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Dr_Dredd's avatar

A town in Colorado has banned bicycles for "safety" reasons. What are your thoughts on this?

Asked by Dr_Dredd (10501 points ) June 21st, 2010

The article is here.

Basically, the local government is saying that bicycles are hazardous because the streets are still 19th-century narrow. Vehicle traffic has increased due to a recent increase in casino betting limits. (Casinos are this town’s raison d’etre.) The city’s manager has been quoted as saying: “At this point the council has no intention of repealing the ban. They believe their actions are what’s best for its citizens in Black Hawk, which are casinos and their patrons.”

Do you think safety is likely to improve? Furthermore, does this present a conundrum for libertarians? If you argue against government regulations like this, are you hindering the free market, and vice versa?

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52 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Seems like a stupid idea to me.

Seaofclouds's avatar

“Michael Copp, Black Hawk’s city manager, the equivalent of chief executive of a local council in the UK, admitted there had not been any accidents to prompt the ban, just concern over potential collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles on 19th-century streets that were designed for horses and carriages.” (From the story in the OP)

Sounds really crappy to me. They are more concerned about people coming in to go to the casino than their normal residents. Instead of banning bicycles, they should enforce traffic laws that require sharing the road with bicycles.

drClaw's avatar

Very stupid. I would want to know how much time and effort was put into getting this “law” passed and to why that time wasn’t spent coming up with a more proactive solution. I know it’s just a small town, but it’s sh*t like this that really gets under my skin. It feels so lazy.

We have a problem with plane crashes, lets make flying illegal.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

That was my first thought, too, @Seaofclouds. The regular citizens of the town are getting screwed.

kevbo's avatar

Much ado about nothing. This won’t hold up in court. And the ban only applies to a small area of the town center, not the entire town.

ucme's avatar

Yeah these things always seem to go in cycles.They should ride this one out.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Seaofclouds There are no regular citizens in Black Hawk. Everyone commutes. Seriously, it’s casinos, a few restaurants, and enough western-themed decor for the tourists. That’s the entirety of the town.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

This will probably stick around for awhile. They’d have to change the entire town in order to fix the streets and it isn’t a huge cyclist area anyway.

tinyfaery's avatar

Maybe they should use some of that casino money to expand the roads.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@papayalily Who is cycling through town then? There have to be some locals that are doing it in order for people to have been given citations for doing it after the ban. I doubt it’s tourists.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Seaofclouds The families from Denver who come up for a day. About ⅓ of CO takes their bike with them everywhere, so then it’s like “hey, kids, we gambled, we got some ice cream, we went and did the whole “Old West” photo shoot thing, now lets take a family bike ride!”. Plus, the occasional person who lives a couple hills away (not actually part of the town) and wants a little bit of street with their mountain biking.
ETA: Right, forgot to add this: Tourists come to CO for the biking/skiing/snowboarding – they might rent a bike and take it everywhere, including the day up in Black Hawk.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@papayalily I’ll have to take your word for it since I’ve never been there, but I find it really hard to believe that no one lives there.

jfos's avatar

@ucme It sounds like the council has a handle on things. Rather than throwing the brakes on this legislation, I would spend a little more time straddling the decision.

nikipedia's avatar

Ridiculous. Ban the f-ing cars before you ban bikes.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Seaofclouds It’s got 100 residents. Total.

ucme's avatar

@jfos We spoke of these matters in the recent chain letter did we not?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@nikipedia But then how would everyone who gambles get there?

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I’m removing my response…for now.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Yeah, is that a political platform thing or just sort of a government accident? And why do you guys have all those rules and regs – does the average Brit agree with it?

jfos's avatar

@ucme I don’t mean to derail the discussion, but what bearing does that have on the frame of this conversation?

ucme's avatar

@jfos Elementary, would you have me recycle that remark? No sir, thought not sir. Now go peddle your tyresome (i’m cheating now see) trivia elsewhere.I feel sure we are in tandem with this notion yes?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Looks to be at the intersection of two state highways. If their jurisdiction extends to those, then cyclists would have reason to be in a snit about it. Otherwise, no reason to patronize the local businesses.

