Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Riding My Bike..."

So I went out for a snow ride Saturday night. It turned out to be the best winter/snow ride I've done. Not even the snow plow who almost hit me could ruin my ride. Same goes for the guy in the pick-up truck that asked me at a light, "what the f@% are you doing?" I just said "riding my bike" and that seemed to completely confuse the driver to the point that he just muttered under his breath and drove off. The snow was perfect for riding on the parkway roads,. and it snowed all night. I love riding in the snow. There's usually no one else on the roads. It was so quiet on the parkway, that at one point I expected the winter warlock or the abomidable snow man to come out of the woods and chase me. I can't wait till it snows again. Except I need to find someone else to shovel the driveway.

video

If you've arrived here via Velonews.com see the rest of the blog.

71 comments:

EXPO Racing said...

Suhweet site, name and background color! I gots plenty of HTML stuff (linked logos) for ya.

Christie said...

I like! I like! I like!

What Do I Feel Like Riding today? said...

Good work, I'll put you on my blog too, I've been spewing too much content in the last few days, you'll get up there though.

Rick Glos said...

Nice video of the incident.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? I only work 30hrs a week and I don't have that much free time...I have been riding and racing for 10 years, all in the DC Metro area and we know all about getting buzzed and dodging head hunters...dude, get over it and get out of the way...I mean, we want to be out doing some silly stuff to make ourselves feel good on a snowy night and this guy is a) working and b) trying to help the general population. I mean you plow a road here and leave 20ft by 4ft of snow in a lane and it would mess up traffic royally....there are things that should be fought for in the cycling community, like $ for bike lanes and paths, access to park trails etc...hassling a municipality about this ankle biter crap just sheds a PITA light on cyclists and is a detriment to causes that really matter.

Anonymous said...

My friend that plow driver is obviously one of the multitude of horse's arses out there. But, riding on that road in those conditions was stupid. He was wrong, but do you want that as your epitaph. Ride smart or you will die.

Kevin Milam
Charleston, WV

Anonymous said...

Seriously? (part 2)
Think about this. Here in Alexandria, VA, we have had residents video taping cyclists rolling through stop signs (not even lights, signs!) during rush hour and trying to get them fined and trying to get the cops to come out and bust bike commuters for rolling stops. There have been articles in the Washington Post about it (search it)...so before you start trying to set a precedent for enforcement of adhering to the rules of the road, maybe take a moment to think about the rest of the cycling community...we all don't live and ride on the dark snowy roads of Milwaukee.

Fritz said...

I read your story in Mionske's column -- wow! Fight the good fight, man.

Sempre Duro Elite Cycling said...

That video is unbelievable...and unfortunately all too common. It's great that Velonews picked it up :)

Jeff said...

Mr. Anonymous from DC,
I don't consider this "ankle biter crap" and I don't think asking for the laws to be enforced equally "sheds a PITA light on cyclists and is a detriment to causes that really matter."
This driver came within inches of taking my life. That is a cause that really matters to me, and it's a cause that should matter to every cyclist because next time it might be someone else and it might not be the "dark roads" of Milwaukee. As far as the precedent you're concerned about me setting, I'm fine with cyclist who blatantly break the law being cited just like motorists who blatantly break the law.

Ken, I was riding smart. I was lit up like a Christmas tree and was obeying all the traffic laws. I hope I don't die out there, that is why I'm trying to change the behaviour of at least a few motorists.

Tank said...

"Common Sense", would have had you pull over to the side of the road. Tip your hat in thanks to the plow driver as he passed. Then take off again on the freshly plowed road.
You are doing nothing to help cyclists plight in their fight to gain respect on the roads.
Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

One question still needs to be answered. Did you know there was a snow plow behind you prior to it passing you? You have two video cameras on board so did you perhaps also have a mirror? Ears perhaps? If yes, common sense would dictate that perhaps the smart thing to do would have been to figure out a way to get off the road for a short while and allow the snowplow to pass in the interest of allowing the roads to be improved for your fellow citizens. We all have this challenge as we take our self propelled two wheel conveyance mechanisms out on public roads. Do we want to operate in a manner that is legally correct and possibly be dead right, or do we proceed with a certain degree of respect for reality? When I saw that you at least kept right on pedaling, my personal level of sympathy for your plight significantly diminished. Pick your battles. Good luck!

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jackp_m said...

do you give technical info on how you set up the two cameras? i've been wanting to do that for several years, but its just not something i know anything about. how do you weatherproof your system?
thanks

Jeff said...

Tank,
Does "common sense" ever tell you to pull your car off the road and let plows pass you? Does "common sense" tell me that I have to relinquish my right to be on the road for any other vehicles, or just plows? What about those folks who commute by bike and have to ride in bad weather, should "common sense" tell them to not go to work on snowy days, lest they encounter a plow on the road. I feel no shame for riding legally and safely, and I don't think surrendering my right to use the roads is likely to result in respect from motorists.

ROP said...

