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About 50 people have emailed me about this metro article yesterday. The vast majority of them upset about the whole idea.
the current state law fines bikers $20 for infractions such as running red lights, Boston’s proposed legislation increases those fines to as much as $150.
“If a biker runs a red light and it’s only a $20 dollar fine, they think: ‘no big deal,’” Captain Jack Danilecki of the Boston police said. “But $150, you are going to pay more attention.
“The mayor looks at it as another law-enforcement tool, not as punishment by any means.”
Aside from the fact that the article started off by calling Boston one of the friendliest cities in America for cycling (something it most certainly has been working towards but not attained), there is no news here.
Lets say they do up the fine for running a red light to $150. How is that a bad thing? Are you running red lights? Should you be running red lights? Will you get a ticket for running red lights if you don’t run red lights? I don’t understand how this would affect law abiding cyclists at all.
If you follow the traffic rules having larger fines for running red lights is going to make your life easier. Its always so easy for motorists to say “you want to be X but you don’t even Y!” So now you can tell them, “hey buddy I get the same tickets you do.” Having bicycles and motorists follow the same fine structure legitimizes cycling as a form of transportation. It will also teach (financially) non law-abiding cyclists that there are rules, and they should be following them.
The one and only way this law could be bad is if the police go out of their way to target only cyclists. This would demonstrate that this law is simply a way to drive cyclists off the streets. Seeing as how there is almost zero traffic enforcement (of any kind, for any road user group) we shouldn’t worry about this.
I think that the real flaw here is that the push is not to cover all road user groups. Motorists and cyclists are increasingly settling into having similar fees but there is one GIANT group of road users that have been left out.
The pedestrian fee structure is so low, that its basically “do what you want” if you are walking on Boston’s streets. I have no problem with handing out large tickets to cyclists and motorists running red lights, but lets give out tickets to pedestrians as well when they violate the rules.
If you passed a law giving police the ability to write $150 j-walking tickets, you could go downtown on any given weekday and solve the state budget problem. Not only would this make pedestrians more likely to follow the law, but it would make everyone safer (not the least of which the pedestrians themselves). I can’t count the number of times I have almost been knocked off my bike by a pedestrians walking out from between parked cars.
After we get all road user groups following a similar fee structure, we need to have education, and enforcement. The police in Boston don’t focus on enforcement, not for car drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians. Everyone knows they can get away with anything, so they do.
I welcome a day when all road user groups are educated, fined, and enforced equally. You can argue all you want that we have not attained that equality yet, but I find it hard to argue against giving some financial teeth to red light tickets for cyclists. Don’t break the law, you wont get a ticket.
Tags: chill out, metro, red lights, tickets
Posted in advocacy | 28 Comments »
Speaking of awesome bike lane news, BuBikes has documented some official,
some less than official
enforcement of the new bike lanes on North Harvard.
I wonder who did the unofficial ones….
If you only read the font page of BostonBiker.org you are missing out on a whole wealth of interesting folks that blog here. You can find a list of the most updated blogs over there on the left, you can subscribe to a site wide RSS feed here, and you can also read the last couple posts from other bloggers down there at the bottom, want to add your voice to the mix click here.
Tags: Bike Lanes, enforcement, funny, North Harvard, tickets
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | 1 Comment »
Reader Grim sent these to me…as you can see the new bike lanes on North Harvard have not been totally understood just yet by the drivers in the area…perhaps a couple 100$ dollar tickets would smarten them up.
more pics here
Tags: bike lane, cars, fail, North Harvard, parking, tickets
Posted in advocacy | 6 Comments »
Oh my goodness it is nice outside today. The morning ride (which for the last couple months has been an exercise in endurance) was AWESOME! Nice breeze, sunshine, lots of people on bikes, completely amazing from tires to helmet.
I also saw a million more people outside on bike than I have for the last three months. This is not surprising as (have I mentioned this) it was freaking stellar outside this morning.
I did however see some things that made me a bit worried.
1. Get fenders, seriously I saw so many skunk stripes this morning that I thought it was a new fashion statement.
2. Red lights mean stop… I have run red lights in my day, but not when a big ass truck is about to hit me… If you must run the red lights at least slow down and LOOK BOTH WAYS before running out into traffic. Do you know what kind of therapy bills I will have to pay after I see you dismembered by a Volvo in the middle of an intersection.
3. Cops are not ninjas. Seriously why would you run a red light in Cambridge (known for this sort of thing) when their are TWO COPS in full uniform on the other side of the intersection with TICKET BOOKS in their hands WAITING TO GIVE OUT TICKETS to bikers running red lights… I saw them a block away, they were standing almost in the road watching all the bikers go by. How did you two people in front of me miss them?
So in short, enjoy the ride, but remember this is not like riding your car, you have to pay attention!
Tags: awesome, bike ride, cops, seriously, tickets, watch out, weather
Posted in fun | 2 Comments »