WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

Dead (motor)cyclists have themselves to blame!

By James - 3/24/2007

One of the blogs I read regularly is BoingBoing which reported the other day about a Toronto politician that said that dead cyclists have themselves to blame, even if they died while cycling legally.

I can’t support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.
You notice that he left out motorcycles, another form of transportation with an exposed operator.

This is not a uniquely Canadian mentality, as anyone who has driven in the United States can attest to. The Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, expressed a similar position . . .

Even if they’re in the right, they are the lightweights. Every year, too many people are hit by cars - and bikes have to pay attention. Bikers shouldn’t assume car doors won’t open into their path, for example.
He is right in a couple of aspects, bikes and motorcycles are lightweights in both physical size and political force when compared to cars. And as motorcyclists we are taught defensive driving, we shouldn’t assume that cars will not do illegal things and hit us. But we should not just shrug our shoulders and say “Such is life". There are things our government can do beyond telling us to wear helmets to help reduce deaths of all motorists on the road.

  1. Bicycle and pedestrian awareness programs have been shown to help decrease the number of deaths here in the US. Motorcycle awareness programs in European countries have been show to do the same for bikers. We can pressure our government representatives into sponsoring these programs and help to put looking for motorcyclists top of mind for cagers.
  2. Harsher penalties for those who violate the right of way of any vehicle on the road. Those that put convenience over safety need to learn how inconvenient it is for person they kill or injure with their selfish behavior. I am tired of people getting slapped on the wrist when they proclaim that they were late, or they didn’t see the motorcycle. Society should not have to pick up the pieces because you have poor time management or are just to lazy to look both ways before pulling out into traffic.

Just because we are more exposed, or don’t have airbags, or don’t have crumple zones does not mean we are asking for injury or death. We do not have ourselves to blame when bus, car, or truck hits us. So at every chance you have, I plead for you to vote for motorcycle-sympathetic politicians, write to your representatives and encourage strategies for helping to increase motorcycle awareness, and when you have the opportunity to meet face to face let them know how dangerous it is getting for bikers on the raod.


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