Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Allies and Adversaries

How ironic, that on the same day the New Berlin Police Chief and I discussed ways to increase bike safety on New Berlin roads, and insure prosecution of the most egregious illegal passing violations, The Brookfield Police Department tells me that they don’t care what is on my video, they don't even want to see it, (see below) they won’t be issuing a citation to the driver of the car that made this pass. But that is not what took the relationship to an adversarial level.

I was told by a Lieutenant at The Brookfield Police Department that if a bike was only travelling 10 mph the bicyclist has no right to be in an active traffic lane on any road in Brookfield. I will be writing letters and trying to contact the Chief of Police in Brookfield, or the Assistant Chief, whom I was told, is informing his officers that bicyclists must use the paved shoulder even if it is covered in sand. Stay tuned for updates on both the positive developments from New Berlin and the outcome of the Brookfield situation.


Ronsta said...

Check out urbanvelo today!
Keep it up!

Brookfield is the epitome of suburban sprawl. The mentality there is bikes only belong on some paved bike path around a man-made pond or on the roof rack of an SUV!

akahn said...

The sandy shoulder that this time of year brings is very perilous. Motorists don't take into account that cyclists really can't simply ride through the sand.

steevo said...

I am not super smart or anything, but I think if a state law says something, local police cant make up their own laws that are the exact opposite of it.
In PA we have the "far right as practicable" law, practicable has been defined as what an experienced rider feels it is. IE, not in the f ing sand.
awesome blog. I rss'ed it. keepit up.

Jeff said...

They can if the Assistant Police Chief tells them to, and if no one calls them on it. Even after they are called on it they can do whatever they want until or unless someone fights their actions in court. I hope it doesn't come to that. To that end, I've asked the City Attorney to insure that they fully understand bicycle related laws, which, right now they apparently do not. She is supposed to get back to me next week. I'll update then. For now the wx is great and I've got miles to ride.

Ed W said...

Jeff, have you considered riding further to the left in that lane, putting roughly a third of it to your right and two thirds to the left? I can't determine your position really well from the video, but it appears you're about 2 feet out from the fog line. Moving just a little bit further to the left forces motorists to pass legally.

I really like what you're doing with the video cameras!

tom said...

Maybe the videos don't really do it justice, but to be frank I think you're pretty lucky. We get far worse here in Sydney on a regular basis. Just be grateful they aren't passing you like that all the time (i.e., every second vehicle that passes you is a little too close).

Are you taking exception to the distance between you and the car, or the fact that they pass you illegally (without moving into the oncoming lane)?

Don't get me wrong. Sydney has some of the worst cycle infrastucture going and I support all sensible efforts to improve cycle safety. Still, common sense should prevail...

Jeff said...


I'm beginning to think the videos don't do justice to how dangerous these passes really are. I'm working on a demonstration to show how close a 3 foot pass really is and to show that the passes I've called authorities about were far closer.

I think I'm pretty lucky too. With the miles that I ride, I sometimes wonder why one of these idiot drivers hasn't hit me already.

I'm "taking exception" to the fact that when they pass me the way that they do, they are coming within inches of causing serious injury or death, just to save a couple seconds from their drive.
I don't want to be laying in the ditch in bloody heap.

I'm sorry that things are so bad where you ride, but just because it might be worse somewhere else, that doesn't mean it can't be made better where I am. I don't think that attitude is lacking common sense.

If there's a better way to stay safe, I'd love to hear any ideas you might have.