All the things I would fix with new laws

The idea that what was good for Ford was good for America, influenced law makers for decades. Now we know bikes are good for cities, it’s time we made laws that are good for Gazelle, Giant, Trek, and the rest. In preparedness for the day when the Bicycling Party, led by me, is in charge of this nation, I am making a list of every nagging little thing upon which my wrath shall descend.

moses

  • Dogs at large.
  • Mandatory bike helmet laws.
  • No strict liability laws protecting riders from drivers.
  • Left over space within buildings not being given to bicycle parking.
  • Authorities closing bike paths entirely to undertake roadworks, when half closures would have been fine.
  • No technical measures to prevent drivers using their phones.
  • Car parking in cities.
  • Authorities consulting bike users instead of surveying the general public to find out what people want from bike infrastructure.
  • Bike racks positioned where thieves can assume the owner wouldn’t be looking.
  • Retractible dog leads.
  • Alcohol sold in glass bottles.
  • Car airbags and seat-belts.
  • Urban speed limits above 30kph.
  • Rural speed limits above 50kph.
  • Hate speech against cyclists as an identifiable group.
  • Victim blaming—especially by other cyclists—when a cyclist is hurt.
  • Laws banning cycling on footpaths.
  • Car doors hinged on the leading edge.
  • Bikes not being allowed anywhere a wheelchair or pram can be taken.
  • Bike paths without rain protection.
  • Lifts that won’t fit a bike.
  • Door-zone bike lanes.
  • The bicycle industry not funding research.
  • Bike mechanics who are not au fait with generator lights or hub gears
  • Wearing headphones while walking.
  • Drivers not paying rent by the second for the land occupied by their car’s footprint and braking distance.
  • All taxes on cycling equipment and services.

What have I missed?

About Steven

I'm on a mission to put cycling on the agendas of architects, urban designers and fellow academics, who see the potential for bicycles to change cities and buildings. My PhD is in architectural history and my interdisciplinary research spans art theory, philosophy and cultural studies. I teach architectural history and theory and design studio at The University of Tasmania, Australia, and formerly worked as an architect designing large public housing projects in Singapore. My favourite bikes are a titanium racing bike I use for racing, a Velorbis retro commuter for riding to cafes and work, a single speed ultra light Brompton that I take with me when I travel on planes, a 29er hard tail mountain bike that I get lost on in remote places, an old track bike that scares me, a 1984 Colnago Super with all original campagnolo components that is plugged into a virtual realm that I train in, and a Dutch-made Bakfiets, that could easily replace half of the bikes I just mentioned.
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11 Responses to All the things I would fix with new laws

  1. Luke says:

    Signs saying “Bicycles attached to these railings will be removed”. Maybe a British thing.

    “Experienced” cyclists moaning about people on Boris bikes (that’s the London hire bikes)

    Better stop now. Invitations to express dislikes can be dangerous…

    • Steven says:

      you’re among friends here Luke. I swear, this blog rarely gets more than 2 hits per day, one from you and the other from Edward. So what’s on your mind?

  2. Edward says:

    And OHS laws that prevent decent bike parking close to the entrances of destinations.

    • Wayne says:

      Edward, if you are in Australia you won’t find any reference to bicycles, or where you can park them, in OHS legislation. Whenever you see OHS legislation used as an excuse for not allowing something, challenge it

  3. petermc says:

    and P-plated cars without fixed windows

  4. Just says:

    What about -perhaps- some other messages that get sent by our road infrastructure: e.g. wide-radiused corner kerbs, allowing motor traffic to keep its momentum, while doubling the width of the road for pedestrians to cross; straight, wide, smooth-tarmac-covered street (inviting for 80kph) then signposted 50 kph.

  5. Hard says:

    Traffic lights that take more than 60 seconds before they change to allow bicycles or pedestrians to cross traffic to cross, any traffic lights where cyclists have to push a button to activate them

  6. Asinico says:

    Good list. I don’t understand the rain-protected bike path thing. Isn’t that a bit…dainty?

    I would add road-sanding policies that aggressively endanger cyclists, for like, 6 months of the year here, all to coddle drivers who won’t take responsibility for their own traction, which I would think would be the single most fundamantal and important requirement of any road user. I say use adequate traction at all times or first offense a thousand dollars, second offense you lose your car, but the city gives you a bike.

    • Steven says:

      Nice one! Is road sanding something for snow?
      I see covered bike highways as necessary to encourage people to ride slightly further. In the netherlands, people will ride 4km to the train station, which becomes a bike parking bottleneck, rather than riding 10 or 15km all the way to their destinations. Covering cyclists, the way we cover train users and drivers, would fix that. If you can read Dutch: http://cycle-space.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/trouw-23-11-2012.pdf

  7. howardbollixterAsinico says:

    There’s an old, old story about a sailor who decided to put an oar over his shoulder and start walking inland til somebody said “What’s that thing?”, and that would be a place he wanted to live. I have thought the same thing about road sanding, to find a place where it wasn’t known, and hey, sounds like yours is the place! One of the joys of a colder clime, road sand is indeed for snow, or more precisely compact snow and/or ice. They put it down from October to April here, even though the icy periods may only cover a small portion of the winter, intermittently. It then drifts and accumulates on road shoulders, bike lanes, curves and intersections, and doesn’t get picked up again til early summer, by vacuum trucks. Fun times! A constant cycling hazard, and quite the inefficient and expensive ‘solution’ to traction.

    • Steven says:

      well let me know what I can do to smooth your big move to Australia. Tasmania, where I live, is the coldest part, with snow on the surrounding mountains, but none in the towns.

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