Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Attention: Local Cyclists

Have you ever found yourself stopped on your bike at a red light wishing it would change but knowing the sensor will never identify your presense?

If you have go here and fill out the form. You will be telling public works and traffic engineering something they might not be aware of at a time when they might be able to hear it.

If you need more context:

A city traffic engineer has increased the sensitivity of a traffic signal sensor along the on-road alternate greenway route. In the city bicycle committee e-mail group Snakebite identified that this begs the question, if it can be done here why can't it be done throughout the city?

I will only publish the words I contributed.

I said this:
Just a moment - I'll piggyback on Chris - "Every person driving a bicycle shall have all of the rights and all the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle by this Code." Assuming drivers of other vehicles can expect working traffic control devices - I suggest that traffic control devices that don't function for bicycles violate this law.

Traffic control devices that fail for cyclists teach cyclists that red lights aren't for them and put them on the slippery slope to bad habits at stop signs.

Traffic control devices that fail for cyclists teach the majority automobile operators that roadways aren't for cyclists.

Traffic control devices that don't work for cyclists put me in the awkward position as a parent as I try to teach my children cycling rules and law. It's never ok to go through a red light, but sometimes there are red lights that never change. The math gets pretty fuzzy pretty quickly here.

Happy Earth Day. Thank you.
And I said this:
Officer Pottebaum:

The more I think about this the more I must respond more broadly.

I dismiss your first two options as unreasonable within both my rightful expectation that the law applies equally to all citizens and because of the frequency with which I am forced into performing them.

In the past four years I’ve logged over 10,000 bicycle miles in your city. In the past two weeks I’ve ridden my bicycle 140 miles inside your city compared to the 1 on my automobile.

Your third option of reporting failed signals to the traffic engineer is what I will do.

Sirs: roughly 100% of your vehicle sensors fail to detect bicycles roughly 100% of the time. You have a systemic problem. Because increased sensitivity has proven to be what is necessary please, increase sensitivity across the city. I would be happy to assist in any way I possibly can with these efforts.

Perhaps better and more intentional attendance at the Sioux Falls Bicycle Committee Meetings is necessary to open up some real dialog on matters important to the bicycling community.

Thank you for your time.

Michael Christensen, local cyclist
Sioux Falls Bicycle Committee - member
Falls Area Bicyclists, Inc, - Treasurer
South Dakota Bicycle Coalition, Inc - Treasurer
Sioux Falls Bike To Work Day - de facto chair
The MinusCar Project – blogger
MPO Citizen’s Advisory Committee - member
MPO Bicycle Plan Committee – member


db said...

Rage against the machine, but in a respectful manner. Well done.

Eric A. said...

I sometimes wonder what would happen if we had more round-abouts in town. Instead of stop lights or signs.
I often find myself in awkward " fuzzy logic" moments when I am trying to teach my child thing like this too. Nothing is black and white.