Driver: “Is It Okay If I Kill That Cyclist?”

By Ben Christopher : sfweekly – excerpt

“So if I’m driving down Divisadero,” she said, setting the scene from her previous afternoon, “And there’s a bicyclist pedaling in front of me, and she’s going really slowly along the entire length of the street, and there’s a line of cars forming behind me, and there’s traffic speeding by to our left, and the bicyclist has planted herself in the middle of the lane, and there’s a perfectly good bike lane just a few blocks over — it still my fault if I accidentally run her over?”
I like to think of myself as a fair-minded person and, in any event, I am conflict-averse above all. So, after careful consideration, I responded to her question as dispassionately as possible, with one of my own:
“Do you mean, legally or morally?”
The answer to both questions is pretty straightforward: Yep, it’s the driver’s fault…
It is possible to acknowledge and appreciate a legal right without exercising it thoughtlessly.
Obviously, I don’t know the cyclist who was slowing down my coworker. Maybe she had a perfectly good reason to be moseying down the full length of one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city. But given that she had the alternative of a quieter street with a bike path within a few blocks ride and given that there was a line of cars cropping up behind her waiting to get by, I will join my coworker in pronouncing that choice to be both absolutely within a cyclist’s legal rights and kind of a dick move… (more)

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