclists who are doing illegal, stupid things. Running red lights. Riding 2-up (mostly kids). Riding unlit at night. And – all the time – RIDING AGAINST TRAFFIC! Blatantly, black-and-white illegal – and stupid! (It’s dangerous, and it confuses and stirs up resentment on the part of motorists.)
How many tickets have the police issued? I’d be surprised if they’ve written one! (Unless an accident is involved.)
I’ve called the BPD to complain about lack of enforcement of bicycle traffic laws. I’ve been told flat out, “That’s not a priority for us.” They’ve apparently got more important things to do than make the streets safe for cyclists!
I hear people complain all the time about law-breaking, dangerous idiots on bikes. And I join them! But WHO is doing something about it? You can probably guess the response I get, if I tell somebody else on a bike that they’re riding dangerously and illegally. It’s usually “Be fruitful and multiply!”… only not in those words. (An old Woody Allen line there…)
I sure hope the kid gets better, and is soon back on his bicycle. There is NO more efficient or elegant form of transportation! (It’s a shame so few kids ride bikes any more; they estimated 50 out of 800+ kids regularly ride to South.) And I sincerely hope that perhaps our police will revisit their bike-law enforcement policies, and quit electing NOT to enforce the law except when somebody smashes up.
(I called and left a message on this topic on the Mayor’s hotline.)
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