When I go out cycling with my daughter I seek out places where she is treated like the vulnerable child she is. I want us to be safely separate from the car traffic. I want safe places to cross where we are given plenty of time. In short, I want wide margins to allow her to make mistakes. I want us to be treated as more ‘human’ than ‘vehicle’.
Many “serious” cyclists lobby hard to be treated as a type of car traffic.
The street is a place where we each negotiate for space, time and priority. This negotiation, though, is not equally matched.
Motorists are somewhat protected from danger by their surrounding vehicles. By contrast, young and old cyclists are very vulnerable, and so until cyclists can be ensured safety as road traffic, then they should be granted some rights to behave like pedestrians at times.
Mostly, I consider myself a pedestrian on wheels rather than a vehicle.
But the language we use describes other realities.
We talk about an “accident involving two cars.” In motoring talk the vehicle is active.
Then we say “a cyclist got knocked over.” In cycling talk the person is active.
A “cycle-plus-cyclist” is human.
A “car-plus-driver” is what, actually? Cyborg? Technofreak? Inhuman and lacking culpability?