Tank, must be the snowplow driver's wife.

I ride all year long too. I ride to work, for errands, training, and fun. I don't own a car. I shouldn't have to. I live in Minneapolis, MN, so I travel by bike no matter what the weather.

Way to go Jeff!! Keep up the fight1 I am forwarding the Velonews column to our city works dept. and our mayor (who is an avid cyclist). Milwaukee should be ashamed of itself and the snowplow driver fired. Putting anyone's life at risk and the potential liability for the city is more than enough to form a basis for termination.

SiouxGeonz said...

Interesting perspectives... the old "but don't ask for too much from the Goliaths!" question reminiscent of Booker T. vs. W.E.B.
Were these "please don't go out if you don't have to" conditions? It doesn't look like it.

SiouxGeonz said...

Oh, but... why do you need to shovel the driveway anyway??

ROP said...

It's snowing out in Minneapolis. I am going out for my own personal critical snow mass!

Anonymous said...

As a cyclist who commutes big miles year round in Northern Wisconsin I wasn't convinced by your video that the snow plow driver wasn't careful. He did pull out and give you room. He didn't hit you. You didn't yield at all to help him negotiate around you.

You're a real primadonna. Sharing the road means give and take. A plow, like an ambulance, is a special case not just another commuter.

You probably need better ears, better lights and better manners. Those little LED flashers really aren't that visible. And two is not enough. Still, the plow obviously saw you and accommodated you.

I have five flashers to the back including a big double cateye and headlights so bright I get oncoming motorists to turn down their highbeams.

Still, if I heard a plow truck behind me I would slow down and move over. It's common sense.

Think about it. Driving a plow is demanding work. It's extra hours dealing with all kinds of morons. You're lucky he didn't kick your ass when you got lippy. You are, after all, in Milwaukee.

ROP said...

Why do all the jerks hide behind "anonymous"?

Yada, yada, yada...yeah you ride a bike. Sure you do. The fact you even need to mention you "commute big miles" to add to your "credibility" proves you are being untruthful.

WI state law does not make a snowplow the equivalent of an ambulance. The plow driver broke the law. Get over it. If he hates his job, he should quit rather than trying to kill law abiding citizens. I am sure Wal-Mart is hiring greeters.

Fonk said...

The "200 ft." arguement they tried to feed you was obviously crap, too, as the other cars in that video were all well within said 200ft. Did they suggest to you that all those motorists should have been cited for violating that law? I'm guessing not... Good luck, man! Keep fighting the good fight!

theRocket said...

Jeff,
I really appreciate that you filmed this incident and have made a public issue out of it. If I could have captured identifying information and damning evidence like this from any one of my close calls, I would do the same. So many times cyclists are treated like road kill because it is so easy to "hit-and-run" or "buzz, yell, and run". Motorists forget that they are shielded by many tons of reinforced, killer steel and do not appreciate the vulnerability.

Add to that, winter riding is seen as somewhat suicidal or reckless (obviously from the comments here), so this justifies treating you like some sort of law-breaking BASE jumper? I have lived in northern climates my whole life, and I also believe we have a right, even a duty, to transport ourselves with these devices year round. They are perfectly capable with the proper tires and handling skills, and it is an important demonstration of their usefulness. However, as with anything unfamiliar and new, the first few pioneers are seen more like perpetrators. Imagine how people with the first internal combustion engine were looked at with dumbfounded amazement - why would you dare drive around with something explosive in front of you? Now they are assumed to be the "proper" way to transport yourself, and bikes belong in the garage except for the occasional sunny ride down an idyllic, family-friendly pathway. Not so! Meanwhile, the smog & vehicle-choked cities continue to be overwhelmed by traffic-related deaths, obesity, heart & lung disease, budget shortfalls, long frustrating commutes, and many other related problems.

Ride on!

Anonymous said...

I post anon because I don't want another login to deal with among other reasons. Of course you pick on me for that because I don't fully agree with you. It's not like the majority of users are leaving their legal names. You really are a primadonna, aren't you Jeff, if that is your real name. ;-)

I am just an anonymous nobody. I'll let my words speak for themselves. I added that I ride just to let you know not all cyclists agree with you entirely. In full disclosure, I have also operated a lot of heavy machinery including road equipment and have plowed roads so I have a unique perspective on your plight.

My commute is seventy miles 3800' of climbing round trip to a full time job. I leave at 4:30 in the morning and get home at seven every day. Except on Wednesday Optimist meetings when I have to leave a little early. Part of my ride is along the roads to a casino. Suicidal elderly are much scarier than snowplows. I envy your camera.

No, Wisconsin law does not make a snowplow equal to an ambulance, and I didn't say that. Like an ambulance the snowplow does have extra privileges under the law which also burdens drivers with extra responsibilities when dealing with them. And yes by the letter of the law you are correct. While he did move left for you, that blade probably came within a foot and a half maybe two feet of you.

