Open thread: Should dangerous bike riders be treated like dangerous drivers?

Cyclist cited for riding the wrong way in DTLA

We’ve heard it all before.

Drivers complain about dangerous bike riders, as if they faced the same risk from bicyclists as cyclists face from motor vehicles. And pedestrians complain about riders needlessly risking their lives as they navigate the periphery of city streets.

Problem is, they may have a point.

It’s not uncommon for cars skid to a stop as a bike rider blows through a crowded intersection regardless of traffic signals or right-of-way. Or for pedestrians to jump out of the way of a speeding bike in a hellbent race through crosswalks and along sidewalks.

I’ve seen both far too many times to count.

And while motorists usually risk little more than some insurance-paid bodywork, pedestrians and cyclists can both face serious injury, or rarely, death, in a collision between the two, regardless of who is at fault.

That was driven home by the recent conviction of San Francisco cyclist Chris Bucchere, who took the life of a pedestrian in a crosswalk in an alleged high-speed, red-light running tear through the bayside city. Yet Bucchere got off with a sentence of community service, something that would have made many bike riders livid if it had been a similar scofflaw motorist who killed a bike rider.

Myself included.

I’ve written about Bucchere’s sentence here. And KPCC’s Larry Mantle recently devoted a segment to discussing the case on his AirTalk program.

So what do you think?

Are overly aggressive bike riders really a problem?

And should they — we — be held to the same legal standards as motorists, who have far more potential to do deadly damage?

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