Yes it is time for another Wreck-Free Sunday post, where I try to solve all the world’s problems in a single day. At lest the ones that can be solved with a bicycle. 😉
Before I left for my trip I posted about the new Tennessee law that went into effect July 1st, making killing a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist a crime punishable by a fine up to $500, or $250 if you just injure one of them. While this is a big step forward, compared to other, lesser crimes the fines are such that if we weren’t talking about human suffering and death they would be comedic. As a comparison, littering carries up to a $1500 fine, failure to pass a stopped emergency vehicle by moving over to the next lane to the left has a maximum fine of $500. That’s right, you can run over a vulnerable road user, and if they don’t die your fine will be less than if you failed to change lanes to pass a cop on the shoulder. If you kill a vulnerable user you better pick up the body because the fine for littering is 3 times the fine for killing the person. Isn’t it wonderful to know how highly the TN State Legislature regards us cyclists and pedestrians?
Obviously these fines are way too low to be effective and need to be enhanced, or maybe a canny DA needs to file the charges so that the potential fines and prison terms are more in line with the seriousness of the crimes. Can you imagine the publicity when a DA announces he’s filing littering charges against a hit-and-run driver that kills a vulnerable user because the sentences for leaving the body on the side of the road are harsher than for the actual killing?
I will scour the web looking for more stuff that gets treated more harshly than killing a cyclist and let you know about them in a future Wreck-Free Sunday post.
Billed @$0.02, Opus