We need a new law.

April 27th, 2011

As I’ve reflected previously, it is absolutely impossible to hold a motorist accountable for destructive, negligent or abusive behavior unless you, the cyclist, have sustained personal injury or damage to your bike. Even then, many times the incident is deemed purely accidental, and no blame is laid even if the incident resulted in the death of one or more cyclists.

I propose new legislature that allows cyclists to turn in motorists for harassment and negligent driving. This would not be a criminal offense, but should be a ticketable offense with a significant monetary penalty. This offense should also go on the driver’s record and be reported to their insurance company.

If you commute by bicycle, you know that there are kind, attentive drivers, distracted, oblivious drivers, and drivers who are downright homicidal. In order to protect ourselves from the latter two, we should be given a voice in the form of a hotline or online form, which a cyclist may use to report drivers who endanger them with the assurance that the motorist in question will be cited.

Really, it’s only fair. Of course this train of thought stems from an experience during today’s morning commute. After tailgating me and honking, a black compact car driven by some flabby, shabby looking woman squeezed past me (NE237 I think was the plate) and again honked while swerving toward me and revving her engine. When I caught up to her at the red light, intoning, “Hey! This is my road, too!”, she barked her reply, “Not the middle of it, you bitch!”. Apparently she was unaware of the new laws stating a cyclist can ‘take the lane’ in a narrow area that lacks a bike lane.  Before I could illuminate her, she swerved dangerously around me, again spitting curses at me.

Should she get ticketed for this? Absolutely. Not only is she unaware of the mass laws allowing cyclists to take the lane, and requiring motorists to leave a three foot space for cyclists, she endangered my life by tailgating my bicycle with a two ton vehicle and honking in order to intentionally startle me. Drivers like this should have their privileges revoked, as they are essentially murderers in the making.  I see motorists behave like this every single day, week in, week out, and it will never change until there are consequences.

If the car is no longer king in Boston, prove that shit. Give cyclists some power and protection on the road.

3 Responses to “We need a new law.”

  1. bikeguy Says:

    One option is to file complaint with the RMV for improper operation.
    Here’s link to the form: http://www.walkboston.org/documents/21171.pdf

  2. Grimlocke Von Hecht Says:

    So I tried this – I filled out about five of these forms and mailed them in to the RMV address included. That was about a month and a half ago and I’ve still gotten no response. I can’t say I’m surprised.

  3. Zero Combustion » Blog Archive » No More Ms. Nicebike Says:

    […] this? I filled out quite a few of these complaint forms, and filled them with details of each violation […]

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