I also don’t know if the article is accurate. I have a foggy memory of reading something in Bicycling about some dinkleshit town in Texas having a total ban on bikes some years back. I haven’t been able to find any information about it since. Maybe it changed when Dubya became POTUS; one of the few saving graces the man possesses is a love of cycling.

jfos's avatar

@ucme Changing gears, as we’ve clearly hit a fork in our common ideologies, do you watch anything on cable? I don’t peg you for much of a TV person.

deni's avatar

Fucking retarded. Not everybody wants or needs to drive a gas guzzling vehicle and put money into maintaining it constantly. Exercise and being eco friendly? BOOOOOO. Everyone pile in the hummer.

ucme's avatar

@jfos Tour de France, oh & those nice gals on Desperate Housewives.Always good for a quick ride.I shall punctuate my response for fear of “deflation” Those grammar types are likely on the prowl.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@deni But at least 95% of everyone in the town at any given time is commuting there. And the very few residents who want exercise can go into the mountains within about 3 minutes and go mountain biking… It’s not like their bike is strictly a street bike…

Seaofclouds's avatar

@papayalily Why should they have to go somewhere else though? Most places have traffic laws that involve sharing the road with bicycles and to me, those should be enforced instead of saying people can’t ride their bicycles. What about motorcycles? They are only a little bit bigger than bicycles and people share the road with them. Why can’t the people share the road with cyclist for that 400 meters? Also, doesn’t making the person get off and walk their bike through that area put them at more of a risk since they’ll be going even slower walking than they were riding? I just don’t see how making them walk their bikes for 400 meters is any safer than allowing them to ride it.

jfos's avatar

@ucme I’m usually just racing through the channels. Yes, the grammar types might jump in and get all ramped up and locked on a mistake, so I admire your steering it in the right direction.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Seaofclouds Because they don’t obey the rules of the road. They run red lights and stop signs even when there is traffic coming, they wear dark clothing and have no reflectors at night and then cross the street, they go more than 5 miles under the speed limit even when it’s safe to go the speed limit, they change lanes and make turns and stop without signaling – it’s like they’re trying to get killed to make a point. If a pedestrian (which they aren’t) runs out into the middle of oncoming traffic and causes a traffic jam, they get a ticket. If a cyclist does it, it’s seen as a victory for the whole “share the road” thing.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@papayalily I understand what you are saying, but isn’t that more reason to enforce the rules? Do you really think having them walk their bikes on a narrow road is a better option? (I’m guessing you’ve been to this area so I’m asking out of curiosity, not sarcasm or with any contempt just wanted to make sure you knew that.)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Seaofclouds If you give a ticket to a car, the likelihood that they’re up for some gambling is really high, and it might discourage them from coming up there again and handing your town more money. However, someone on a bike, less so. If they walk their bikes, there are sidewalks they can use for a bit, and their ability to randomly dart in front of a car is drastically reduced.

Zaku's avatar

I think Delta Force should be sent in to enforce a coup to replace the local government.

Zaku's avatar

Um, seriously, I think it’s wonderful that we live in a country where different communities can create their own laws whether outsiders approve of them or not.

And, I think it’s ridiculous and an awful attempt to fix a non-problem and impose “safety” on others, and sucks massively. I wouldn’t want to live there. I hate that there are bike helmet laws where I live, and such things make me want to protest and/or leave. And, it’s great that I’m still allowed to leave and live somewhere else where people aren’t such busybody safety insurance-company-brainwashed lamers.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Zaku Well, they are dangerous. It’s like having kids play in the street, but instead of a highly residential street where the only people that drive there are the ones that live there, it’s a lot of cars and drivers who don’t know the area well enough to know where a cyclist might come from. They don’t follow the rules of the road, instead opting to not have reflectors or lights, dart out, go the wrong way, run lights and stop signs, and cross into oncoming traffic.

Zaku's avatar

@papayalily And the response to there being uneducated drivers and/or bicyclists is… to ban bicycles? What happened to people’s ability to learn how to not get hurt, and to take responsibility for their own safety?

Fred931's avatar

Didn’t read through all of the responses so far, but what about motorcycles? Those are much more dangerous than bicycles considering they are designed to run at 100+ MPH speeds and are to be used on public roads. Bicycles are easier to control, slower, have less metal, and can be used on sidewalks or even off paved surfaces.

