Reports tonight indicate that the City of Boise has passed new city laws designed to protect bicyclists on our streets. The ordinances would arguably provide new ways to criminalize driving too close or too aggressively around bicyclists. The truth is the new laws may make us feel safer while riding two wheelers on the road but they will do nothing – unless the City decides to enforce those new laws in ways that it would not under the existing law. Was it against the law to drive recklessly and endanger the lives of pedestrians before these new laws? Of course. So why didn’t the police enforce the old laws by actively pursuing inattentive or reckless drivers?
Three people died last year because of driver inattention. Good people’s lives were lost and others ruined. Here is that all too simple truth – we can protect others – bicyclists and pedestrians and other drivers, by simply following that golden rule. If we all drive like we would want others to drive to protect our lives and the lives of our friends and family, the streets will be safer – new laws or not.
And riders need to do a better job too.
Last May I was almost hit near the corner of Broadway and Front. A driver in the "right turn only" lane changed his mind and went straight. I heard him accelerating behind me and off to the right just before he passed me on my right. I wondered if he would have passed one of his pals or maybe a kid that way. Had I not stayed put, I likely would have swerved in front of him as I moved to the right.
Let’s just try to do a better job of accommodating others on the road – bikes, kids, grannies and others. Thanks for the new laws Boise, but its new attitudes we need.