Monday, December 14, 2009

Cyclists don't get ticketed like motorists.

An amusing sight on Airport Road in Millbrae this AM. First, I saw a cop by the side of the road up ahead. Then, I saw a car whizz by me fast enough that the cop decided to put down his coffee and ring speedy McFly up for a speeding ticket. That got me to thinking about the old meme that the laws aren't enforced against cyclists.

I've never actually seen a cyclist ticketed, but I've heard of examples. And I've heard far too many commenters on blogs and newspaper forums complain about the laws not being enforced on cyclists.

Now, I've been known to roll the occasional stop sign. 4 way stop, sort of treated as a yield, T intersections I might barely slow. Unless of course I see a police officer. Just like any motorist blowing down the freeway at 90 MPH, I know full well that I might want to rein in my riding a bit if Johnny Law is in sight.

Here's my thinking on why motorists might get more tickets than cyclists. If your face is buried in a big mac, with a cup of coffee in one hand and your eyes on the radio dial then you, like my friend on Airport this AM, are not paying attention to the task at hand - driving your car - and therefore you are oblivious to the cop sitting in plain sight in front of you. When I'm riding my bike I am acutely aware of conditions. It's not that I'm more or less inclined to skirt a few rules - it's that I'm better at not getting caught.

1 comment:

mikeweb said...

I have a twist on this theory. By and large, about 99% of all speeding infractions even result in a ticket. Anyone who drives (like myself) can tell you that from personal experience. Also, only the most egregious speeders generally get whacked.

The practice of bicycles going through red lights hardly ever gets ticketed. So my theory is basically, a bicycle going through a red light is the equivalent of a car speeding. Common infractions that are sparsely ticketed and I would argue, rightly so.

Now, I'd also argue that a cyclist riding the wrong way on a one way street or on the wrong side of the street should be ticketed more often; it's a much more dangerous practice.