Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood interviewed on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. Great stuff.
Posted 5.26.10 in Policy & Infrastructure | Bookmark or Share
We are definitely lucky to have Sec. LaHood in that position. He doesn’t back down in the face of opposition. Thanks for sharing this interview!
First, I am delighted, almost giddy, that we have a Secretary of Transportation who is taking a multi-modal approach, and who sees the potential for bicycles as part of the mix.
However, I was much less than impressed with Secretary LaHood’s repeated assertion that bicycles and pedestrians always have the right of way. It was especially egregious as this was his answer to how we educate drivers about cyclists’ rights.
Yes, we need to educate drivers about cyclists’ rights and responsibilities. We also need to educate cyclists on the same issues. Telling people that they always have the right of way is hardly useful and potentially dangerous.
Whether or not you buy into vehicular cycling philosophy, the fact is that bicyclists on the road have nearly identical rights and responsibilities as drivers. We can’t claim any right of way beyond what drivers are afforded.
Even pedestrians don’t have blanket right of way–a jaywalker who darts out from between a couple of large, parked vehicles right into the flow of traffic will have a hard time proving negligence if he gets hit.
It’s unfortunate that cyclists and pedestrians are so frequently lumped together, and the federal government encourages this, mandating that every DOT have a bicycle/pedestrian coordinator, as though we have identical needs. In fact, bikes and pedestrians mix about as well as bikes and cars.
Comments like LaHood’s reinforce the idea among drivers that cyclists belong in the crosswalks with pedestrians.
“However, I was much less than impressed with Secretary LaHoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s repeated assertion that bicycles and pedestrians always have the right of way.”
Yeah, I cringed a bit when I heard that. Still, I couldn’t be happier having Sec. LaHood in office.