But then there is also the spirit of the law. And while you didn't follow the plow closer than 200' you also didn't accommodate him to help him pass. You should have turned around and made eye contact with him as you heard him approach. You should have slowed and moved right. Maybe add a friendly wave.

People don't drive snowplows for entertainment purposes. They drive them because it is their job to help other people. They don't want to hit you. They just want to do their jobs without being hassled. Hitting people means getting to bed even later and still having to get into work the next morning.

Operators put in long, odd hours. It is a very stressful thankless job. A foot, foot and a half on a machine that's probably 18 feet wide is still a small margin of error. He did visibly move over for you. You didn't make any concessions for him other than holding your line and screaming like a little girl.

I can fully see why they aren't going apeshit on him. To them you're just some idiot out for a joy ride and one of about a few thousand people who make life hell for snow plow operators. They feel lucky they got some chair moistener driving the damn plow not hitting cars and doing his job. He's probably union. They aren't going to crucify him.

I appreciate you pursuing this. But please temper it with some dignity. Take some time. Get some perspective so it's not so personal. Drive North and go for a real snow ride through the woods.

It might take awhile for it all to sink into their thick brat-stained brains and yours. Using a hammer isn't going to help. Remember when motorists yell at you much of the time it's because you scared them or at least blew their mind. At that point the next step is yours to win or lose.

You really won with that guy in the pickup truck by answering his question straight up.

I think you should make nice with the plow guy rather than taking on City Hall. Even if you did win, you might just end up with a lot of extra snow in your driveway for the next couple of years.

Every time we ride we are ambassadors for the sport. I council peace. I don't succeed every time, but I try.

Highway department guys love donuts. Send some over next time it snows.

goplacia said...

Reading about your struggle with the police and watching your video has brought up a large amount of anxiety for me. I hope you continue to find a resolution. That would be to me that the driver be issued a citation for driving to endanger. He clearly didn't respect you as a person.

It also bothers me a great deal that there are cyclist who disagree that someone would ride in a snowstorm. I have been hit before and hear arguments that I shouldn't have been on the road. If we allow conditions to be presented where we are not allowed on the road, we will loose are rights to ride on the road. The law or people do not respect us.

www.flickr.com/photos/goplacia

Anonymous said...

bro, good on you for keeping up the fight.

fridrix said...

This is not analogous to a car pulling over.

Anonymous said...

you were buzzed and, as a year rounder myself, it looks to me like you were trying to stay out of the plow's way. it also looks to me like you were maintaining nearly the speed of the other cars on the road.

that driver and your city's responses are scary...

Anonymous said...

I have seen many comments here concerning the use of "common sense" as it relates to the effected cyclist; however, I would like to add that with the explicit motor vehicle/traffic rules in place, such "common sense" is not required. In fact, what we really want to do is to avoid "common sense" through the use of codified laws. The sense, as it were, is not always that "common".

The question as to what responsibilities the winter cyclist and snow plow operator have, has been answered. Namely:
1) the cyclist was legally operating his bicycle in a manner consistent with the motor vehicle act. He was well marked, riding in a safe and predictable manner and obeying traffic laws as is required as a legal and lawful vehicle on the road.
2) the snow plow driver has been negligent of the fact that he is supposed pass another vehicle within a prescribed distance...which he did not.

The laws were created to remove question as to what is supposed to happen, and too often I see examples of one person's common sense being interpreted differently by others.

For example, I was stopped and sitting on my bicycle as a painted (on the road) stop section, waiting to make a left hand turn at the top of a T-intersection. The vehicles running at the top of the T had the right-of-way, so I waited for my turn and a safe moment to pull out (just like a car driver would). A van coming across the top of the "T" wanted to turn left which would have meant that he would pass in front of me...no problem as he has the right-away. Anyway, the van driver's common sense told him to ignore the rules of the road (which would be for him to proceed and for me to wait as I was doing) and to motion for me to proceed on my left hand turn to enter the top of the "T". Remember, the van driver had the right away but wanted to change the rules of the road at that moment and give it to me. I am sure he telepathically broadcast this change to all other drivers in the vicinity [sarcasm]. I didn't realize that on the other side of the van was another lane (to go straight through) with another car in it (obscured by the van) and that it was going to collide with me in the middle of the intersection. Luckily, I didn't get hit but was quickly reminded how the van driver's sense of politeness and common sense (and my willingness to take it and ignore the road rules) almost killed me.

In any event, common sense it not a factor in Jeff's story and the only argument to the contrary should be that the snow plow operator should have exercised more in terms of how much extra room he should have given the cyclist.

I don't believe the cyclist should have deviated from the motor vehicle rules as this would have been an unpredictable event...and we don't want these sorts of things happening on the road...who knows how they will be interpreted.

