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One must be careful when talking about classifying a bicycle as a vehicle. This
will only lead to licensing, registration and yearly inspection (lights, horn,
etc.). I'm not putting that "stuff" on my bike, and I'm not paying the state any
more money than I already do or putting up with  any more stupid rules.

Dale Critchlow wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion
>               <[log in to unmask]>
> Poster:       Dale Critchlow <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject:      Re: Bike safety
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Justin: You are right on in your comments below! Definitely, cyclists need
> at least the rights of the manure spreader which you mention.
>
> The rights and responibilities of drivers (including farm tractor
> operators) with respect to other vehicles is already well defined including
> penalities for not obeying the laws. The problem in VT is that the bicycle
> is not classifed as a vehicle and doesn't have these rights and protections.
>
> As I understand the battle for cycling rights over the last 30 years, the
> goal is to get the bicycle classified in the law as a vehicle.  Then the
> law enforcement would have the means to penalize law breakers. In addition,
> it would be much easier to educate the general public about the rights of
> cyclists if the rights were well defined.
>
> As long as a bicycle is considered to be a child's toy, as you noted, it is
> very difficult to establish rights, penalties, etc. Vermont is in the dark
> ages in this area.
>
> Dale Critchlow
>
> At 06:04 AM 9/3/99 -0400, you wrote:
>
> Too many of our cycling laws are still written with
> the antiquated perception that only children ride bicycles.
>
> I agree to some extent that "we need to adjust our
> actions to fit the world".  However, if that had been the prevailing mood
> in our country in 1775, today we'd be singing "God Save the Queen", instead
> of "The Star-
> Spangled Banner".
>
> And speaking of the U.S, it's not just the world that is the problem.
>
> I've had friends who've raced in Europe, and all were
> impressed by the courtesy with which cyclists are
> treated on the road there, relative to the U.S.  My own
> experience in Quebec has been similar, and I'd be
> interested in other peoples' input on this.
>
> Are American motorists the least "cycle conscious"?
>
> Or does the typical American driver believe that
> their rights are being infringed by the necessity of
> slowing down or passing?
>
> Some motorists have  a pavlovian reaction to a cyclist, no matter how fast
> the cyclist is going.  On several occasions in this year alone, I have been
> passed on a fast descent, only to have the driver put on the brakes
> immediately after getting by me.
>
> "Pass the cyclist" seems to override the more sane
> perception of "there's a turn coming, so be careful".
>
> The fact that a motorist can strike a bicyclist who
> has the right of way, then get off without so much
> as a ticket, borders on the absurd.  What if the victim
> had been a pedestrian?
>
> Cyclists should have the same rights on the road as a
> manure spreader, even though we tend to go faster
> and be easier to pass.  Some of the reasons we're
> at risk are:
> *  We're not as big as the other guy
> *  We're less visible
> *  The other guy may be conditioned not to see us, as John says
> *  The other guy may be careless (or drunk)
> *  The other guy may not be conscious of the cyclist's speed
> *  The other guy may be in a hurry
> *  The other guy may be a bully
> It's time for cycling laws to focus more on the
> responsibility of "the other guy".  Cyclists pay taxes
> too, and our rights on the road should reflect this.
>
> I also believe that cyclists should be ticketed for breaking the law, even
> if it means more interval training for two-wheel cops.
>
> Good ride last night, Tom!
>
> Justin
>
> ****************************************************************************
> Dale L. Critchlow                               802-656-2537
> Research Professor                              FAX-656-3358
> 317 Votey Building                              [log in to unmask]
> ECE Dept.
> University of Vermont
> Burlington, VT 05405-0156