More Enforcement of Bike-Friendly Laws

RECEIVED Mon., May 19, 2008

Dear Editor,
    The city of Austin imagines that spending money will increase the number of people traveling by bicycle, while apparently one of the main reasons people do not use bikes more is because of the perceived lack of safety. For those of you who do not travel around Austin by bike, I can tell you that it is frightening. Some of my fellow Austinites think nothing of endangering my life when I am on my bicycle. And then there are others who are simply too busy doing other things while driving to worry about running over a bicyclist or pedestrian. If the city wants more bicyclists as a way to relieve traffic and pollution, then what needs to be done is the enforcement of respect for our fellow travelers. The police should be actively ticketing those vehicles who endanger bicyclists and pedestrians. Awareness campaigns are not sufficient. Everybody is rushing somewhere, and friendliness and awareness go out the window. We need some significant negative reinforcement so drivers will think twice before cutting off or otherwise jeopardizing bicyclists and pedestrians. A few weeks of that kind of publicity, and we can change the dynamic on the streets. This option will actually earn money for the city, not spend it in boondoggles that do little to help people trying to travel without burning fossil fuels.
Stuart Reichler
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