San Francisco, CA — As if threatening government force to extort money from drivers who exceed an arbitrary limit of speed on the highway is not bad enough, police in California will begin issuing tickets to speeding bicyclists as well.
Earlier this month, Marin County parks officials launched a new enforcement program to enforce an arbitrary speed limit on bicycles.
City officials refused to call it a “crackdown” on speeding bicyclists and instead opted for the Orwellian option of calling it an “educational” program.
“We want to get data, educate users and hopefully gain a useful tool,” said Max Korten, assistant director of county parks. “Through the Road and Trail Management Plan there are a number of proposals to open trail alignments to bikes that have caused safety concerns among some neighbors and preserve visitors about the speed of bikes on the trails,” he said. “It’s important that as we consider implementing some of these proposals; we have a tool to address this potential issue.”
Mercury News reported Korten billed the program as a “pilot effort,” saying officials “don’t have good data about how often speeding is occurring on open space trails and we have not used this technology on open space roads and trails in the past.”
In a discouraging move, instead of rejecting the premise of the state forcing cyclists to travel at an arbitrary speed through the threat of extortion, some local hiking and cycling groups are embracing it.
Tom Boss, offroad director of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, said he welcomed the county’s new ‘educational program.’
Linda Novy, head of a local hiking group, the Footpeople, who urged the crackdown on cyclists, touted the Orwellian move as a step in the right direction.
“We are glad that the Marin County Open Space District will begin using Lidar to track speeds,” she said. “Our understanding is that without this device, Rangers are not able to issue citations or possibly issue warnings.”
Novy told Mercury News that the amount of citations last year was far too low and noted they included 418 involving dogs and 95 involving cyclists in areas closed to bikes, but “none for speeding, failure to yield or riding in a manner that endangers other users.”
Overall, with 11 rangers and a single deputy sheriff on patrol at the time, the 558 violations amounted to “fewer than four violations per month per ranger/deputy,” the Footpeople observed, according to Mercury News.
Instead of realizing that the lack of violations issued could be due to the lack violations that exist, Novy advocates for the force of the state to impose her will onto others.
According to Korten, violators will be warned first, and citations will follow “depending on the circumstances.”
After a few collisions involving cyclists, in instances where their speed was entirely unknown, the government reacts by sending in armed agents of the state.
“The action…….will once again allow for seven-day-a-week law enforcement coverage in the county’s park lands,” Undersheriff Mike Ridgway said.
Instead of people being held responsible for hurting others through irresponsible acts, such as wrecking into hikers or bikes, all cyclists will now be punished for simply riding over 15 mph.
This move by city officials should come as no surprise as the state’s only available tools to incite change are extortion and violence.