That wasn’t the only recent incident in which lawfully-riding cyclists were blamed for collisions with drivers who break the law. In Portland, Oregon, former NFL quarterback Joey Harrington was hit from behind while riding his bike. The driver was cited for “following too close.”
And then an outraged reader wrote a Guest Op-Ed for the local paper. “In light of Joey Harrington's recent accident, I think the time has come to resolve a worsening problem in the Portland metro area,” the op-ed began. Ah, a call for safety. And yes, the concerned reader was calling for more safety on the road—by requiring cyclists to be licensed and insured.
Get it? A driver breaks the law, injuring a law-abiding cyclist, and the “worsening problem”—as evidenced by the collision that injured Joey Harrington—that needs to be addressed is “that many Portland cyclists take no responsibility.” And according to this writer’s analysis, “There is only one solution”—crack down on cyclists. Round up the usual suspects.
That skewed perception of reality—a reality that is apparent right in front of their unseeing eyes—is the underlying basis for how too many people process information. No matter how egregious the driver’s actions, observers are sure that the law-abiding cyclist was in the wrong. Regardless of the facts, observers can be counted on to remember that some other cyclist somewhere broke a law.
And thus, by this skewed perception of reality under girding faulty logic, the motorist is always right, the cyclist is always wrong, and the victim always gets the blame.
Bicycle Law on Blaming the Victim
This came out a few days ago, but I didn't see it until just now. He says what I've been trying to say much better than I have/can. Read the whole thing, but I especially liked this part: