Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dear Police Chief...

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)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Not Everyone Is Mean...

1. She passed me as we both performed a left turn. Passing in an intersection is expressly forbidden in law. Passing while both turning left is a move some NASCAR drivers struggle with.

2. When I said "if you wait until after we turn we'll both be more safe." She ever so nicely said she was sorry and she wasn't sure what to do.

Just wait half a block and pass me when it's straight...and I thanked her for being so nice.

It felt like progress.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bike to Work Week Day 2 - Lessons in Scanning

Today's ride to work reminded me of two very important safe riding rules:

#1 - always communicate to drivers your intentions by signaling your turns. Even when you think you're alone on the road. I got lazy this morning and didn't.

#2 - always always always scan before moving laterally in the roadway. Even when you think you're alone on the road. I did scan left before I turned left and discovered I was being questionably but legally overtaken - well maybe they were speeding, but everybody does there. It was simple enough for me to hold my line and not turn into the car but I wasted most of my margin for error by failing to comply with rule #1.

No, three. Three important safe riding rules:

#3 - the habits you practice matter. Moving left on the bike trail to overtake a pedestrian? Scan left. Turning left from a left turn only lane with two lanes of oncoming traffic? Scan left. Moving right on the bike trail after overtaking a pedestrian? Scan right. The habit is the thing that can save your life when you're lazy.

Happy bike to work week!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Saturday Coffee Shop Ride: Saturday May 28

I've been a bit delinquent on posting and publicising the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Amazingly attendance remains strong. In fact last week at Caribou/Einstein a friend I hadn't seen in a very long time surprised me and rode with us. The temperature was low and the precipitation was high.

Here we are, two weeks away from the May Saturday Coffee Shop Ride. A couple months ago Flyboy Donuts met us outside as we rode by and they handed us dozens and dozens and dozens of donut holes.

Nothing gets my attention like donuts so this month: Saturday May 28, our venue is Flyboy Donuts.

The plan is to go west over the Tallgrass Bridge, north through the mall and Meadows. We'll note the proximity of the new grocery store to the bike trail. Have I mention there's a grocery store right on the bike trail now? Then south through a neighborhood and back for coffee and donuts at Flyboy Donuts.

Maple bacon donuts. Specifically. Seriously. Maple. Bacon. Donuts. Donuts with maple. And bacon. Bacon.

The ride leaves at 9am. The loop is 11.3 miles and is weather adjustable. Here are general expectations of the Saturday Coffee Shop Rides. Faster riders may find the slowish speed of this ride mentally taxing.

Here is the planned route - subject to change.