By Yokota Fritz
The state of Virginia recently hiked traffic fines so that going 20 mph over the limit can result in a fine of $1000. If you're caught driving under the influence for a third time or if you're "felony reckless driving," the fine is $3000. Other offenses result in similarly high fines.
While the motivation of the state legislators was to increase revenue, I applaud efforts to make dangerous driving more painful to those who commit the crime. While roads generally have become safer for drivers and car occupants, traffic fatalities have gone up significantly over the past few years. Safer cars with better crash protection, better suspension, better brakes, and more powerful engines just means you can drive even more like a bonehead. Drivers are more likely to wreck their cars, but the wrecks are more survivable as long as you happen to be inside the metal cage. Wrecks are also more likely for the more vulnerable users of our road systems -- pedestrians and cyclists -- but the improved crash worthiness protection doesn't extend to us.
By Yokota Fritz
Steve in Arlington, VA is a long time bike commuter who ran across a cyclist who started biking to work on a regular basis after the local Bike To Work Day last May.
His story was that he decided to try out the commute for Bike to Work Day this last May. That convinced him that it was doable on a daily basis. He went out and bought a bike to meet his commuting needs, and now he's an every day commuter.
This was exciting for me to hear. Having participated in BTWD for a long time, I had the sense that everyone was already a bike commuter.
Read more at Commuter Page blog. I know of a few people who started bike commuting regularly after a Bike To Work Day event.
Bike racks on buses
According to the 2007 Public Transportation Fact Book, 62.7 percent of buses in the U.S. have bike racks. There are a total of 82,027 buses, so 51,431 buses have external bike racks. An additional 574 buses have interior racks or storage space for bicycles. Via the League of American Bicyclists.
By Yokota Fritz
I've been neglecting Cyclelicious because I'm spending more time on the bicycle than on the blog, so I'll post this thought provoking article about bicycle advocacy and the dominance of automobiles in our transportation infrastructure.
Although automobiles dominate transportation more than ever, there is increasing recognition that society cannot rely upon a single transportation mode. While automobiles have undisputed advantages -- route/time flexibility and wide-ranging mobility foremost among them -- they also impose once-unappreciated costs on society: They pollute, they create congestion, and they require roads and parking spaces that consume vast amounts of land that could be applied to other uses.
Currently, only a trivial percentage of the American population uses bicycles to ride to work. But other countries, mostly notably the Netherlands and Denmark, have shown that the potential cycling population is much larger. As automobile congestion worsens in Virginia and the rest of the United States, there is increasing interest in redesigning communities to make them more bicycle friendly. Above all else, bicycling must be made safe.
By Yokota Fritz
You won't see this mentioned on Michelle Malkin's blog, but the news in Arlington, Virginia reported on this road rage attack in which a cyclist stopped at a red light was assaulted by a motorist who stopped behind the female cyclist, exited his vehicle, and pushed the woman over onto the ground while screaming at her. Arlington police witnessed the attack and arrested the motorist.
Motorist advocacy groups expressed their shame over the violent behavior of one of their own, while pedestrians, cyclists, and bloggers all over the United States expressed their outrage over the arrogance of motorists who would attack a defenseless woman on a bike and called on motorists to better police themselves.
Well, no, not really, but for some reason when some idiot on a bike smashes in a car window it's somehow my fault.
$1000 speeding ticket
Whaaaaaaaaaat? Cops don't enforce the law on bicyclists? You should have a chat with Tulsa PD Santa Task Force. Maybe they just trying to show Santa some love and Christmas cheer?
This is what I've been saying needs to be done all along. Make the speeding laws something that's actually going to HURT people in some way. That way they'll stop speeding.
The law I've been pushing recently is to give anyone who speeds in a school zone a six-month license suspension. If we can't create laws to protect kids at school, what good are we? Lives are more important than speed on the road.
THat one drawback is pretty significant, especially since it means the same guy could deserve a ticket ten times and there might not even be a record. End result: more crazy drivers, not fewer. I'm of the "earn your right to the road" school. If our culture stopped thinking it was a horrible thing to deprive somebody of the privilege to drive, then a: those same outraged citizens would create options and b: htere *would* be fewer dangerously impaired drivers out there.
Tulsa's fine law enforcement personnel are exceptional in every way, I'm sure.
I think it's Finland that figures speeding fines as a percentage of income.
I read that one reason the VA legislators voted for increased speeding fine was because they were afraid to increase gas taxes by roughly a penny per gallon. the measure is meant to increase revenues for roads, as you've noted Fritz, but the legislature is tax averse.
Now we get to see how much backbone they have when confronted with angry voters.
Third offense for driving under the influence gets a $3000 fine? It ought to get 10 years!
One of the biggest complaints about the law is that out of state drivers (there are a lot, District and Maryland residents) are exempted from the high fines because they are allowed to plead ignorance. The roads right around the District are nasty to drive in, but there are already a number of programs to encourage people to report "aggressive" drivers. Maybe there just needs to be more effort to track down the reported aggressives.
Are you nut? I make 1500 a month. I don't speed but speed traps all over my rout to and from work on downhills and 25 mils speed limit? Are you telling me you never went over limit? Do you even live in US?
Anon, read the article. If you're going 45 in a 25, then you deserve to get nailed. IMO.
Bike To Work Day success story
Bicycles in Lynchburg
"More time on the bicycle than on the blog"- Good for you Fritz; that is the way it is supposed to be.
Great link by the way.
Maniac road raging motorist assaults female cyclist
There are automobile advocacy groups? You mean like AAA?
It's funny because I see the day when the tables are turned (w/in city limits at least) and the automobile people will be forming small advocacy groups to pressure for wider streets and an increase in the number of city-allowed gas stations (just ban gas stations and speeds over 25mph in city limits and watch the bikes flourish.)
Well, Fritz, it's YOUR fault. I bet the cyclist chick is a regular reader of C-licious. Why, the NERVE of biking the public streets!
Perhaps those genius LCI's should update their Effective Cycling classes. Actually, Santa encounters NUMEROUS road rage incidents, which mainly go UNREPORTED, because they are diffused before the cops arrive on the scene.
Certainly, Santa would be more than happy to share his secrets on u-tube, if only someone would hold the camera and edit "How to survive road rage cagers, WITHOUT really trying."
I'm relieved you've claimed this one, Fritz, 'cause it's usually MY fault!