The Bias Involved in Evaluating Bicycle Accidents
In America alone, more than 250 million cars and trucks hit the road every day to get to work, make deliveries, head for vacation, and run daily errands. Compare that number to the roughly 800,000 bicycle commuters, which make up only 62 percent of all commutes made each day. Despite growth in past years, bicycle commuters are undoubtedly the minority of the commuting world, and they are often treated as such.
When a bicyclist is involved in an accident, it’s not uncommon for law enforcement agents to quickly jump to the defense of the automobile, since the majority of police are car drivers themselves. Most of us look at the world through that perspective, failing to consider how difficult it is to navigate through a city or town on bike when bicycle accommodations are only in their beginning stages.
Police Fail to Respond With Equality
It was Valentine’s Day in San Francisco when couple Ian Long and Johanna Weaver were cycling home from a romantic dinner and ended up with an angry driver behind them. Though Long and Weaver were using the correct legal lane for their bikes, the driver responded with uncontained rage, first swerving around them and then finally shooting in front of the cyclists to cut them off. As a result, Long injured his hands as his bike flew into the car in front of him.
When the police arrived, they refused to take a statement from Long and only recorded the driver’s tainted version of the story. Eyewitnesses even stepped up to corroborate long’s story, but the police would not take their names or accounts of the incident. The police then left the scene after claiming they just needed to move their cruisers, and the police chief simply defended the cops’ actions when complaints were filed.
This story is hardly the only of its kind, and raises an important point about cyclists who have been injured: they have the right to pursue legal action against this blatant prejudice and collect compensation for the injustice they endured.
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