My personal plea for legislative change
It was October 20th, 2013 and I was in a wonderful post-brunch stupor. My partner and I rode in file down San Pablo, just out of the door zone when a person I’ve fondly nicknamed the Mazda Maniac went into a testosterone- and ignorance-induced rage. After yelling and honking at us he zoom-zoomed past, only to ultimately come to a halt at the red light 50 yards ahead of us. I filtered up between the stopped cars, stopped just next to his car and glared, which I realized may have been too antagonist when Mazda Maniac stepped out of his car and doubled me in size. He threw me against another car and to the ground. The police arrived and took down our reports. No arrests were made by the police. Two months later, the case has been either dropped, or buried in the District Attorney’s infinite pile of paperwork.
Stories like mine are all too common in California. If the incident occurred in Berkeley, 25 blocks farther north on San Pablo, the officers would have dealt with the situation completely differently, and the Mazda Maniac would have been given an immediate fine because of Berkeley’s anti-harassment ordinance. Around the state, municipalities like Menlo Park, Sonoma county, and Los Angeles are legislating with the growing demographic of car-lite users in mind. A few states like Utah and Oregon have even passed Vulnerable Road User laws. Don’t you think it’s time for your legislators to catch up?
The above photo was taken on a bike trip in the Netherlands. We rode from Rotterdam to The Kurhaus Hotel on a few paths completely separate from car traffic. Completely stress-free. No wonder the Netherlands has such a high bicycle mode share. Unfortunately paths like the one pictured above are too rare in California – in part due to CalTran’s outdated regulations. It’s time for us to catch up in the global revolution of bikeway designs, and encourage more livable communities for all.