BTW: I have never pulled over for a snow plow coming from behind...and sure they are doing a service for the greater good; however, if that is such a paramount issue, why aren't people coming out in flocks to move their cars parked by the side of the road? Because the plow will go around them (hopefully by a safe distance). I believe the plow driver is an example of the mentality that "I'm bigger [on the road] and you have to ignore the rules of the road and follow my lead [read: give in to my will and desire]", despite what the motor vehicle act indicates.". I see it with bus drivers as well and have had near misses with them when I have been driving my car. Often, they do not seem to care that they are supposed to take the lane closest to them when turning left (or right) onto a two lane road (both lanes in the same direction), while the care driver turning right (or left) is supposed to do the same. In my experience, when the bus driver wants to get to the opposite side of the road, they simply cut across because they are "bigger", not because they are the legal position to do so.

Anyway, these dangers face car drivers, so we can all imagine what happens to cyclists who are often seen as riders of toys, not legitimate transportation vehicles.
Sorry for the lengthy comments but I got all worked up.

Jeff...we cycling Canadians are rooting for you. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to assist you in your efforts to educate as to what is legal and not legal.

Cheers
Derek

Sudsey said...

Hey Jeff,
I totally appreciate that you are trying to fight for us all on the road, but please don't piss off the plow drivers. In doing his job (he's not a commuter), he is doing us a big favor by clearing the roads making it easier for us to ride. By making him pull around you there is a section of the road that did not get plowed. Nobody has the right to impede Public Works from making the roads safer for everyone (no matter how many wheels you're on). I'd expect a slow moving car to get out of the plows way, so why are we different?

Thanks for clearing the snow for all of us cyclists Mr. Plow. Safe riding Jeff.

Anonymous said...

bro...im all about the freedom of the bike and our legal rights...but if you knew there was a snowplow behind ya...dude...slide over..stop..let the guys pass and ride on...not as a defeatist attitude...but "i was in the right" makes a shitty epitath.

MacArhture Rowe said...

I heard about this through the icebike list and am surprised at the general feeling that this has anything to do with bicycles.

Whether it was a cyclist, a dog, a parked car, etc. - a professional driver should know better and err on the side of caution - don't you think?

What I find most depressing is the official response to this. You'd think the driver's boss would at least set things straight. We are not talking about an emergency vehicle here - as laws throughout North America testify to. If the driver was so concerned, he could have radioed a police car to talk to the biker. That's a job for law enforcement, not snow removal.

To me, this looks like a simple case of vigilante justice - the snowplow driver was trying to teach the biker a lesson. That is not acceptable anywhere in the free world, less so at the hands of a public servant.

This event is obviously stirring up some deeply emotional responses. Lets hope reason will prevail on all sides.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeff,

what kind of cameras do you put on your bike? I have been thinking of doing the same thing. Any tips and ideas would be helpful.

Michael

Adam said...

I'm pretty appalled at the idiots who think Jeff is in the wrong here.

As a winter commuter (not just saying this to build my credibility, by the way...) I can understand the stupidity and lack of comprehension that drivers (and yes, snow plows too...) have toward cyclists. I've had garbage trucks, plows, SUVs, little tiny cars and pedestrians complicate my cycling efforts of several occasions. So, Jeff, I understand where you're coming from. Further, good for you for being smart enough to install cameras to prove your innocence.

I read Mionske's column about this incident. It's too bad he doesn't work for the city's department of justice. The unfortunate reality is that it takes one to know one. Without having a fellow cyclist behind those desks or the wheels of the plows, it will be hard to get the understanding and compassion that you deserve.

Keep up the fight, though. And for those that disagree, I can't wait until you have a problem on the roads and recall how ridiculous you acted toward Jeff's incident.

Glenn Ammons said...

The snowplow driver was wrong and ought to be cited and reprimanded. He's a professional, driving a vehicle that sprays snow, and he buzzes a cyclist? A not-so-unlikely result is that you fall into his blade! He had no right to endanger you.

I do think that you should pull over for the snow plows. It's the polite thing to do and it's not a great inconvenience. But, if you don't pull over, that's not a smack-a-cyclist-free card.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but we can't neglect the fact that Jeff clipped in and started riding out into the road right before the plow was coming by.

1. That in itself is not a good move to make in traffic. If you are not planning to outrun the plow then wait the extra 10 seconds and let it pass. It would be to your benefit to ride behind the plow because it's clearing the street for you.
2. You could have pulled over and let the plow pass because you know that it's job is to clear the street from snow. Pull over and let it pass.
3. On the road you need to be smart even if you have the right of way. You are on a bike, they are in a 2 ton metal box on wheels with a motor that makes a hell of a lot more horse power then you (you make 1/4 horse power at best). You will not win the head to head match.
People on bikes have to learn to avoid motorists. That is what keeps you alive. You cannot rely on people in cars/trucks to move around you. You need to make the moves.
I am a cyclist that runs in the streets on Manhattan. You know those guys that blast through the streets at 30 mph. I log over 6000 miles a year. One thing I have learned in my 25 years on the road is to ride and avoid cars. I don't sit in my lane and expect that the driver has seen me just because it's my right of way. When you ride a bike you need to be 100 percent focused on what is going on around and you need to make the moves. Don't expect others to make the moves around you because for you it might be fatal.

mtnbay said...

