On April 21 KELOLAND News published this piece
about bicycling safely. On May 30 I sent the following letter with 10 signatures to the Police Chief and received a response less than 12 hours later. Wow.
Dear Sioux Falls Police Chief Burns:
We recently observed Officer Draeger in a bicycling safety news article on KELOLAND TV say some things that concern us as Sioux Falls bicyclists.
Officer Draeger’s first statement, “Even if you're in the right of way on a bicycle, you're going to lose if you tangle with a car” is not helpful. People who bicycle know all too well that injury and death are frequently probable when crashing into a car. What riders and drivers of other vehicles aren’t clear on is that law enforcement will give riders the same protection under the law as drivers of other vehicles whether they are involved in a crash or not.
Because our four most recent bicycle fatalities involve two drivers ticketed for failure to exercise due care and two intoxicated drivers we propose police adopt a more mature view of today’s modern multi-modal roadway. Use statements similar to, “a rider that operates according to the law will receive the greatest protection while riding or crashing because they are being predictable, visible and within the legal requirements.”
Officer Draeger’s second statement, "Ride as far to the right as you can” is better stated in city ordinance 72.002 and can be reduced to soundbites: “ride in the right-hand lane” and “as far to the right as allows safe operation.”
Officer Draeger’s third statement “Remember if you're riding on the sidewalk, you have to stop your bicycle before you cross the street” was fine. While most bicycle riders would be surprised to learn they must stop even if the pedestrian signal is in their so many riders roll through intersections on the sidewalk without stopping, or even looking, it’s amazing.
Thank you for your considerations:
Assorted Sioux Falls Bicycle Riders
(signatures available in attached PDF document)