They should imply and enforce regulations on bicycling in a similar manner as they do driving if they want to solve this problem correctly. Also, if nobody in that town understands the risks of using bicycles among big, fast, dangerous objects, that means that nobody is teaching them about bicycle safety; Implement simple classes or topics into younger-age-group school curriculum and that should yield results as well.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Zaku Well, it’s only for 400 meters in the center of town. Plus if you give a ticket to a car, the likelihood that they’re up for some gambling is really high, and it might discourage them from coming up there again and handing your town more money. However, someone on a bike, less so. If they walk their bikes, there are sidewalks they can use for a bit, and their ability to randomly dart in front of a car is drastically reduced. The town doesn’t exist without people coming in to gamble.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Fred931 It’s a state-wide issue with crazy unsafe cyclists… It’s like, the turn 7, get their first bike, and learn all about the rules of the road and bike safety. Then the turn 20, get a mountain bike, learn all about Lance Armstrong and worship the ground he walks on, and decide to throw it all away. At least I don’t see at least 2 motorcycles a day running a red light.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

So if I was the mayor of this town, here would have been my train of thought:

There are tons of accidents with the bicycles. We could ticket the cars, but then they might not come back and gamble, and gambling is like oxygen to this town. If I start giving tickets to the few cyclists here for not following the regular rules of the road, it will set precedent for the rest of the state, which will anger all cyclists (the cyclists here really really don’t like being told that they can’t do whatever they want and aren’t as invincible as Superman), especially the ones that matter (read: the rich ones in south Denver who are lawyers, doctors, and businessmen who have 10+ 20k bikes in their garage and can donate more than 50 bucks to a political campaign). The rest of my in-state party will be pissed at me for making trouble for them, and won’t help me get re-elected. But if I ban bikes for a small portion of the town, the cyclist community will be pissed on principle, but in a “rant at dinner” kind of way, not a “stand up and do something” kind of way, b/c this town is the poor people’s gambling town and the rich people couldn’t give less of a f*** about us (< true story). It puts out a few of the residents of this town, but I’m sure they’d rather not be able to ride their bikes in the center of town than loose their job because the gamblers have decided to Carson City.

ETpro's avatar

Seems to me that, for safety’s sake, they should ban the town manager and council. Maybe thay could take up a collection and get them bikes to pedal their butts out of town on.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@papayalily That would be great, but the article the OP linked even said that they admitted there were not any accidents to prompt the ban. They could ticket the cyclist for disobeying traffic laws just as they could a driver.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@papayalily I read that. This ban is pissing them off to. They article the OP linked even said they were challenging the ban. So that part seemed pointless to me since it pissed them off either way. At least ticketing them has legal backing and the cyclists should be aware of traffic laws. It’s their own fault if they don’t obey them.

alive's avatar

why don’t they ban cars for safety?

ETpro's avatar

@alive I think the safety the city manager is concerned with relates to the tax revenues the city can pull in. Banning cars in a casino town would likely cause great harm and maybe even death—to their bank account.

alive's avatar

You could totally get away with the car ban by saying that you want to preserve the historical essence of the area. And if you are a tourist coming to the casino, you probably don’t know shit about the area anyways and will be annoyed at first and then think it is “quaint”

in other words i think the ban is just silly, and disrespectful. Laws don’t have to only be about safety, they can also be about fairness.

ETpro's avatar

Actually, having a parking lot (which you charge for) and buggy rides to the casino would probably be a great racket idea.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@alive So, most of the gamblers aren’t tourists in the “out of state” way so much as the “live in the Denver Metro area” way – they go there 2 or 3 times a year, don’t think it’s quaint, and have had it up to here with this Western theme the tourists love. And they kinda have all the historical they need down in Denver.

alive's avatar

@papayalily dude. they shouldn’t have banned bikes in the first place – period.

that is why i made the point “why don’t they ban the cars.” why do cars have more right to be in a place than other forms of transportation. the streets in europe are tiny as any….

ETpro's avatar

@papayalily I can’t speak for the good people of Denver, but I imagine a lot of people who love to bike and also those with libertarian leanings might take offense at the town’s bike ban, and go somewhere else. I am not a biker, but I have enough libertarian blood in me that I would certainly react that way.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@papayalily No, there really isn’t one political philosophy that dominates the cyclists in Denver, it’s pretty diverse.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s hard to top this kind of stupidity. Drill baby drill. I would go all the way to the supreme court if necessary.

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