Here is an excerpt from John Forester's Website dealing with Effective Cycling. It applies to the current topic but I am not sure if it could be construed as in favor of Jeff's side of the argument or the other side. I am not sure myself.
From John Forester http://www.johnforester.com/
However, most people are most concerned about what they consider to be the dangers of motor traffic. Staying away from traffic is how they describe safe cycling, and if you cannot stay away from it you have to fight it, which makes cycling worrisome and dangerous, so they say. Fighting with cars would be utterly foolish, but that's not what you do. Instead of fighting with cars, you cooperate with other drivers, so that you all get home safely. Participating in, cooperating with the traffic system, obeying the same rules of the road as other drivers, acknowledging their rights while claiming your own, that's the key to safe and confident cycling in traffic. Vehicular cycling, so named because you are acting as the driver of a vehicle, just as the traffic laws require, is faster and more enjoyable, so that the plain joy of cycling overrides the annoyance of even heavy traffic.
mtnbay says:
But here is my take, Yes Jeff you have a right to the road, and the Snow Plow Driver must treat you as any vehicle. Yet you are not just any vehicle, you are a cyclist who in not as visible as cars, trucks buses and so on. Plow Drivers when attending to road clearing duties after a large snowfall will work long hours. So even though you are within your rights to the road, do not expect the plow driver to see you ahead in the blowing snow while fatigued from the extra hours of clearing snow. So it is my opinion that you have no common sense as you are a mere mortal on a bike with no regard for your own safety.

Anonymous said...

I am all for riding my bike outside. I too live in WI and cold and snow are a part of our lives. But when it is cold and snowy I just commute by bike and do my training indoors. Not the most fun I'll agree, but more safe for certain. That was a close call by the plow but perhaps yielding to him would have made your ride, not to mention his job, easier. I was looking at your other videos and I noticed that on your foggy day video few if any of the riders had lights on and some were crossing the center line on descents. Both of these are not safe. Just thought I should point that out since we are discussing bicycling traffic laws and being safe.

-Chris

Jeff said...

Chris,
On the foggy ride, most of the riders had both headlights and taillights on. I am not responsible for the riders who did not. I wish they had used lights, but since the majority of the group had head lights and tail lights, I believe we were sufficiently visible.
As far as going over the center line, I don't believe any of us crossed a solid yellow line. We were passing each other when it was safe to do so. Thanks for commenting
Jeff

Jim G said...

I'm somewhat surprised that the plow driver didn't honk his horn at you -- either in frustration/anger OR as a warning...?!?

bikesgonewild said...

...i applaud your right to, & your intrepid spirit for, riding in any conditions...

...i deplore civic officials who trivialize the seriousness of cycling concerns...

...that said, selfish move, dude...

...pull over, wave thanks that the man is making the road safer for ALL users, go back to your ride...

...you've then accommodated a man just trying to do his job & you've fostered a little goodwill w/ a 'public works dept' that maintains the very roads you ride on all year round...

...use your head for more than a place to store your helmet...

Anonymous said...

Talk about callous disregard for other people's lives!

I'm so happy I don't live there...

Anonymous said...

I would seriously hope that the negative comments are not from commuter or serious cyclists. The fact that the plow came that close to you at the end of a long extention means that he was trying to send you a "message" to get out of his way. I did NOT hear a signal of any kind to let you know he was coming up on you to let you know. If he had, there may be a small margin of "at least turn around and look". The fact that he only said " get off the road" confirms that he was sending you a "message". A message that could kill you with a very small margin of error.

If you could ride a bike in the weather, there was no "he had to plow to keep motorists safe blah blah blah.

I hope you keep going with this.

Anonymous said...

I ride to work every day ! 20kms return. My greatest fear is the snow plow ! -39 with the wind this morning, blowing snow. I will pull over for Mr plow, just don't fill my boots with snow on the way by !

Yves Lamothe
Timmins, ontario

Anonymous said...

Jeff is right - the Schlubb Plow Driver [and his so-called superiors] are wrong...period.

Way to go, Jeff! Ride (safely) On!

Schlubb Plow Driver will have diabetes in a few years, along with some chronic coronary obstructive disease from the brats and donuts - take solace in that.

figgs - Kalamazoo, MI

Ethan said...

Was it the most considerate thing Jeff could have done to NOT pull over and let the plow pass? No it wasn't but does that give the snow plow driver the right to buzz him and risk killing him? NO. If Jeff had fallen he could easily have fallen in front of the plow, or fallen into the wheels of the plow. Yeah the driver is tired and grumpy and works weird hours but that doesn't mean he has free license to put someone else's life at risk.

evblazer said...

