Motorists Also Break the Law

RECEIVED Mon., May 19, 2008

Dear Editor,
    Jason Bratcher writes, "[Cyclists] do not adhere to the same traffic laws that motorists adhere to" [“Postmarks,” May 16]. Wow, Mr. Bratcher thinks that all motorists obey the law? Not. Law-breaking motorists are responsible for more than 30,000 collisions per year in the Austin area, and in nearly half of those a vehicle has to be towed away or someone has to be hospitalized. Nationwide, drivers who run red lights injure about a quarter million people and kill nearly a thousand people every year. I've personally been hit on my bicycle five times when motorists broke the law by running stop signs or failing to yield right-of-way. Guess who hit me by pulling into the bike lane without looking? One of the personal injury attorneys on the back of the phone book. In three other cases the motorists compounded their crime by fleeing the scene after they hit me. (Mr. Bratcher, were you unaware that hit-and-run is a form of breaking the law?) In fact, for several years when I tracked the stats I found that half the serious bike-car collisions in Austin were hit-and-runs. So you'll pardon me if I don't get all teary-eyed about motorists seeing cyclists walking stop signs when I know that half those motorists, if they hit me, are quite willing to leave me for dead.
    What is it that compels drivers to fire off so many letters about law-breaking bicyclists when the real carnage is caused by motorists? And what blinds them to the reality that (news flash) motorists break the law too? The reality is that both bicyclists and motorists break the law. The difference is that when motorists do it, someone other than the law-breaker frequently gets hurt or killed.
Michael Bluejay
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