Thursday, September 11, 2008

"We're only asking for half of what the strippers got."

I found this column about a dangerous stretch of road in Ohio, and the cyclists who ride there. Unfortunately the title of the column is " Bicyclists should do their part for safety ". I believe cyclists should do their part for safety, but the greatest threat many cyclists face is not under their control.

Late in the column one cyclist says a 3 foot law, (like we have in Wisconsin), would help make cyclists safer. He points out that the Ohio legislature was working on a bill that would require patrons at strip clubs to stay at least 6 feet from strippers. He believes cyclists should get at least some protection from the legislature, even if it is only half the protection strippers get from their customers. The columnist says " That would help, but only if the driver can see the bicyclist and has time to react."

I say it might help but only if you can convince the authorities to enforce the law once it takes effect.



CycloneCross said...

Jeff- Thanks for posting about this article. I'd heard about it before, but hadn't taken the time to read it. Like many other news accounts it's blatantly slanted against the cyclist. From the article: "Everything about that route -- frequent big-truck and semi traffic, two narrow lanes, an uneven gravel berm, 40-mph speed limit and no sidewalks -- conspires against them and the bicyclists with whom they share the road." The road doesn't need to be shared simply "because that's just about where the bus route ends"; it needs to be shared because that's the law and because cyclists have a right to use the road. Also, the mention that there are no sidewalks is not particularly helpful, as it is often illegal and less safe to ride on the sidewalk.

"Dressed all in black and without a helmet, his sole source of safety is his head, which he turns to look behind him when traffic approaches from the front. If it's coming from behind, too, the 45-year-old French knows he must steer onto the gravel to avoid a collision, one that almost surely would kill him." The article briefly mentions French knows he needs better gear, but can't afford with his $7.50/hr income. I was going to say that he ignores 'his sole source of safety' by neglecting his visibility. Heck a white tee shirt would go a long way to increase his visibility.

However, I think it is irresponsible journalism to include this description of French's riding in an article referring to Tracey Corbin without saying the following. (From: an earlier Dispatch news article) "He had lights on the bike, front and back - reflectors, too. And he always wore an orange safety vest to stand out in the early-morning dark." The article you link to further implies that Tracey Corbin wasn't taking adequate precautions here: "Since Corbin's death, the 50-year-old Nimmo has installed two blinking red lights and a yield-shaped sign on his bike. Reflective letters that spell out Don't Kill Me are affixed to the sign, which faces the traffic behind Nimmo. He centered a 3-foot dowel along the top edge of the sign to give passing truckers and other drivers a notion of how much room he needs in the darkness of his own morning commute." Corbin had done his part for safety. For Ann Fisher's commentary to imply otherwise is disgraceful.

I would say that instead of a bicycle lane, a road signage reminding motorists to share the road or watch for cyclists might be a better stop-gap measure. I love Nimmo's comment about the stripper law though. HB 390 was killed in the OH Senate. If it had passed, the driver who killed Tracey Corbin would have likely been charged with violating it. As it is, I don't think he's been charged with anything.

CycloneCross said...

I have a feeling you'll enjoy this post. It's about a police officer and his interaction with a white box truck.

Sorry if this is a double post, not sure if it went through before.


gwadzilla said...

oh man!

if the drivers stay more than three feet away from me
than how are they going to stuff the dollar bills in my riding shorts?

Brent said...

Seeing Tracey in a coffin was a wake up call. I had been biking with just one headlight and one tailight and my vest. For law purposes, that is enough. But to be seen on a stretch of road with no street lights where oncoming semi's us their brights, you need more. Last time I biked Alum Creek, a Franklin County Sheriff stopped me and threatened to give me a ticket if he caught me biking on Alum Creek again. I am fairly certain he no he had no grounds to give me a ticket, and just wanted to intimidate me off the road to save my life...