I used to ride in the snow all the time up in Connecticut. Maybe I am just chicken or something but I yielded the road to plows on many occasions. From that video is might have cost you 3 second so to pull into one of those plowed driveways/walkways you passed all the way up to when the truck was next to you. Doing so on a commute might have cost me oh 30 seconds but was a gesture of goodwill and "sharing" of the road just like pulling off a narrow two lane when traffic is slowed down and they can't pass.
Who knows what that plow blade is going to kick up besides snow?

Yeah the driver should have given you more room or honked and yelled at you until you did what you should have done in the first place (move out of his lane) if he wanted to stay his line but he was behind you in the video for almost a minute where he was clearly visible. You both should get a ticket.

oهδ said...

I had a snow plow pass me once, I just moved into the left lane when I saw him coming and let him continue plowing the right lane. But that is not exactly a lawful riding on my part.

I have to say that I am rather shocked by some of the comments; there is absolutely no justification for a plow to pass that closely to a cyclists that close, period! The plow could have stayed behind the cyclists and honked his horn a few times to communicate that the cyclists was in the way and give time for the cyclists to get out of the way safely. The speed difference between the plow and the cyclists was not anywhere near high enough to justify reckless endangerment of life. If it is expected that the cyclists should have delayed his journey by some odd seconds to accommodate safe passing then that same expectation should also be applied to the driver of the plow as well.

As I cyclists I expect people to pass me safely or communicate that I am in the way and give me time to safely get out of the way. The whole expectations that cyclists need to be mind readers and should have known that was going to happen is total BS.

-=Barry=-

Dean said...

Jeff,
I grew up in WI, lived in MPLS for years without any car (ie rode my bike 12 months a yr) and now do most of my riding in the predawn hours. I've seen a lot of crazy weather and a lot of stupid drivers. You have every right to be out on the road at all hours of the day/night and in whatever weather Mother Nature throws at you. And drivers of cars, buses and snow plows should respect that right. But any cyclist, who expects the bus driver or snow plow driver or even the hippie in the Prius to give you a wide berth during a snowstorm in the dark, is living in a fantasy. What the #$%@ are you thinking??? You sound like a bitter guy who has taken it upon himself to be the Bicycle Vigilante. And at what cost? Do you ever feel great after a bike ride or are you always fighting with road rage? Even if you succeed at getting some idiot driver a ticket, there will always be a thousand more where that guy came from. Haven't you figured that out by now?? I've found that cyclists who respect the rules of the road (including the unwritten ones, like snow plows are a lot bigger than you) will get more respect from drivers. Getting up in some driver's face and starting a shouting match is just going to cause the next unsuspecting cyclist that that driver encounters to get the bitch slap that you deserve. And finally, you should strap your video cameras to your ass so when your head gets runover the local sheriff can still watch the video. And if your lucky, maybe you'll get to be a Bicycle Martyr on Utube.

Jeff said...

The first part of this is for Dean,

Yes, I expect everyone to see me because I'm lit up like a Christmas tree. I don't ride as if they have seen me, because I know that even if they do see me they may run me over.

I'm not bitter. If you'd taken the time to read the bulk of the post regarding the snowplow driver, I said it was one of the best winter rides I've ever had, depite the snow plow incident.

I respect the rules of the road, one of which by the way is not, "snow plows are a lot bigger than you", and I don't get up in drivers faces and get into shouting matches.

For many others who have posted:
It would be very helpful in your effort to make constructive posts if you actually read the material about which you're commenting.
Bikesafer
Jeff

Jeff said...

The first part of this is for Dean,

Yes, I expect everyone to see me because I'm lit up like a Christmas tree. I don't ride as if they have seen me, because I know that even if they do see me they may run me over.

I'm not bitter. If you'd taken the time to read the bulk of the post regarding the snowplow driver, I said it was one of the best winter rides I've ever had, depite the snow plow incident.

I respect the rules of the road, one of which by the way is not, "snow plows are a lot bigger than you", and I don't get up in drivers faces and get into shouting matches.

For many others who have posted:
It would be very helpful in your effort to make constructive posts if you actually read the material about which you're commenting.
Bikesafer
Jeff

Anonymous said...

The plow itself looks dangerous and difficult to operate, with that extended blade. My take is that the plow driver must obey the law or be cited. As a professionl driver, he should know and follow the laws more closely.

Kenneth said...

I read the your story from bikeforums.net. Sorry that there are people who were bashing you over there. I believe you are doing the right thing. Good luck with the fight.

Anonymous said...

I drive a street bike so I know what cars, trucks etc can and will do. If I see or hear something coming up behind me that might cause me injury you can bet I will pull over out of the way legal or not. Being right and being dead don't matter much. You know right well you could hear that plow coming up being you and he seemed to be there for quite awhile so it's not like you didn't have time to pull over out of harm's way. I also am surprised he didn't honk or maybe he did I have no idea. I also drive big equipment so for him to swerve around you might have been dangerous too. I think he gave you time to pull out of the way, he still shouldn't have "buzzed" you but you both need to wake up. I'll keep checking back on your site now and again so I can say what a shame it was that you were hit and killed doing what you love. Ride defensive and safe. says, Cantoo

Anonymous said...

