Saturday, December 26, 2009
Actually it came in the mail a few days before Christmas. It was for "failure to keep right" and it was from the November 3rd incident. I understand that the driver got 2 tickets, one for the illegal pass and the other for swerving and stopping short in front of me. I plan to fight my ticket. I'll have more info when the case is resolved.
The school bus driver from a few weeks ago apparently got a good talking to by his bosses and some retraining. Those darn funny shaped signs with the word stop written on them can be pretty confusing.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I don't know if the driver intended to put me in the ditch, but that matters very little when I'm fighting to stay upright on a shoulder which consists of jagged baseball sized rocks. My early contact with West Allis Police didn't seem promising. I got many of the usual responses, but the Sgt. agreed to look at the video and after he did he said that the driver was indeed in the wrong. He said that he would talk to the driver one more time and if he lied to him again about what actually happened he'd give him a ticket. The driver of course said I was in the middle of the road, and that he gave me plenty of room.
Thanks to the West Allis Police for getting it right again. Every time I've made a complaint with them they've gotten it right in the end.
What made Tuesday interesting was the fact that there were 2 incidents. The second involved an angry school bus driver who pulled out in front of me from a stop sign. He was angry until I told him his bosses would see the video of his driving and his cursing me out afterward. I stressed to his bosses at least 3 times that I didn't want him to lose his job over this, I just wanted him to be more careful.
Still no word on what is happening with the guy who actually put me in a ditch from a few weeks ago. I'll keep you updated on all of these incidents.
Bikesafer and Happy Thanksgiving
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
He was gifted photographer, a great friend and most importantly an extraordinary father. He leaves behind 2 beautiful daughters. His passion for his craft and for his family was inspiring. His self deprecating humor and quick wit were entertaining. All this made him one of the best friends of my adult life.
Good bye old friend
Monday, November 23, 2009
For anyone interested in an update from my last post, I'd love to give you one but I'm still waiting for an update myself. When I get more info I'll definitely post it.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Ex-Doc Found Guilty of Assaulting Cyclists
Maybe, just maybe, this will teach other like minded criminals to think twice before using their vehicles as weapons.
Hopefully the fact that the judge ordered him held until sentencing means he plans on giving him some substantial prison time.
In one of the stories about the verdict they mention that the doctor claimed they were riding 3 abreast. How can 2 cyclists ride 3 abreast? Maybe that's one of the reasons the jury called BS on his defense.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
It seems like every Sheboygan WORS race I've ever done it's been a great sunny fall day. It was a little cool but that's what fall in Wisconsin is all about.
Speaking of fall, I took too many of them in this race. I was battling for second in age group when a bad line put me on the "Sheboygan slickrock".
Sunday, October 4, 2009
It's cyclcross season again, and that means suffering. I think it's the hardest thirty or forty minutes (depending on category and race organizer) in cycling. It is fun though when you get a good course set up. Lapham isn't my favorite course, but it's good practice for the rest of the season.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I say bike lanes. What? Fall is a great time to ride not just to see leaves change color but for the fall colors in the foods you find and the different places you find to ride. Cyclocross brought us to the Madison area.
Produce brought us to the Captiol square. Mrs. Bikesafer and I rode around Madison after a stop at their farmers market for some heirloom tomatoes to go with our fresh basil from the garden, 18 year old balsamic, olive oil and fresh mozzerella.
What an interesting place to ride. Bike paths all over the place, and bike lanes on almost every busy street. Not just bike lanes, we have those in Milwaukee too, but in Madison most of them are clear of debris and potholes, and more importantly DOORS. Almost every bike lane in MKE is unrideable because of the proximity to the door zone.
We also rode in our first ever protected and contra-flow bike lane on University ave. It was a good ride.
But with fall not only the leaves seem to change. The drivers are starting to get cranky. I got an earful yesterday from Mr. SUV, who passed into oncoming traffic to get to the stop sign a few seconds ahead of me only to wait there to bitch at me about "us guys", (cyclists) getting out of control.
