Let's (Not) Avoid The Real Issues


Let’s (Not) Avoid the Real Issues

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

By Editor on January 8, 2014 in News

Letter to the Editor, by Bob Mionske

RE: “Santa Barbara cyclists have gone collectively insane.

That was the conclusion readers of the Santa Barbara View were invited to reach, based on anecdotes involving exactly two cyclists. Do you see the logic? If two cyclists were doing something wrong, that must mean that all cyclists—at least in Santa Barbara—are collectively insane.

And since all cyclists have gone collectively insane, we can just ignore all of the cyclists who were riding lawfully on the same day that these two riders were behaving badly. If two cyclists were not riding lawfully. all cyclists are collectively guilty, all are “collectively insane.” Even the ones who were riding lawfully and courteously that day, and every day. Tar them all with the same brush, and let God sort them out.

By the same token, we can also ignore all of the drivers who were breaking the law that day. Speeding? Why that’s a driver’s sacred right, isn’t it? Sure, it’s the number one cause of traffic “accidents,” and virtually every driver does it, but why quibble over that, when we have far, far bigger fish to fry, like one irresponsible guy who was speeding on a bike?

Why point out that virtually every driver rolls through stop signs—the world-famous “California stop”—with a little “pretend-to-stop” tap on the brakes if they can be bothered, when we can look down our noses at a cyclist who wasn’t wearing a helmet? Sure, helmets are not required, and aren’t even designed to provide protection for collisions with cars. But if we don’t blame cyclists for not wearing a helmet, we might have to look at the real cause of cyclist injuries and fatalities, and we wouldn’t want to open that Pandora’s box. Just like we wouldn’t want to require drivers to wear helmets, even though head injuries are much more common for drivers than they are for cyclists.

What about drivers violating a cyclist’s right of way? No, we don’t want to talk about that either, even though it’s the most common cause of bicycle collisions, and has happened to every cyclist out there. Instead, let’s complain about the “cycling hell” of somebody getting some exercise once a month. Let‘s complain that some cyclist was wearing—Shock! Horrors!—cycling clothes while riding his bike.

And while we’re studiously avoiding the real issues, why not make up some imaginary laws that victimize drivers while we’re at it? In all my years of handling bicycle injury cases, I have never once seen a driver cited for hitting an at-fault cyclist. Nor has anybody else ever seen such a preposterous injustice. In fact, in the real world, it is all-too-common for an at-fault driver to face no charges after injuring, or even killing a cyclist. And when drivers are cited for carelessly causing serious injury or death, it is almost always on a minor traffic violation, like “failure to yield.” If you were killed by a careless driver who got the kid glove treatment afterwards, would you feel like drivers are the victims here? Would your bereaved family feel that way?

But let’s ignore that reality, for the convenient fiction of a make-believe world where drivers are all scrupulously law-abiding victims of insane cyclists run amok, rather than the often careless law-breakers of the real world, who injure some 50,000 cyclists and kill some 700 cyclists annually.

That way, we won’t have to deal with the real issues.

——————-

Bob Mionske is the author of Bicycling & the Law, and writes a monthly column on bicycle law for Bicycling magazine. A former U.S. Olympic and pro cyclist who was on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team with Dave Lettieri, owner of FasTrack Bicycles in Santa Barbara, Bob has since become a nationally-known cycling lawyer and advocate for the rights of cyclists at bikelaw.com
 

Cyclists say there's a pro-motorist bias when tragedy strikes

Bangor Daily News: Cyclists say there’s a pro-motorist bias when tragedy strikes

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

By Abigail Curtis, BDN Staff
Posted June 25, 2013
 

BELFAST, Maine — Two weeks ago on a stretch of U.S. Route 2 that runs through the tiny western Maine community of Hanover, tragedy struck.

A cyclist in the annual Trek Across Maine charity ride was killed when he lost control of his bike as a tractor-trailer passed him. So far, the driver of the truck has not been charged by police in connection with the accident. But other cyclists, many in Maine and others from as far away as Oregon, said they believe that the way Maine law enforcement officers handled the death of David LeClair shows a pro-motorist bias.

