Earning your rights

In Germany, you can be fined if you don’t have a headlamp and a taillamp on your bicycle.

The German legal system is riddled with laws that don’t make sense. At first, I thought of how this was one more of those superfluous rules. If my vision is good enough to ride a bicycle in the dark, why should I be coerced into using headlamps?

Later, when I took some driving classes, I discovered a whole bunch of rules that protected cyclists. Motorists are to give cyclists a wide-berth while overtaking them. Several roads in Germany have a separate cycling lane, and before any motorist turns, they have to give way for passing cyclists. I have often seen massive busses with accordions in the middle, loaded with 60+ passengers wait for my puny cycle to pass.

One night, when I was driving a car, I looked out for passing cyclists before taking a turn. In that instant, I observed how difficult it is to spot an oncoming cycle if they didn’t use headlamps. That brainless headlamp rule suddenly made so much sense.

We take for granted the rules that protect us while hating the ones we are forced to obey. In most cases, they both are related.

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