I also learned that in SUV land, cyclists aren't allowed to use the roads. As he drove off, the wife or mistress or whatever yelled "you gotta be safe". Yes I agree, and how safe is it to pass (anyone) if you have to go into oncoming traffic?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
It's been a bad stretch of rides lately. 3 flats on the last 4 road rides. 2 flats in the Ore to Shore and one on the ride back to the hotel from the race, then last night on the tandem with Mike, that squishy feeling came twice and we didn't have another tube. Well we did but it was a road tube. So we limped home on a squishy road tube in a mtb tire after one patch job. Change tubes again and back out for a nice night ride by the lake. On the way back some lady in a van came about 3 inches from giving us a serious dooring. Let's hope that covers the flats and the near doorings for a while.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Johnny G. wanted to test out his lights and his mad night riding skills before the WEMS night race so we took advantage of the near full moon and headed to the kettles. It took me half the lap to get into a flow but it was a great night to ride.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
You may wonder how finishing 2 races on wheels with broken spokes is a good thing, well it is because in both cases, while I did hear the distinctive tink tink sound of the spoke bouncing around off other spokes, I never heard a brake rub (yes I'm still the only guy running rim brakes) because the wheel(s) barely went out of true thanks to the way the spokes are offset to reduce stress. So I kept racing as hard as I could go. Eventually I stopped worrying so much about finishing. O.K. that's not true, but I knew the wheel would hold up, I just worried that the spoke would wrap around my derailleur and snap that off.
I was going to let this post only be about the race, but I saw a story on the news I have to comment on.
The story was about how Madison Police gave out 10 tickets to cyclists who ran a red light or stop sign last Wednesday as part of a national bicycle safety education grant.
I'm not condoning running lights or stop signs, but it's my experience that every single cyclist who runs stop signs or lights knows it is illegal and potentially unsafe. It is also my experience that few, if any drivers who buzz cyclists, know anything about the 3 foot law meant to keep law abiding cyclists safe from motorists. So if if the grant is for bicycle safety education, wouldn't the money be better spent educating people about those things they don't already know, like the 3 foot law?
Those cyclists who run red lights are knowingly jeopardizing their own safety. Let's use the education funds to educate those folks who are jeopardizing cyclists safety either because they don't know the law or they don't know how dangerous their behavior is. That might actually do something to keep cyclists safe.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
"She further advised that she felt that bicyclists should not be riding
on S.124th Street as it is not wide enough to accommodate their safe
operation. Though I strongly agree with her on that point as I've told
you in the past, she was advised that you have the right to do so."
In fact S. 124th Street is wide enough to accommodate the safe operation of bicycles, if cars wait to pass bicycles until it can be done safely. It is not the width of S. 124th Street which makes it occasionally unsafe for bikes, it is the drivers who can't wait 10 seconds to pass bicycles.
Since I started this blog, my goal wasn't getting people tickets, it was getting drivers to understand and follow the law so everyone, especially cyclists would be safer. I’d feel better if law enforcement wasn’t telling me where I shouldn’t ride, but if I have to hear that in order for the drivers to get the message that they can’t buzz at will, that's still a step forward, at least in some municipalities.
I also heard back from the Brookfield Police about a similar incident and they also issued a citation. In that case the car was getting progressively closer at a 4 way stop and caused me to lose my balance and fall onto the car.
Thanks to both officers in these cases for handling the complaints professionally.
Hopefully both drivers now have a better understanding of the law and will be more careful and more patient next time they see a bicyclist.
