Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"Share the Road" Signs Taken On By Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas
Ohio Bike Lawyer Steve Magas, on the other hand, lays the legal smack down on the concept of Share the Road. Magas, you may remember, is the lawyer who got the positive judgment in the Trotwood vs. Selz case that led to the great bike law reforms that we're enjoying now in the State of Ohio.
Let's take a look at bike law, for starters. No, let's not.
Let's go back to vehicle law. A bicycle is a vehicle. And as a vehicle, it is subject to the same rights and responsibilities as any vehicle on the road. Read that again - rights and responsibilities. And one of those rights is the right of way. Bikes have the right of way when they're traveling on the road, just like any other vehicle does - they have a right to that section of the road that they're currently taking up.
And the reason for this? The law doesn't tell a car or a bike that they have to obey the law, it tells a person - the driver. So the right of way belongs to a person - not a vehicle. If there was no right of way for people, then pedestrians couldn't be assumed to have a right of way, right?
So there's no need to tell anyone to Share the Road. Cyclists have the same rights to that section of the road that cars do - period. And the language of Share the Road is so ambiguous to be scary. For cyclists, it's telling motorists to share the road with them. But to motorists, it's telling cyclists to move over and quit hogging the road - even though cyclists have the right to it.
As Columbus continues to invest in "Share the Road" signs and thinks that it's doing all of us cyclists a big favor to improve things, perhaps they need to step back and look at what those signs are really saying.
People, not speed.