“Essentially, the police are motorists. They’re not cyclists. The motorists come up with a version of the events that put the blame on the cyclist who’s not there to defend themselves,” said Bob Mionske of Portland, Ore., a former professional cyclist and attorney specializing in bicycle law. “Who’s to say any different?”

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Are Portland bicyclists showing signs of an unfortunate new trend?

 This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The Oregonian: Are Portland bicyclists showing signs of an unfortunate new trend?



This bicyclist pretty much had the eastbound walkway of the Hawthorne Bridge all to himself one night earlier this year. But a Portland attorney says that when things get crowded, bicyclists are beginning to lose patience with each other and fights sometimes erupt. (John Killen/The Oregonian)

Dana Tims, The Oregonian By Dana Tims, The Oregonian

June 13, 2013

As both a cyclist and an attorney who specializes in cycling-related cases, Portland's Bob Mionske knows a good deal about road rage incidents pitting motorists against bicycle riders.

But for whatever reason -- warmer weather? More people taking to two wheels to get around? -- Mionske is seeing an ugly new wrinkle this year, played out through what he says are increasing numbers of instances where two angry, fist-clenched bicyclists are facing off in the Rose City.

"I have so many friends who are suddenly regaling me with stories of fights on bikes," Mionske said. "Someone is riding along, someone else flies by them in an unfriendly way, words are exchanged and just like that, people are threatening each other with fisticuffs."

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Why Big Oil May Be Afraid of Bicycles

Treehugger: Why Big Oil May Be Afraid of Bicycles

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

A.K. Streeter
Transportation / Bikes
February 15, 2012

By now you must have read somewhere in the blogosphere that the Transportation Bill (officially The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, or H.R. 7) being shepherded by chair of the House Transportation Committee John Mica (R-FL), is considered a distaster for active transportation. The bill has been called a variety of bad names, including "horrible" by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, "troubling" by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, and "a bill only Big Oil could love," by Streetsblog.

Bob Mionske, the bicycle lawyer who writes frequently on cycling policy and legislation, details exactly why H.R. 7 is so horrible for cyclists, as well as for pedestrians and transit users.

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Drunk cycling: Is Denver's new bike DUI policy harsher than rules in other states?

This news article featuring Bob Mionske and Rick Bernardi has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

Westword: Drunk cycling: Is Denver's new bike DUI policy harsher than rules in other states?

By Sam Levin Tue., Nov. 27 2012

 Yesterday, we reported that Denver Police are now enforcing state drunk-cycling laws -- meaning intoxicated cyclists can be charged with DUIs just like inebriated drivers. Some cycling advocates question whether this is good public policy -- and a look at parallel laws around the country shows that Denver's approach is harsher than some other states' enforcement rules.

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Stay Safe, Cyclists

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge:  Stay Safe, Cyclists

Story by Joe Silva

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past few weeks with regards to cycling it’s that no one is immune to the dangers of riding out on the roads. Several recent high-profile wrecks have once again brought home the reality that even the most capable and experienced bike riders are subject to the hazards of traffic. In early November Team Sky rider Bradley Wiggins was toppled by a van during a training ride. The Olympic champ and 2012 Tour de France champion was described by witnesses at the scene to be in severe pain as he waited for an ambulance to whisk him off to a hospital. Not long after the team’s coach Shane Sutton was also the victim of a run in with a motorist that was far more serious. Wiggins suffered a rib fracture and a dislocated finger, but Sutton was treated for bleeding on the brain and memory loss. And proving the axiom that bad things come in threes, Wiggins former teammate Mark Cavendish “slammed” into the back of a car that hit its brakes suddenly while the Manx speedster was out training. Luckily, Cav sustained only a bruised arm in the incident.

