A reoccurring complaint heard, when advocating for sidewalks, is that pedestrians need to learn the rules of the road & stop jaywalking. In addition, I hear that bikers are frustrating/dangerous/annoying because they, too, don't follow the rules of the road. Recently, someone said to me that bikes should not be on our public roadways because they 'scare her'.
Sail before steam!
In regards to right-of-way, pedestrians have it over bicycles which have it over cars.
I have also heard that bikes and pedestrians should not be allowed in the road 'because they don't pay for them' as they are not contributing to the gas tax in Tennessee. This argument is particularly insulting. I would venture to guess that only the most die-hard bicyclist/pedestrian is also car-less. Most people are still contributing to the gas tax in some fashion. So, let's let these ideas go...
There is a list-serve in Nashville (walking and biking in Nashville - google group) where I read this idea of 'People on Foot = People on Bikes = People in Cars = People'. While we wait (and wait) for our city to commit to true walkability, please know that our roads are PUBLIC. Meaning, that walkers, bicycles and vehicles all have the right to use this public space.
In addition, some of the poor behaviors of walkers and bicyclist are directly related to very low design standards on the infrastructure we have been given. For example, Nashville has a disproportionate amount of superblocks - in essence, incredibly long blocks with few safe crossing options. If you are on one side - you may not choose to go all the way to the intersection to cross if where you need to go is across the street.
In addition, our intersection are often of really poor quality for walkers - they feel unsafe. So, walking to get to the intersection, to then double back, when it feels less safe drives a lot of jay-walking behaviors. I imagine it is similar for bicyclist.
The author of the list-serve comment asked that, while we wait for our infrastructure to improve, People on Foot = People on Bikes = People in Cars = People. Makes sense. I like it!