It wasn’t that long ago that a woman was just as likely to be blamed as the man who attacked her.
All too often, a woman would report a sexual assault, only to be asked why she was out that late or what she was doing in a place like that. And if a case overcame the odds and made it to court, a judge or jury might conclude that her short skirt or tight top meant that she was asking for it.
Or if a woman was the victim of domestic violence, she was likely to encounter an attitude that she was the one to blame because she shouldn’t have made her husband or boyfriend that mad to begin with.
Fortunately, times have changed. That sort of attitude went out with the onset of the women’s movement, when it slowly dawned on society that a woman had a right to say no or stand up for herself. And that we all need to be held accountable for our own actions, regardless of what anyone else does or doesn’t do.
Except, it seems, when it comes to sharing our streets.
The last socially acceptable vestige of that blame-the-victim attitude is firmly on display whenever the subject turns to bicycling and a riders’ right to the road — and the wisdom of putting our wheels on the asphalt some motorists claim as their exclusive domain.
Consider the L.A. Time’s recent Talk Back L.A. post asking for comments on the proposed anti-harassment ordinance, for instance.
By now, we’ve become accustomed to attitudes like this one that merely express a misguided hatred for anyone who moves on two wheels.
EVERY single person i know hates bicyclists. Your cute little mass protest rides have pissed off a lot of people. Your very existence on busy, clogged streets is an annoyance. Learn to drive or bust a gut-check and pay for gas like the rest of us.
No, the problem comes from those who absolve themselves of any responsibility for their own actions. It’s the cyclists’ fault for being where we shouldn’t be, in the eyes of the outraged and inconvenienced drivers.
ban all bicycles from main roads and their riders won’t get hurt or killed. they can’t keep up with traffic and provide no passenger protection. automobile drivers have enough to worry about when on the road, traffic rules, stop lights, pedestrians and now we have to watch over these cry babies who think they are special, really.
Yes, drivers have enough to worry about without watching out for other traffic on the road. And there’s certainly no need to acknowledge that a car or truck is a dangerous machine and must be operated carefully.
It’s just those two-wheeled crybabies who think they’re special, and insist on using the roads as if the law said they could.
Which it does, of course.
If you ride a bicycle on the street, you’re taking your life in your own hands. Bikes are too slow, too hard to see and take up space in the lane preventing cars from driving around them.
It’s the cyclists, they insist, who are risking their own lives; it’s not the drivers’ responsibility to look for them or pass safely. So if you hit one, it’s really his or her fault, not the fault of the careless, distracted or overly aggressive person behind the wheel.
On a busy 8 lane (8 lane!) street I had a bicyclist pull up in between my truck and another car at the stoplight at one of the busiest intersections in the city like he was on a motorcycle or something. Ridiculous. Just an accident waiting to happen. He perfectly could’ve use the available bike lane and cross walk. But no, he uses a major throughfare as his preferred route of transportation. And guess who’s fault it is when they get hit?
Honestly, the nerve. A cyclist riding on the street like it was a safe, legal and reasonable thing to do. Which it is — or at least, should be.
Then there are others who make the connection more directly.
Rather than a new law, enforce the current laws, laws that bicyclists are supposed to follow. If they drove as they are supposed to drive, harassment would become a non-issue.
From their perspective, drivers are entitled to harass cyclists because cyclists break the law, or at least they’re not acting unreasonably if they do. Never mind that, despite what some people seem to think, a drivers license does not authorize vigilante enforcement of traffic laws.
I had to hit her, your honor. She made me so mad, I just couldn’t help myself.
Then again, there are some who bend over backwards to blame the victims.
This conviction (of Dr. Christopher Thompson) was total B.S. The doctor DID NOT hit the bicyclists. They ran into the BACK of the doctor’s car. The bicyclist that went thru the car’s back window was going 40 mph at the time. Why was he going so fast? Because he was CHASING the doctor’s car.
