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Bikers as second-class road citizens | WhyBike? Motorcycle Blog

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Bikers as second-class road citizens

By James - 3/28/2007

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I was reading the news report where an SUV crossed a highway in the path of a motorcycle and killed the rider and put the passenger in a coma. One of the comments on the news story caught my attention.

Why should an auto driver be responsible for the death of a biker when the same accident if it happened between two autos would have caused some bodywork damage? The biker is the one that decided to take the mode of transportation they are less likly(sic) to survive in.
This is not the first time I have heard this idea. Many people want bikers’ compensation for injuries caused in accidents restricted or denied since they were not taking “reasonable” precautions with their safety. Unfortunately, this reasoning is flawed in a few ways. I am not going into helmet laws here but even with a helmet, gloves, jacket pants, armor and boots, motorcyclists are still extremely vulnerable when a 500 lb motorcycle goes up against a 6500 lb SUV.

I am curious what these people concerned with safety think we should do with pedestrians and cyclists who are taken out by automobiles. Should compensation be withheld since they are not surrounded by steel? Should they not be allowed to walk near the street since automobiles may hit them since they are not very easy to see?

I am also curious where we draw the line when deciding what is reasonable protection. Is it just pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists? Are compact cars, like a Civic, or a Mini, reasonably safe when in a head on collision with an SUV? Should we restrict compensation to them?

The truth is that motorcyclists do choose a form of transport that can be dangerous, but we do not ask for people to violate our right of way. Just because you are in a hurry, or need to talk to someone on the phone while driving does not give you the right to endanger other people on the road. Relying on crumple zones to compensate for poor driving skills is a dangerous strategy for all those around you.

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    follow the logic… are baby buggies and bicycles also not taking “reasonable care"? The laws need to be changed.

    Comment by
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    stay — 3/28/2007 @ 1:20 pm


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    I’d think the SUV would be liable to pay greater compensation based on the fact that they’re driving an excessively large and dangerous vehicle. If it’s for hauling or commercial use they should have to have a special license, and be held to a greater accountability like any truck or school bus driver.

    Comment by
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    robin — 3/30/2007 @ 6:39 am


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    There is definitely more danger in riding a bike, but that is typically because of people in cars, suv’s and trucks who can’t see for shit, always say that they never saw the bike coming even with its headlights on. Want to reduce bike accidents, get rid of cars and trucks.

    Comment by
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    Richard — 3/30/2007 @ 1:16 pm

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