Bob Mionske, author of the excellent book Bicycling and the Law, posted a story on his blog yesterday about a terrible incident in Ontario, Canada in which a driver ran down 5 law abiding cyclists riding single file in a marked bike lane. If the collision in-and-of-itself wasn’t bad enough, Mionske describes the Ottawa Police Service’s response to the incident:
Apparently shocked by the senseless carnage, Ottawa police decided to address bicycle safety as a part of their Integrated Road Safety Program. The target of their bicycle safety campaign?
Directing their attention at safety violations made by cyclists, Ottawa police ticketed 340 cyclists in August, and handed out 500 free bicycle bells. Additionally, police handed out hundreds of information pamphlets on safe cycling at intersections known to be a high-risk for collisions between cyclists and motorists.
Mionske goes on to suggest that a more appropriate response would have been a stepped-up enforcement action against reckless, drunk, and aggressive automobile drivers:
What about a stepped-up enforcement action against drunk drivers? What about stepped-up enforcement against reckless drivers? Against aggressive drivers? Against drivers who harass law-abiding cyclists? What about targeting the most dangerous violations of the law, like excessive speed, or red light running? Wouldn’t any of these have been a more appropriate response than a program targeting the victims of this horrific incident?
I wholeheartedly agree.