Of course, pedestrians have the fundamental right of way; peds always get the go. Even when they are doing it all wrong, bicyclers naturally try to avoid hitting them. Pedestrians DO have a responsibility to keep all traffic flows unimpeded; but really, they could be walking around tripping on mushrooms, and should remain unmolested.


Any motorized vehicle, however, gives up its right of way when it uses an engine. On the vehicle rights continuum, heavier vehicles yield to the lighter, and the motorized yield to the nonmotorized.


Motor vehicles are unnecessarily heavy, not controllable by a human body, and easy fatality causers. You cannot pick up a car and put it out of your way; you cannot even pick up or stop your riding mower.


Any bicycle with any motor is a motorcycle and hazardous. Skateboards with a motor are also dangerous motor vehicles.


No rider really wants to hit a person. Stop worrying. The responsible experienced rider definitely does not want to hit that pedestrian; it would cause a crash to the ground. Timid pedestrians take note: do not panic in the path of a bicycle, do not act unpredictably; the bicyclist wants to avoid you.


Also the motor vehicle does not want to hit the bike, but that is mainly because of potential cosmetic damage to a car’s paint. Sometimes the motorist does go mad and wants to hit a biker. This is one other risk we endure for the freedom we are rewarded.


Artificial law does have its place. For example, the convention of having oncoming traffic on the left is easy to learn and produces great speed and safety improvements in any situation with omnidirectional flow.


Artificial law most usefully establishes a convention of predictable conduct, a pattern of behavior that can be expected of the dangerous motor vehicles.


However for the nonmotorized, artificial law is merely a suggestion. Cyclists learning to ride the streets should follow the laws, it is easier when developing. But, experienced expert street bicyclists really need only respect one natural law: Maintain your own safety.


Natural laws being those which enforce automatically. Take too big of a risk and punishment could happen. Behave safely and you will survive.


Now, of course, there is a continuum of the definition of “safely”. The timid person’s view of safety will be one thing. Conversely, one could successfully argue that safety results from any completed accident-free maneuver, no matter how much risk was involved.


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