- - Tuesday, September 23, 2014


With the senseless killing of a mother walking through Central Park last week by a madman on a bicycle, it is high time that society take a hard look at what is sure to be a thorny issue: Is it finally time to ban bikes once and for all?

Every year, bicycles maim, maul and kill countless innocent people, often children.

Hundreds of bikers are killed in collisions with automobiles every year, according to government statistics, and 100,000 more are injured. The National Safety Council puts the annual price tag of these accidents at some $4 billion — and that’s before you and me have to start paying for all these people’s Obamacare.

Tragically, the rates of death and injury are even higher among Hispanics, according to the government, especially those newly arrived who do not speak English and, for some reason, cannot obtain legal drivers licenses.

These harrowing figures do not include horrific accidents like the one that left Jill Tarlov brain dead in Central Park while shopping for a birthday present for her daughter.

Speed demon bicyclist Jason Marshall described the bike-on-pedestrian collision as “an unavoidable accident.”

Yes, unavoidable if you are whistling along at a murderer’s clip in the wrong lane riding a racing bike with triathlon-style “aerobars” described in local press accounts as “brakeless.” Yes, in that case, it is probably safe to call such a horrific accident “unavoidable.”

The woman should have known better, right?

And witnesses reported that Mr. Marshall heroically shouted, “Get out of the way! Get out of the way!” before plowing into Ms. Tarlov, according to local press accounts.

Now, I am honestly torn about whether or not it is time for the government to finally to ban bicycles for good.

Full Disclosure: I do not currently own a bicycle. But that is because I live in a city where I am stripped of my Constitutional right to bear arms and as a result am unable to protect my property.

Over the past decade, I have lost count of the number of bikes that have been stolen from my front yard, off my front porch, out of my garage and even out of my locked back-courtyard.

But I digress. We are talking about bicycle control, not guns.

Of course, bike rights are not specifically protected under the Constitution, but surely that is only because the Founders had not yet thought of them. I don’t even think they had the unicycle back then, which, by the way, is one of the most dangerous of all the cycles.

As a rule, I don’t usually favor government solutions to human errors, but something must be done about these reckless lunatics on their wicked fast bikes whipping through traffic, pedestrians and strollers at breakneck speeds killing innocent people.

Making the speed fiends even more loathsome is their sense of entitlement to the roads, sidewalks, medians — really any place they wish to kill people. And screaming “Get out of the way!” does not win you any responsible citizenship awards.

And worse, still, is the fact that these cycling chain menaces are fueled by a false sense of self-worth that they are somehow saving the planet by not driving cars.

Look, I get it. Bikes don’t kill people. People kill people. Which reminds me of a few good slogans bike enthusiast might find useful during this debate.

“Bikes save lives.”

“When bikes are outlawed, only outlaws will have bikes.”

“Bike control is having both hands on the handlebars.”

“If God did not make men equal, Ignaz Schwinn did.”

“Enforce the bike laws already on the books!”

And, my absolute favorite: “All my bikes combined have killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy’s car.”

Except, I can’t be sure of that any more since all my bikes have been stolen and who knows who is riding them these days.

If only the government hadn’t taken away my right to have a gun.

Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com, or on Twitter at @charleshurt.

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