This article got me a little bit upset.
About a week ago in Durham, New Hampshire, a cyclist was killed when someone opened a car door on him. That’s a tragedy. But if that wasn’t enough, the police, that’s, THE POLICE, mind you, said, “I don’t know what the bicyclist or the driver could have done differently.” Really? Any idiot can tell you what could have been done differently. There are a few, but I’ll give you one option. It’s the one that is legally required pretty much anywhere where traffic laws exist. Ready?
The driver could have looked before opening the door.
Why is everyone so scared to put any actual blame on drivers? 3287 people are killed every day in road crashes. I suspect that most of them could have been avoided by just being a bit more careful. It’s even more a case of, “what a tragedy, but accidents happen”, when it involves a cyclist (there are so many examles to choose from, but I’m tired so here’s one). I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but if you can’t trust people to use good judgement all by themselves, then give them a consequence to their actions that’s worth considering. Demerit ponits? Higher fines? Does getting a demerit point or being fined $100 seem like a reasonable measure to prevent someone from being killed? Especially when preventing it merely requires a person to look a little bit more to one side? Do you know how Singapore deals with chewing gum (there’s your homework for today)?
Look, I’m well aware that cyclists need to take responsiblity for their safety as much as anyone else and that there would be cases where drivers looked but genuinely didn’t see the cyclist, so passing huge/automatic sentences and/or massive fines would be tricky and might not always be fair. However, as a cyclist, some things you simply can’t account for or prevent, and some things you can’t come back from. Like being dead.
Dangerous actions, however accidental, need consequences. Oopsie doesn’t cut it. More needs to be done.
Image: Gary Kavanagh/Flickr