Despite a few last minute grammar and punctuation controversies, the Cyclist’s Bill of Rights is now public at the Bike Writer’s Collective:
CYCLIST’S BILL OF RIGHTS
WHEREAS, cyclists have the right to ride the streets of our communities and this right is formally articulated in the California Vehicle Code; and
WHEREAS, cyclists are considered to be the “indicator species” of a healthy community; and
WHEREAS, cyclists are both environmental and traffic congestion solutions; and
WHEREAS, cyclists are, first and foremost, people – with all of the rights and privileges that come from being members of this great society; and
NOW, THEREFORE, WE THE CYCLING COMMUNITY, do hereby claim the following rights:
1) Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear.
2) Cyclists have the right to equal access to our public streets and to sufficient and significant road space.
3) Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement.
4) Cyclists have the right to the full support of our judicial system and the right to expect that those who endanger, injure or kill cyclists be dealt with to the full extent of the law.
5) Cyclists have the right to routine accommodations in all roadway projects and improvements.
6) Cyclists have the right to urban and roadway planning, development and design that enable and support safe cycling.
7) Cyclists have the right to traffic signals, signage and maintenance standards that enable and support safe cycling.
8) Cyclists have the right to be actively engaged as a constituent group in the organization and administration of our communities.
9) Cyclists have the right to full access for themselves and their bicycles on all mass transit with no limitations.
10) Cyclists have the right to end-of-trip amenities that include safe and secure opportunities to park their bicycles.
11) Cyclists have the right to be secure in their persons and property, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure, as guaranteed by the 4th Amendment.
12) Cyclists have the right to peaceably assemble in the public space, as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.
And further, we claim and assert these rights by taking to the streets and riding our bicycles, all in an expression of our inalienable right to ride!
We’d like to highlight article 12, “Cyclists have the right to peaceably assemble in the public space, as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.” Take a look at this excerpt from an old film, showing a trip down Market Street in San Francisco circa 1905, the year before the 1906 earthquake and fire:
Most people looking at this film today would probably think that our present day congested, but reasonably orderly, streets have improved, that the chaos of this old street scene has been “cleaned up.” But what has been lost? Our streets in the United States are no longer the living, breathing, admittedly chaotic spaces they once were (Or still are in many parts of the world—witness this video of a present day intersection in India). Instead, the typical U.S. street is a monolithic traffic sewer, a blighted corridor with the only purpose being moving as many cars as fast as possible.
Today, all the pedestrians in this old film would be cited for jaywalking, the cyclists for “impeding traffic”, and the various equestrians and carriages would be harassed by the entitled, luxury car driving hordes. And while San Francisco still has its trolleys, most cities, including Los Angeles, ripped up the tracks in the 1950s.
This unquestioned idea that our streets are for cars not people would be extremely offensive to our founding fathers. Since it costs, on average, $8,000 a year to own and maintain an automobile this discrimination amounts to an unfair tax and worse, an infringement of our right to traverse public space.
This is why we need to assert our rights. This is why we need a Cyclist’s Bill of Rights.