I'll try to post the video of the other incident soon.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
On a positive note, I have been enjoying some Tosa dirt lately. Man those trails are fun.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I was riding a very popular route for cyclists using a wide shoulder. I had no trouble until I signaled and moved over to make a left turn. The speed limit here is 35 mph and I was going 25 mph so I wouldn't think it would be too much to ask for a driver to slow 10 mph for a few seconds while I make my left turn. As it turns out my speed wasn't what required him to wait to pass, the oncoming car would have meant anyone turning left would have to slow down, requiring the driver behind them to slow, or make an illegal pass. I signaled and moved over with plenty of time for him to slow down to wait for me to turn. He didn't wait. He decided to pass me while I was in the process of making my left turn and while another vehicle was in the oncoming lane. Unfortunately I didn't get the plate number. The rear facing camera angle starts just before I signal and begin to move over to turn.
Friday, May 1, 2009
I ran over a squirrel.
Rocky came up to the edge of the road and then thought twice about it, then decided what the hell. He went for it. I was picturing this when I saw him go for it. Fortunately, even though my front wheel went right over him, I rode away and as near as I can tell from the slow mo video, he ran away.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Officer Puente from The New Berlin Police Department was professional and helpful through the entire complaint process. Written warnings were issued to both drivers. At first, I was a little disappointed that even with some of the scariest footage of one of the most dangerous passes I've experienced, that no ticket would be issued. I wanted them to pay for coming that close to causing a serious accident.
The more I thought about the situation and it's outcome, though, I remembered why I contact the authorities after incidents like this. I want to insure these drivers don't repeat their dangerous behavior. The best way to accomplish that is to make sure they know the laws and understand bicyclist's rights to use the road. I believe Officer Puente effectively communicated that to both drivers. I also believe that the written warning will serve as a deterrent to prevent them from driving like this again.
Given that outcome I'm happy to leave my pound of flesh on the table and trust that the drivers have learned from the experience.
Monday, April 13, 2009
H8TR from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
EK 9330 from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
I wish more officers would use the written warning. I'm not looking to get people cited, I just want them to be more careful around bicyclists. I really think a written warning would do that in many cases. It has the added benefit of being on their record in case they do commit similar offenses, officers can see that and take the appropriate action to get compliance. The officer in West Allis understood and supported my right to the road but apparently the driver did not. He told the officer I should have been on the sidewalk. The officer told him in fact bicycles do have the right to use the road. So now the motorist has been educated about bike laws, and will hopefully change his ways.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
On a separate note, WJJO-FM in Madison recently aired a segment called "Bike Trail of Death" which advocated, jokingly, the killing of cyclists. The segment ended with the statement, "The only bicyclist that isn't a pain in your ass is a dead one on the side of the road." I didn't find this the least bit funny. I'm going to send a letter to the station manager and a complaint to the FCC. I'll post the letter when it's done. The more letters and calls the station gets, the more likely it is they will get the message they can't use the public airwaves to advocate harming cyclists. If you do write or call, please don't call names or threaten to do anything illegal. Apparently there have been some calls and letters that were just as offensive as the original segment. Being consructive in your criticism will likely get more positive results. The FCC complaint form can be found at:
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Alterra Ride from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Fedex used to use the slogan, "when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight". They still ship thousands of packages overnight and many more in a matter of days. They can keep track of all these package's locations with such accuracy that you can check their location 24 hours a day. What they apparently can't do is keep track of who's driving which truck.
FedEx15188 from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
I called on Monday morning shortly after the truck buzzed me to complain, and found out Thursday afternoon that they still have not been able to locate the truck or the driver who was operating the truck. I find that very hard to believe. I've gone further up the corporate ladder, but it may not do any good. I'm told that FedEx ground drivers are independent contractors, not Fedex employees. I'll let you know what I hear from the corporate types.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
347 mjn from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
What's more annoying is after this idiot endangered 3 lives to save 10 seconds, he flailed his arms wildly toward the right side of the road, I guess meaning that I should not be on the road or I should have ridden myself into the ditch so he could pass me. I don't know if there will be enough on the video to convince the police to issue a citation, but the rear facing camera clearly shows the oncoming car passing at the same time that this guy passed me. I think the more appropriate ticket for this guy is not for passing me too closely, which he did, but for passing into oncoming traffic.
It was good to get back on the bike after a short trip to the land of Iron Chefs. Mrs. Bikesafer and I took "the boy" aka my nephew to New York for a long weekend. We ate at a couple iron chef's restaurants and saw all the tourist sites. Next time I WILL find a way to ride in the city.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
He does however mix up the facts of both cases. The initial correspondence as well as my follow up correspondence to the City Prosecutor are both below.
The initial posts about the incidents can be found at:
Monday, March 2, 2009
I've gotten more than a couple requests recently for copies of the letter I recieved from the Brookfield City Prosecutor last year. I didn't post the whole letter initially because there are many factual errors in the letter and I didn't want to go through them all on the blog. I decided to post it now because so many people are asking for it after viewing the Fox Six report that featured me and my troubles in Brookfield.
In the letter, the Prosecutor refers to 2 separate incidents which were the subject of my correspondence to him. He mixes up the facts of the 2 cases repeatedly and misrepresents my position in both cases as a result. That being said, the absurdity of the Prosecutor's opinion is unmistakeable.
I am not a lawyer, but I believe his position to be legally untenable. He claims that a law abiding cyclist must move over for a law breaking driver so the law breaking driver doesn't have to slow down to pass.
He says that since the law says "normal speed of traffic" that refers to whatever speed the motorists are travelling. He seems to forget that the legislature has also enacted statutes which control the maximum speed at which any vehicle can travel, therefore any motorists travelling at greater than the maximum speed would be violating the law, so the fastest any traffic can "normally" be travelling and still be within the law is the maximum speed limit. I don't remember the term for this legal principle but it says that one law cannot be interpreted to render another law meaningless. Under his interpretation, the maximum speed law would become meaningless whenever a bicycle was present. Clearly that was not the intention of the legislature as the plain language of the statutes shows.
But I digress.
The letter is posted in it's entirety. I highligted the sections I think are the most absurd. I will try to track down my correspondence to him so you can judge for yourself how he mixed up the facts. It might take a while to post that.
I wanted to close with a quote I found on friend's.
"One moment of patience may ward off disaster, one moment of impatience may ruin a whole life."
Unfortunately I can't credit the author as it was listed as unknown. I think this quote is pertinent to this post today because it relates to my last post and this one.
I think we all know how a motorist's impatience can ruin lives. I think we unfortunately may see how a cyclist's impatience with a motorist might cost the cyclist. I think it is pertinent to this post because the City Prosecutor's impatience in rushing to back this police officer may make him look rather silly, and a more patient, thoughtful, researched opinion could have changed peoples attitudes, people who could have made a real difference on how motorists deal with cyclists. Instead we get more of the same attitude. Let's all keep trying to change those attitudes even if it takes a little patience
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Briefly, a guy in Oregon, the state, not the city in WI, gets buzzed by an SUV and waves the guy back to talk to him. (I've done this many times, sometimes with great success and others with no success). The driver curses out the rider, the rider walks away smacking the drivers mirror on the way, the driver then intentionally drives toward the cyclist hitting and injuring him, then leaves the scene. Almost a week later, after pushing for the felony charges the driver deserves, the cyclist receives a ticket with a minimum fine of $5000.
I think we all need to know about this situation for 2 reasons. We can all learn some things from this cyclist's experience. He has said he learned this first lesson, potentially at a very high cost. The lesson is, always try to de-escalate the situation, never do things that are likely to further irritate the idiot driver who already came close to hitting you once. On the occasions that I've tried to talk to dangerous motorists and been very friendly and even introduced myself with a smile, I almost always get a calmer more receptive driver to listen as I explain about the rights of cyclists.
I know it's hard after a driver almost made roadkill out of you, but if you take the high road, you are more likely to get your point across to the driver. Even if they won't listen to reason, you are the calm, rational one, if or when the police need to become involved.