I'd like to point out that most of the people who bash you choose to use the Anonymous tag, then fail to put their name in the comment. It says a lot about how they think, actually.

To the people who said "You were on a bike, you should have pulled over" I'll point out that 99% of people don't pull over in their CARS for a plow. The cars in the video don't either. The plow follows the cars in the video, slowly as they proceed, then accelerates when he passes the cyclist (and way too close).

Yes, you can say "If it were me, I'd pull over and let the plow pass, then follow him" (presumably at 200 ft or farther...) but that is not the issue. The issue is a snowplow that did an unsafe and illegal maneuver, which could easily have killed the cyclist. This was then followed by civil authorities (those folks who are paid to protect the public) ignoring or even blaming the cyclist, rather than the snow plow driver.

The plow driver drives early hours in crummy weather? He performs a service for other drivers? So what? 400 thousand truckers do that every year. Hundreds of thousands of tow truck operators do even more. Working in lousy weather, or in early hours, or being tired - none of those are excuses for using your vehicle like that. The plow driver was wrong, period. He could have followed behind the cyclist until the cyclist turned, or he could have changed lanes and plowed the other lane as he passed - which is what they HAVE to do when there is a CAR in the lane where the cyclist was! The plow driver got impatient or frustrated, and then did something that almost ended in a tragedy. If it had been a car where the bike was, the plow driver would have simply followed along, or changed to a clear lane - thats the policy for a plow operator in nearly every state.

For those of you who posted negative comments about the cyclist, go back and reread your post, except I want you to imagine a different ending. One where in the video, the plow throws enough snow to cause the cyclist to fall and slide under the plow, killing him. Would you still say "yeah, he buzzed you man, but you deserved it"?

If it were me, I'd be contacting an attorney (there are many who specialize in cycling accidents) as well as the local news channel. You've given the responsible authorities plenty of opportunities to address the incident 'in-house' and in private. Time for some publicity. Public servants who don't serve the public are like cockroaches, they scramble when you shine a light on them.

Matt K.
Tampa, FL

Dean M said...

It is unsafe for all concerned, cyclist and motorist alike for a cyclist to be out after dark in a snowstorm.

Now I applaud you for cycling to help the environment, reduce traffic, improve your health, etc, but when it risks my safety, then that's where I draw the line. I have a real problem with cyclist having the same rights as I do as a motorist.

Ignoring this incident completely, please explain to me how it is not dangerous for a cyclist to be riding on a two lane road around a blind corner or hill???? A cyclist riding at 10mph is a hazard to traffic that is travelling at 55 mph. Cyclist cry for their "rights" to be followed, but RARELY do I see a cyclist following the laws of the road. Whether it be stopping at stop sign (or light), signaling to turn, etc. You can't have it both ways!! Until the infrastructure can handle both cars and bikes, then I don't feel as though the cyclist should have the same rights. Just my personal opinion.

Jeff said...

Dean,
I understand it is your opinion that cyclists shouldn't have the same rights as motorists, but as of right now they do. Until such time as the legislature or the courts take action to change that we all have to live by those laws.
I don't, as you say, "have it both ways" I follow the law when I ride, and I see far more motorists not stopping for stop lights than cyclists. Regardless of what other cyclists may or may not do, I shouldn't have my safety jeopardized because some other cyclist may not be following the law.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is you are a moron. Please enjoy winter riding as much as you like but try thinking about someone other than yourself and yielding to a snow plow making the roads safer for all. That did not look like a few inches to me in your video. Just another trouble maker with too much time on his hands. Good luck to you. You will need it. I hope you have good life insurance for your family. Almost not even worth commenting but sometimes you just need a to call a spade a spade.

Anonymous said...

I am both a cyclist and a plower.

Yes you have a legal right... dose that mean you HAVE to exercise it. I know the law says drivers have to keep their windshield clear, and drivers have to pay attention... you are riding in the worst conditions. At night, snowing. What happens if a drunk comes up, or or a car with bad tires and he gets thrown around by slush, drops his coffee, wind shield fogged up or just tired from plowing for 24 Hrs.
You know you have problems with drivers (the cameras) and yet you insist on exercising your right to ride a bicycle in the worst conditions, on the streets with god knows who is driving.

You are right, some day you will be dead right and ruin 2 lives.

Anonymous said...

You can clearly see you stopped to start the recording when the plow came close. This was done 100% intentionally with no regard to the others on the road. This plow did not sneak up on you with both blades down. Also, notice that the plow is ~17 feet wide. Your convenient video does not show the left most portion of the plow. Where was that in relation to oncoming traffic or the median? IMO you are just out looking for trouble.
There is a place and time for everything, biking on the street in front of plow during a snow storm is very irresponsible.

Jeff said...

