Friday, May 23, 2008

I Have A Face For Radio II

Well, I have 10 minutes left in this year’s 15 minutes of radio fame. Contrary to what I thought, I know of 1 (one) person that still listens to the radio in their car.

If someone had been listening to the radio they would have heard me talk about how grossly inefficient legal bicycling is on the sidewalk. They would have heard a police officer describe the legality of riding on the roadway and the legal way to ride on the sidewalk.

The listener would also have heard a logical and reasonable description of the desirability and functionality of the brightly colored shirts and the spandex shorts.

DJ Andy seemed genuinely interested and reasonably enlightened to the facts above. I was quite satisfied with the bits that went over the air. I think there was good and factual information in the 5 minutes of air time.

To DJ Andy’s credit – he had obviously read both my e-mails, the second was a rather lengthy set of points I think I’m good at discussing. Andy was willing on air, to face his ignorance of bicycling law and his ignorance of bicycling clothing. I commend him for that.

To DJ Andy’s dis-credit – he was not willing to face his ignorance that “jokes” like “BUT STILL, I'm driving a 4,000 lb car, you're riding a 10 lb bicycle. Get OUT OF THE STREET” and “I was like - if I had a bee bee gun right now, he would be yelping and calling the cops” are dangerous and irresponsible.

Because of this - parts of the meeting were very contentious. By that I mean I was contentious. With home field advantage, a bee bee gun and a 4000 lb car - he was not.

The entire visit was 30 minutes. In that 30 minutes I was able to finally ask an officer of the law, in an appropriate setting, the question I’ve held so anxiously for 2 or 3 years:

If the law says a bicycle has all the rights and responsibilities of any other vehicle on the road and The City installs traffic sensors that don’t detect bicycles, isn’t The City violating the law? The officer got it and immediately called in for the arrest of The City traffic engineer.

Just kidding - the officer DID get it, which is enough for me right now.

The officer and I disagreed on the meaning of this law:

A person driving a bicycle along a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that a bicyclist must stop before entering a crosswalk from a sidewalk and must yield to all traffic on the highway.

The officer believes if the bicycle stops before entering the intersection then any collision within the intersection is the fault of the automobile driver. I strongly suggest “yielding to all traffic” within the intersection makes collisions the bicycle rider’s fault. If you agree with my interpretation you’ll find it interesting that this officer is responsible for teaching bicycle safety to children in the schools. If you disagree with me - you probably haven't read this far anyway.


In reality, the only person who really knows what these laws mean is the judge that tries the case. In other words, we'll let the courts decide that. Hopefully the cyclist needing the clarity is alive to hear it.

That’s all…unless it’s not all.


jg_38 said...

I was told (taught?) that people in crosswalks always have the right of way.

Though, I would agree and do so myself, yield to traffic. Not sure I would make it to court to find the answer myself.

mytzpyk said...

Yes, you are exactly right. People are taught that.

But my city's ordinance (your city's could be different) as you can see, makes a very specific exception for bicycles.

Realize too, it's just the law. Not many people on the roadway use them anymore anyway.

mytzpyk said...

Bicycles being ridden in a crosswalk are different from bicycles being walked in a crosswalk.

SD_pedalpower said...

Would you ever describe yourself as Tenacious?

I would, and I am thankful that.

gad2357 said...

I ran across something called
Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement yesterday.

It seems that you (and the police officer) stayed near the top, while DJ Andy started all this near the bottom (no pun intended).

Thank you again mytzpyk for using at least 10 minutes of your lifetime allotment of fame on this matter.

bikingbrady said...

Thanks MC for all you do. The discussion here and on the SDBC list has been very enlightening. It's nice to get edu-muh-cated.

SD_pedalpower said...

Let us all know if or when a radio stream shows up on this internet thingy I keep hearing about.

mytzpyk said...

You're all too kind.

SD_PP - editing the broadcast is on my list for the weekend. Figuring out how to embed it for playback is too.

However, so is a bike ride to Brandt Lake and a lazy afternoon upon arrival.


And hamburgers. Don't forget the hamburgers.

Happy Memorial Day!

thE_kErnEl said...

stick it to da Man!

Is the original broadcast available on their web site? If so, ITunes makes it very easy to edit it from what I understand. Let me know if you want some help.

bigH said...

Don't be too hard on our friendly officer. Picture a driver at an intersection looking both ways for cars and pedestrians. Seeing none, the driver proceeds to turn. Meanwhile, a 12 year old, late for school, bicycles down the sidewalk from behind the driver and enters the intersection. It would be better if the bicyclist had stopped.

Runners should stop; let's ask them to.

Clearly, bicycles should not be on sidewalks and not in traffic, but in bike lanes.

mytzpyk said...

My disagreement with the officer is not about stopping or not before entering the intersection when riding on the sidewalk. I agree that is a good thing to do - and don't mind a bit that the law requires it.

My disagreement is over where fault lies in the event of a collision, after stopping, once in the intersection.

davintosh said...

"My disagreement is over where fault lies in the event of a collision, after stopping, once in the intersection."

No offense, but it seems a bit silly to be worried about where to place fault in the event of a collision, especially if you're on a bike and the other guy is in a car. I remember complaining to my Dad about something like that a long time ago, and he said that even if I was in the right, I'd be "dead right" after I was run over.

You cannot assume that the guy in the car is going to give you the right of way even when it's yours. It's great that you're advocating biker's rights on the road, and I hope it helps increase awareness among drivers, but when it comes down to it, we bikers have to be on the defensive always and everywhere. Motorcyclists have been fighting this fight for years, and they still fall victim to motorists all too regularly.

mytzpyk said...

No offense taken, thanks.

It is false to assume a crosswalk intersection collision will always result in a cyclist fatality.

Fault has everything to do with receiving insurance help with medical bills, fatality or not. That's hardly silly.

My statements do not advocate riding non-defensively. To the contrary, my statements ought to lead a cyclist to ride hyper-defensively when on a sidewalk because any collision in a crosswalk could be the cyclists fault.

My statments ought to lead a cyclist to understand that the sidewalk is the most insecure and inefficient place to ride a bicycle and any solace found on a sidewalk is false.