Maybe try to imagine that the person who just ran you off the road was your grandma and you have to try to make her understand why her actions were dangerous.
The second lesson is the same as the first it just deals with different people. Unfortunately, (and this is just based my experience, and maybe this guy's situation), when you call the police about any traffic incident involving a bike, their initial reaction will often be to blame the bike rider for the trouble.
The lesson to be learned here is the same as above. You have to take the high road.
You should realize going in that things might not go your way, but be very nice and polite to the responding officer. If things don't go your way with him/her, there's always his/her Superior officers. You'll almost never be able to make your case to an unfriendly cop on the street. You might be able to convince a superior officer you're right later, but not if you are a jerk to the first cop you talk to.
Anyone who knows me knows that I don't always follow my own advice, but I'm getting better each time I have a run in with motorist. Thankfully I haven't been run over yet, intentionally or otherwise, but anyone who rides as much as I do could find themselves in this kind of situation. Hopefully things improve for this cyclist and it works out for him in the end.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Getting Cocky from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
Speaking of boots, I wore the Answer Kashmir for the first time. Warm dry feet make your ride much more enjoyable and these shoes/boots even fit my goofy shaped feet. Look for a more in depth review when I've ridden them some more, so far I like them a lot.
I rode over to Hoyt Park to look for Russell and his Tosa mofos, but no one around and no tire tracks. Maybe I was early/late/showed up to the wrong place. Maybe next time.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Ronsta Ride from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
Saturday was a slushy mess of a 2 hour ride, but Sunday brought sun and a cold wind for the Ronsta Ride. We were started with 6 picked up one on the way and then lost 2 along the way due to cold feet or other commitments. A great way to spend a Sunday.
This video is a quick edit on new software that is leaving glitches in the finished product. The music is also a little over modulated. I'll try and get it recut when these troubles are resolved.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I wanted say that up front, as I've had some folks question why I ride at all if I have "so many" problems on the road. I love riding and today was a great day on the road.
Buzzed By a Trailer from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
I had a couple close calls today, only one that warranted a call to police. I have some thoughts on that and about the Elm Grove idiot who told me to ride on the sidewalk, but that will have to wait for another day.
I kind of raced a train today, well I was coasting and just thought it might make a better video than the trailer almost hitting me.
Racing A Train from Bikesafer on Vimeo.
The Brookfield cops from the last incident told me they issued a citation. I still have to get a copy of it to make sure, but the irony is if he fights it, I could be called as a witness by the same prosecutor who told me I have no right to be on the road at all. Probably more likely he would dismiss it or plea bargain it down. We'll see.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
There was this game show back in the 80's where you pressed a button and if you pressed it and the game stopped on a little gremlin looking dude called a whammy, you lost all your money. That is unfortunately what it feels like almost every time I go out to ride. Sadly when we go ride and we get a whammy it will likely cost us our lives or at least a long hospital stay and maybe a lifelong disability.
It's not like it's a rare occurrence either. I had a close call today which could have been avoided, but for the impatient driver.
Sadly at the same time motorists are getting off easy for running down cyclists, many riders are being ticketed or even tackled off their bikes for not having a light or not riding in a bike lane or for no reason at all. If not for video or witnesses in many of these cases the cyclists lives would have been scarred by criminal records, all for the unspeakable crime of riding a bike.
All these reasons are why I continue to press my luck, that and because I love to ride. I really cleared my head of a lot of junk on the ride today, it felt great. I continue to press my luck with the authorities as well because if I don't, if more of us don't, we will continue to be treated as second class citizens on the road. So I'll forfeit an hour out of my weekend to complain yet again about dangerous drivers in Brookfield. It may not do any good this time or the next time but maybe one of these times when I get bullied on the road, I won't get a second whammy when I look to the authorities for help.
As for the goggles, I've found that ski goggles really help keep your face warm when the windchill is -10.