Mr. anonymous, or I should say the "latest Mr. anonymous,

I started the recording when I left home. I didn't publish the whole thing so as to save viewers the time of having to look through 2 hours of video to see the incident.
My video shows the entire plow up until the point where he almost hits me. I was not out looking for trouble I was out riding my bike and trouble found me in the plow driver.

Even if biking in the snow is irresponsible, almost killing someone with your mulitple ton truck is illegal and morally reprehensible. I guess we all have to decide which is worse.

Anonymous said...

That is BS. You are clearly just starting to move when the video starts. I can tell you exactly what you did. 1)You went out looking for trouble 2) You went to a busy street 3) You waited for a plow truck to come into view 4)You started recording 5) You made yourself appear to be a victim to get some publisity when in fact the drive of the plow is the victim here 6) You placed your life and the lives of others in danger.

Tom

Anonymous said...

I plow snow in WIsconsin and honestly the plow driver was being nice. He clearly stayed back for a while hoping you would get off the road so he could go through with out nailing you. You in your stubbornness did not move so he went around you..
Don't be mad at the plow driver for your stupidity. If you want to ride a bike in the winter great for you but he is just trying to do his JOB.
People think it easy just sitting in a truck and driving well sorry to burst your bubble but its not. you are constantly watching out for other people and when you have been plowing for 15+ hours straight it gets to be a little frustrating.
People like you complain when the roads aren't clear but then you don't help the situation.

Anonymous said...

My name is Karl. I got that out of the way cause I did not want to be accused of hiding. You are a friggen idiot!! You should have moved over for the plow. A car is maintaining a proper speed and not required to move over. I live in NY and on the NYS Thruway even the 18 wheelers are required to move to the shoulder and run the four ways if they cannot maintain proper speed.

The next thing you will be whining about is a rise in taxes to pay the plow drivers overtime because they were forced to ride behind your slow moving vehicle for half the night!!

Get some common sense. The fact that you have a camera on your bike tells me you were looking for trouble to start with.

I just hope you don't end up dead because of your stupidity. You family might actually miss you!!!

Jeff said...

Mr. Tom anonymous,
How nice for you to be all knowing, however you are incorrect in your assessment of my actions. I didn't go out and wait for a plow, I was waiting at a stoplight that had turned red. If you care to trade your anonymity for a constructive discussion, I'll be happy to email you a copy of the whole video so you can see that I had been riding for about 20 minutes on 5 or more different streets when the plow incident occurred. Let me know and then we can have an intelligent discussion, if not and you just want to bash me anonymously, feel free.

To the anonymous plow driver,
I didn't say it was easy to drive a plow, but if it is too hard to do safely, get another job. He, and you if you really are a plow driver, both have a responsibility to be able to actually avoid those people he, as you say, "constantly watches out for"
How could you possibly know whether I complain when the roads aren't clear. Do we know each other? I would have some idea if I knew who you were.

To Karl,
I was maintaining the same speed as the car so I was not required to move over either. I fail to see the relevance of 18 wheelers in NY having to move over on the Thruway. I'm not in NY and I'm not driving an 18 wheeler. Perhaps you should check the laws that apply where the incident occurred. Send me an email and I'll be happy to send you a link.

Come on people. Let's have an honest intelligent discussion with out the name calling and ridiculous assumptions.
Bikesafer
Jeff

Anonymous said...

"Let,s have an intelligent honest discussion". Give us all a break
"Bikesafer Jeff". 1st. off you have
your own website. A little bit of
vanity maybe?? Maybe a lot. I probably shouldn't be even talking
to someone as cool as you. Secondly
your "Bikesafer" at the end is about as stupid a statement as I
can imagine coming from someone who would ride in that kind of weather. Sadly, I find it just too
bad that you weren't hit. The biking world would be better off without you, even if you are really
as cool as you must think you are.

inc123 said...

Fighting for what is right is what is right!

Only a few of us would bother or care. It says a great deal about your conscious. Way to go!

It's shocking how other cyclists don't stick up for each other, our rights, our safety...

Anonymous said...

"Fighting for what is right is what is right"(inc123). Could be the worst quote in history. It
would seem to me that between yourself and this Jeff guy you both prove the old (or new) axiom
of "you can't fix stupid".

Dennis Noward
Toledo, Ohio

Anonymous said...

Yes, When I am driving in my car and a snowplow is bearing down. I get out of the way. Not to pigeonhole snowplow drivers I would like to comment that most the plow drivers I know are the drug store truck drivin man type who for the most part are not fond of "sissy" bike riders. Based on that alone I see your stund as nothing more than baiting anger out of someone. Pull over next time.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I am not saying this is the right thing to do but if that happened to me the snowplow driver would have been in the hospital. Did you go to the city and report him? People think that snowplows have the right of way when in fact they dont. Just because they are bigger does not give them special rights. You need to hunt that driver down and......

well maybe not hunt him down but when it happens this winter take care of it for good. Legally or not

ROP said...

Hey Jeff, I hope you don't mind that I linked your blog to an article regarding cyclists on "Dvorak Uncensored".

http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=19335#comments