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Cycling enthusiasts are pushing for more driver accountability.

In a recent town hall meeting in Fort Collins, Colo., around 200 bicyclists, cycling advocates, and community members assembled to discuss ways to increase bicycling safety in Larimer County, as Jason Pohl writes for The Coloradoan. In particular, the bicycle enthusiasts were lobbying for greater accountability for drivers who injure or kill bicyclists. The meeting took place in the wake of two recent bicycling fatalities in Larimer County, Pohl writes.

Advocates favor a combination of education for cyclists and motorists, improvements to Fort Collins’ and Larimer County’s infrastructure, and enforcement, Pohl writes. But exactly how that combination of ways to improve bicyclists’ safety should be configured was not determined, he writes.

One enforcement effort during the spring culminated in Fort Collins police writing hundreds of tickets during a weeklong bicycle and motor vehicle safety week, Pohl writes. Another effort will take place in the fall, targeting new and returning Colorado State University students.

Raising awareness

Those assembled discussed with panelists ideas for improvements to the infrastructure, including designs that work in other countries, Pohl writes. The advocates also considered ways to better educate the public about bicycling safety.

Pohl writes that the audience applauded when Dan Porter, head of the Northern Colorado website YourGroupRide, said the punishment for drivers who injure or kill bicyclists needs to be worthy of the crime. “We need something that affects these people’s lives. It’s got to be something that stops them from going on vacation the next year,” Porter said.

Of all the topics discussed, the one that will probably inspire the most activism among bicycling advocates is the potential for mandatory license revocation policies in Colorado, Pohl writes. “While revocation can result, there is no guarantee a convicted motorist will be barred from driving, even after causing near-fatal — or fatal — injuries,” Pohl writes. Panelist Brad Tucker, a cycling attorney who serves on the board of Bicycle Colorado, said he would like to see the law changed so that it had some teeth, Pohl writes. Among the other panelists were State Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins; Councilman Ross Cunniff; Fort Collins Police Services Lt. Craig Horton; and Tessa Greegor, FC Bikes Program Manager, Pohl writes.

Candidate input

In a related item, Bike Fort Collins and the Coalition for Infrastructure asked 2015 city election candidates for their views on bicycling and have posted the results online. Candidates were each asked five questions. Bike Fort Collins published all of the responses verbatim, and does not endorse specific candidates.

The questions they asked the candidates were:

  • How often do you ride your bicycle on city streets?
  • Assuming funding was available, what do you personally feel is the most important bicycle infrastructure project for the City of Fort Collins in 2015?
  • As the number of residents using bicycles as a form of transportation grows,what would you say is the most important contribution that will make to our local economy?
  • How can we best educate the public about safe and effective bicycling?
  • Have you participated in the Tour de Fat, and what was your favorite costume?
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