Tonight my cousin, who's as committed a cyclist as I am, and I argued whether we need harsher punishments for motorists who injure cyclists and pedestrians in collisions. I was upset about an article I'd read in the statesman about a girl who was hit crossing the street to get to her neighborhood rec center and I was parroting a post I'd read earlier by Bob Mionske who writes about cycling law.
I argued that there should be greater accountability for motorists who injure and kill more vulnerable road users, that we should be far more wary to consider any of these collisions "accidents," that through precedent we should be raising the standard of how a reasonable person should be expected to perform in unpredictable traffic scenarios (e.g. darting children, inexperienced cyclists, weather).
My cousin disagreed. He believes our focus should be on getting more people on bikes, that it's more effective to encourage cycling than to discourage motoring, and that relying on the police and courts to change the culture strides foolheartedly in to the land of unintended consequences.