Even when a motorist is clearly breaking the law, it’s never the law-breaking driver who’s to blame — as in this heartless comment about the death of cyclist James Laing in Agoura Hills last month.
You have no idea what you are talking about, but that doesn’t stop you from hollering with your righteous indignation.
Don’t want to get killed? Then stay off the streets, there are PLENTY of parks with bike paths. Insist on your “right” to participate in inherently dangerous behavior, then expect there to be tragedies like this.
No, it couldn’t be the fault of the driver who got behind the wheel after drinking and ran down a cyclist riding on a wide road in a well-marked bike lane. It’s the fault of the cyclist for simply for being on the road.
Or just being born, perhaps.
And it’s not just Los Angeles. And not just anonymous motorists.
A father who tragically lost his daughter in a cycling collision concludes, not that the driver who took his daughter’s life should have been more careful, but that bikes don’t belong on the street.
When are people going to realize bicycles and cars don’t mix? I have had horrible days driving along Highway 1 in Marin County, where the bikers are so thick that they force cars to pass on the opposite side of the road — in many cases on blind curves. We need some strict laws that restrict bicycles to roads specifically designed with bike lanes. How about a registration and helmet requirement to ride on streets and highways? Anything else should be illegal and subject to a citation. How many more people need to die before something is done?
Never mind that the law clearly prohibits passing on blind curves, or that it only takes a few extra seconds to pass safely in most cases.
The fact is, it’s not easy to have a collision.
It requires one or more people violating the law or using the road carelessly; if everyone drove and rode carefully, paying close attention to the traffic and circumstances around them, while observing the law, it would be virtually impossible to have a collision. And wrecks, whether between motor vehicles, bikes, pedestrians or any combination thereof, would become so rare that a simple fender bender would be front page news.
Because most accidents aren’t accidents.
But even the newly elected mayor of Toronto says it’s cyclists’ own fault if they get killed — whether or not they’re riding in a traffic lane.
What I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks, and sooner or later you’re going to get bitten. And no wonder, roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. And my heart bleeds for them when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.
No need for drivers to be careful.
No need to slow down or put down that cell phone, watch the road or take alternative transportation if you’ve been drinking. It’s not your fault, really.
It’s those darn cyclists who just don’t belong on the road.
They made me do it.
In a truly astounding example of a driver refusing to take responsibility for his actions, a convicted drunk driver sues the parents of the bike riding boy he killed for allowing him to ride without a helmet — even though no helmet on earth would protect against a car moving at 83 mph in a 45 mph zone.
And in case you ever wondered just what a harassing driver looks like, they seem to look kind of sheepish when they get caught.
In a horrific weekend for New Zealand cyclists, two men are killed and a woman critically injured in a collision that left a bike embedded in the side of a car, and another woman killed by a car during a training ride, leading a cycling organization to call for urgent action; meanwhile, a Christchurch cyclist is seriously injured after colliding with a pole.
Herbie says Google responded very quickly to a suggested change for a more appropriate riding route. The paparazzi catch Gwen Stefani teaching her son to ride with training wheels in West Hollywood. Bike lanes are coming to Valencia exactly where they’re not needed most. A Corona del Mar cyclist traces his route to bike advocate. A biking and baseball literary doping doubleheader can be yours for just $5. It’s your bike, ride it the way it feels right to you. Orem, Utah plans to become more bike and pedestrian friendly. Hats and scarves for cold weather riding. Police reports are often wrong. Yet another case of a cyclist suddenly materializing out of nowhere. As Witch on a Bicycle aptly put it, one zero-emissions vehicle collides with another. Evidently, L.A. isn’t the only city where the roads are falling apart. Sometimes, a sacrifice to the biking gods may be in order. Ivan Basso wants his first bike back. Italian police raid the home of Lance Armstrong teammate Yaroslav Popovych.
Finally, a tongue-in-cheek study shows that electric cars take up as much space as the gas-driven ones.