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Cameras Act as Black Boxes When Cars and Cyclists Collide

This news article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The New York Times: Cameras Act as ‘Black Boxes’ When Cars and Cyclists Collide

By NICK WINGFIELD
Published: July 20, 2012

WASHINGTON — When Evan Wilder went flying onto the pavement during his bicycle commute one morning here, he didn’t have time to notice the license plate of the blue pickup truck that had sideswiped him after its driver hurled a curse at him. Nor did a witness driving another car.

But the video camera Mr. Wilder had strapped to his head caught the whole episode. After watching a recording of the incident later, Mr. Wilder gave the license plate number to the police and a suspect was eventually charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

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Do Passing Distance Laws Really Protect Cyclists?

This article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our media archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

The Atlantic Cities: Do Passing Distance Laws Really Protect Cyclists?

ANDREW ZALESKI

Cyclists in the Keystone State have reason to rejoice. In April, a new safe-passing law went into effect requiring that drivers leave a berth of at least four feet between their vehicles and road-bound bicycles. The law makes Pennsylvania one of 20 states with similar bicycle-passing requirements, a cause célèbre for biking advocates.

Most require drivers to stay at least three feet from bikers. Still, an important central question remains: do these laws make travel safer for cyclists, or are they hollow gestures that, when enacted, are easily ignored?

"A lot of times, people don’t realize that cyclists have a legal right to the road," says Bob Mionske, U.S. Olympic cyclist-turned-cycling lawyer and the founder of BicycleLaw.com.

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Coexisting With Drivers: 10 Rules for Bicyclists

 

This article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our media archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

Edmunds: Coexisting With Drivers: 10 Rules for Bicyclists

Cyclists Have Road Rights — and Responsibilities

Published: 03/01/2012 - by Kathleen Doheny, Contributor

Bicyclists may feel they don't have a fighting chance on the road, much less any friends riding in 4-ton steel cabins atop four wheels. Media reports tend to dwell on unpleasantries between motorists and bicyclists, notably road rage incidents. Nevertheless, safety experts say, it is possible for bicyclists and drivers to peacefully coexist.

We have a set of tips for drivers. But Edmunds.com also asked safety experts — a bicycling advocate, bicycling-accident attorneys and a representative from the National Motorists Association — to give us their best tips for what bicyclists can do both to keep the peace with motorists and enjoy their rides.

Here, then, are the 10 best rules of the road for bicycling near cars.

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American Trailblazer Bob Mionske

This article featuring Bob Mionske has been reproduced here for our media archives. To access the original article, follow the link.

PEZ Talk: American Trailblazer Bob Mionske

Monday, February 20, 2012

by Edmond Hood

The Olympic road race, Seoul – the year is 1988 and it’s the first big East/West Olympic showdown since the Montreal Games 12 years before. East German Olaf Ludwig restored Eastern honour in Seoul, with West Germans Bernd Grone and Christian Henn taking the other two medals; legendary Soviet sprinter Djamolidine Abdoujaparov took fifth. But in fourth place was an ex-skier who’d only been riding a bike for four years, who says he couldn’t ride GC, couldn’t time trial and in his own words, was ‘built like a wrestler’ – Bob Mionske

Moscow in 1980 saw the US boycott the Olympics as a result of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And for Los Angeles in ‘84 the Eastern bloc had to boycott – naturally. Soviet legend Sergei Soukhoroutchenkov won in Moscow, but that was no surprise; Soukho had won the Russian road race championship held on the same course some weeks earlier – but over one lap more than the Olympic race. That enigmatic man Alexei Grewal won in LA for the USA to even the score.

Mionske was a contemporary and rival of riders like Lance Armstrong, Bobby Julich, Chann McRae, George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton; they went on to careers in the highest echelons of European road sport whilst Mionske became the USA’s first ‘cycling attorney' - as he puts it; 'I had only cyclists, other attorneys represented cyclists in their practice but none, to my knowledge had only rider clients.'

He recently took time to talk to PEZ about his life and times.

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