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The following bit just appeared in the League of Michigan Bicyclists‘ January Enews:

Things that make you go hmmm…

According to a Nov. 9th Baltimore Sun article, “There are people who simply should not be permitted to own or operate motor vehicles. Thomas Meighan Jr. is one of them. Long before the Oct. 16 incident in which he faces charges related to the hit-and-run death of Johns Hopkins student Miriam Frankl, he had demonstrated that he was a menace to others any time he operated a vehicle. At the time of that crash, Meighan had nine convictions on his record for driving while intoxicated or impaired. Yet he still was listed as the owner of the F-250 truck that police believe mowed down the 20-year-old Frankl. (Meighan has denied being the driver that day and has not been charged in her death.)

“Is there anyone outside the Maryland General Assembly who believes Meighan should have been permitted to own anything more powerful than a moped? As a society, we are ultra-protective of the right to own property. And we hate to impose any penalties that interfere with someone’s ability to make a living after they’ve served jail time. Car ownership has been elevated to a virtual constitutional right. Meighan lost his license many times and always got it back…”

– Michael Dresser

Things like this make me wonder why we don’t find some way of requiring would-be motorists to spend a certain period of time getting around by bicycle (or at least by moped, scooter, or even motorcycle) prior to receiving a driver’s license. I used to think the same thing when I rode motorcycles. It makes you a better, more alert, more conscientious and considerate driver.

For those who haven’t already done so, check out Road Guardian and 3FeetPlease. It’s a grey time of year, and the roads are narrowing on account of plowed snow. Be aware of your surroundings, and do your part to make others aware of you. Bright clothes are a must. And you shouldn’t be riding with out a light either. I’ve been using the Planet Bike Superflash and have been quite pleased.

I don’t know if I can attribute it to the light directly, but I have to give a tip of the helmet to Adrian drivers. I’ve ridden my bike to and from campus in snowy conditions the last two days, and the car traffic has been tremendously generous. Thanks folks.

Update: For more on winter riding, take a look at this post from last year. I, for one, am having a wicked time keeping my drive train from turning the color of this text.

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