LAW AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL POLICY 
Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 03:59 PM
Posted by Administrator
After a woman on a bicycle yelled at me in Ghent (Belgium) as I made a wide turn into a narrow garage in the middle of a hundred year old street, the man from the Bed&Breakfast, who had shown me the way, told me I had done nothing wrong. "It's the Greens", he said. The Green political party was running Ghent now and bicyclists could do no wrong. They were, he said, promoting the use of bicycles and legislating in favor of bicycles over cars was a way of doing this....for instance: giving bicycles the right of way over pedestrians and cars, turning car parking spots into bike racks, letting bicyclists ignore traffic rules.

Leo, the bartender at the hotel we stayed at in Amsterdam, had told my wife the same thing "Bicyclists are always right.", he said. This was in response to her observation that Amsterdam bicycles would fly right at you, middle of the night, headlight off and think that you would jump out of their way instead of feeling obliged to veer around you, say "could you please give me some space", or slow down to make the passing less treacherous.

Bicycles (the most efficient form of transportation) produce no exhaust, take very little space, don't require new roadways or infrastructure, take the burden off of public transportation, keep people fit, require little maintenance, and blast the rider around small cities faster than a speeding cab. They are the epitome of green (which is, I guess, what the Green party is shooting for). So, I understand why "bicycles are always right", but, on the other hand, getting hit by 200 pounds of metal, rubber and flesh (bike and rider) at 20mph (30kph...since we're in Europe) is enough to kill an old man and knock the crap out of anyone else.

....and I'm not sure Belgians and Dutch can sue.

Though, if Leo and the man from the B&B are right.....bicyclists are always right and there is nothing to sue about.



To be continued.
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