Sharing the Roadway: From Confrontation to Conversation
I recently became aware of a report released by the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury discussing the barriers that exist in regards to a peaceful co-existence between motorists and cyclists. Here's the complete document.
I believe that many of the recommendations in the report can be applied here in Atlanta as well. I hope ABC can find a way to get a copy to our local elected officials.
Here's a summary for you of the portions I think hold true in metro Atlanta:
"Education can bridge the mistrust, misunderstanding, and misperception motorists and cyclists have of each other, and shift toward a more unified cultural perspective and coexistence on the streets. Safety and mutual respect are key topics to address, and can be delivered in a positive fashion through a broad range of media formats.
Enforcement of traffic codes is seen by most advocates of cycling as absolutely essential to raise the level of safety and thereby encourage more travelers to opt for bicycle use. The Police have a critical role to play, as their experience and leadership enable them to target enforcement of the violations which most impact predictability and/or render the most severe consequences.
Equity, defined as perceived fairness, is essential to the successful formation of bicycle policy on a citywide basis in a densely populated urban area."
I especially like the idea of a "negative registration" process which could capture the names and other pertinent data about cyclists who are ticketed by Police for moving or equipment violations or otherwise involved in traffic accidents where the cyclist is cited at fault. The cyclist should be required to appear at a "bicycle court" where prescribed safety education would be required.
The format of the court, including a cycle-friendly venue such as a ride-up location, and an educational curriculum should be provided through collaboration among Police bicycle officers, the Bicycle Coalition and other cycling advocates. Notices to Appear, if ignored, should be pursued through Police and the courts. A nominal fee raised through "negative registration" to reduce resentment would most likely not be a deterrent to cycling.
There is potential for perceived equity and fairness. The data collected should contribute to the Chief of Police's goal of relevant community safety and law enforcement statistics. A database is established, fees are generated, and equity is addressed. (Page 25 of the report)
It also brought up some good points in regards to licensing of bicycles. While they recognize it as a tool for theft prevention and recovery, and funding for bike programs, they also point out that the revenue generated would not cover the costs of administering the program (based on California law limiting the costs of the license.) Not sure if license cost issues would pertain to Atlanta and Georgia as a whole.
Anyway, I invite all cyclists to read the report. I think there is a lot that can be learned and applied to cycling here in Atlanta.