Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Crackdown on Scofflaw Cyclists Promised

From this month till November, the police will be cracking down on scofflaw cyclists and pedestrians. At least that's what they're threatening, according to Hungarian blog, Kerékagy (Wheel Hub). The blog explains cyclists can be busted for riding under the influence, while pedestrians can be nailed for J-walking. Both suspect groups will be liable for the offence of riding or walking along streets outside populated areas without donning the required reflective vest.

Fines, apparently, can range anywhere from HUF 3,000 to HUF 100,000, depending on the seriousness of the offence. 

I have to admit, I'm somewhat disappointed the cops aren't specifically targetting cyclists riding after dark without lights. This is my main complaint with Budapest riders, given that a lampless cyclist can pose a real threat to other cyclists, and given the abundance of people who seem to revel in being invisible. 

That excepted, though, reckless peds and cyclists are mainly a danger to themselves. Law-breaking motorists, on the other hand, endanger everybody. And God knows the police haven't begun to sort them out. Come to think of it, with the loose reins kept on motorists, I'd be very surprised if the cops follow through with this jihad against us other road users. 


sam said...

Do you agree with the 'crackdown'? What if the police weren't prosocuting people for riding and walking, but helping educate about safety, and equipping pedestrians and cyclists by pulling offenders over, and providing them with hi-vis vests, reflectors, led lights etc. I did hear about a program like this somewhere-denmark or holland i think, and was very sucessful. how much would it really cost?
I was one pulled over in england for not having a light attached to my bike, but there was a flashing red led on the back of my head!! Anything that discourages people from non-motorized transport has to have a negative effect no? People need to feel that the authorities are looking out for them, not persecuting them.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this and my comment on the best bike lanes yet.

Greg Spencer said...

Yes, of course, great idea. Budapest should try a more pro-active approach to encourage safer cycling. No doubt some private sponsorship could pay for the lights, vests and reflectors.

At present, City Hall doesn't carry out any 'soft measures' to promote cycling or cycling safety other than a smorgasboard of lefty causes showcased during the annual European Mobility Week.

Cyclists should be as accountable as anyone else for their behaviour in traffic, but I'd agree that in the absence of more positive measures, police crackdowns will probably just reinforce the general impression that cyclists are personae non gratae in Budapest.