Point and Counterpoint

Brooklyn Paper

The Brooklyn Paper ran a pair of op-eds this morning that clearly illustrate the divide between those who support a “crackdown” on bicyclists and those who believe the real issue is a need for safer streets.

Crackdown Will Save Lives
Ticket Blitz too Lopsided

[Note: Be prepared for a handful of inaccuracies in the “Crackdown” piece. —ed.]

5 Responses to “Point and Counterpoint”

  • Andy says:

    Thanks for the inspiration. The more nonsense I read from people who only drive cars and don’t understand the laws, the more I like to bike through cities to educate them. I think the “crackdown” is just nonsense. Cite those that do the most dangerous things. If that’s someone on a bike than, so be it, but the other 99.9% of the time it’s a speeding car or a car running a red light.

  • Mike says:

    Thanks for posting this. As a lifelong bike commuter, family transportation rider, and a current serving police officer in Canada I wanted to take the time to make one or two small points.

    Just like any city, my city has it’s share of scofflaw cyclists and bad motorists. We have a dedicated traffic section with 10 full time officers dedicated to the enforcement of traffic laws in our city. I can speak from experience when I say that they are enforcing the Motor Vehicle Act as it applies to vehicle traffic 99.9 % of the time. I do not think a crackdown is necessary in any city, however, that being said I do believe in equal enforcement. Even now, we see the predominance of vehicular tickets. Some of that ‘love’ needs to be shared with they scofflaw cyclists.

    I am under the opinion that wether or not you are a pedestrian, cyclist, skateboarded, roller-blader, car driver or whatever. We all need to share in the responsibility and police should look for infractions regardless of your mode of travel.


  • voyage says:

    Or is the real issue “change?”

    Change seems to trouble some Americans these days: fear and anxiety. Inconvenience, at least.

    From Seattle Bike Blog,

    “Violent rhetoric and bicycles”



    Is “violent rhetoric” affecting the behavior of local law enforcement regarding cyclists?

  • Peter folding biker says:

    I have to say I’ve gone through my own learning curve bike commuting in New York and there have been a number of earlier times where disregarding bike rules brought me close a bit too close (or even in contact with) to a speeding bumper. I think fairly distributed ticketing, especially focused on flagrant violations, is better than letting people get away with stuff that could land them in the hospital or worse. That said, I’ve heard of some pretty ridiculous tickets being issued to cyclists.

  • Bob P. says:

    Harvard Business Review had an interesting article about high stakes negotiations that take place between our (US) military and the locals in areas like Afghanistan. There are many lessons to be learned from studying the cases they put out. The one that sticks in my mind is to simply ask both sides what they want out of this debate.

    I will guess that we cyclists, and the drivers, and the pedestrians all want safer and more efficient flow of traffic. If we can define this common goal, the drivers/pedestrians will see that more bikes on the road equals safer streets. This isn’t a win-lose battle, at least it shouldn’t be.

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