Vulnerable road users law and the state of bicyclists

I wrote in one of my posts a while back:

There needs to be primal recognition and acknowledgement starting at the highest levels of authority on down that bicycists have a very fundamental right to use the roads and that the way they use roads is in fact more tied to actual physiologic considerations which in my opinion should always trump things like algorithms related to traffic signaling. A person on a bicycle is a breathing being whose muscles, heart, lungs, etc. are activating on a totally different level than a person sitting on their ass behind a steering wheel, and this should be understood and respected to a deep level if we are going to begin to heal.

Today I was reading about new proposed and already enacted laws at the city-level to protect vulnerable road users. Its interesting too because I just wrote yesterday about violent weakness in which I drew a distinction between weakness and vulnerability, which are almost complete opposites. Vulnerability can be a sign of great strength. Weakness is often violent and what often masquerades as strong in the world is in fact weak.

I believe that if bicyclists are truly to be respected and not abused, there needs to be a fundamental recognition that as bicyclists their entire bodies and minds are activated and engaged with the environment in a totally different way than how those in motor vehicles are.

This difference needs to be well understood and respected. The way a bicyclist is activated, the way they breathe, the way they exert, the way the pause or rest between exertion, the way they relate to everything is fundamentally different and completely valid and in fact vastly more valid and more healthy than any other way.

Encouraging people to walk or ride their bicycles lessens traffic congestion, improves public health, and improves air quality. A key deterrent to bicycling or walking is that people feel unsafe while doing so. This ordinance will increase safety across all communities.
–Third District Supervisor Shirlee Zane

The proposed ordinance is intended to discourage the harassment of bicyclists and pedestrians by prohibiting:

  • Physically assaulting or attempting to physically assault a bicyclist or pedestrian;
  • Intentionally injuring, attempting to injure, or threatening to physically injure, either by words, vehicle or other object, a bicyclist or pedestrian;
  • Intentionally distracting or attempting to distract a bicyclist;
  • Intentionally forcing or attempting to force a bicyclist or pedestrian off a street for purposes unrelated to public safety.

Three-foot bill is back!

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has once again introduced the bill requiring motorists to give three feet when passing, or at least slow down and pass carefully if they can’t. It still includes a provision permitting the motorist to cross the double-yellow line if necessary. We are working with his office to craft language that may satisfy the governor’s inexplicable concerns about liability without eliminating any remaining value to the bill.
— CA Bicycle Coalition CalBike Report, 4/4/13