Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tickets Yes, Understanding...???

I've heard back from the police regarding the woman whose mirror hit me. She was issued a citation, but it comes with a caveat. According to the investigating officer,

"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.
Bikesafer Jeff


Anonymous said...

Keep strong. Keep riding. Keep fighting.

The comment regarding 124th is, at best, disturbing. I'm not sure where on 124th, but in some areas there are no other reasonable options--twisting, subdivision streets with no thru routes.

The fact that the officer stated that s/he agreed is more disturbing because it re-inforces the driver's wrong, and demonstrably dangerous misconception.

Sorry you got hit, but congrats for following through.

fred said...

Congratulations on a somewhat unbalanced result. I very much agree that the officer's personal bias was uncalled for, but at least the end result was "correct".

I operate my velomobile in the center of sub-standard width lanes and have been cited twice in sixteen traffic stops. The citations were dismissed after a filing for same.

I park where bicycles park, when shopping in the area. I also record these parking intervals with an unobtrusive camera system. Two days ago, I recorded someone taking photos of my velomobile (not uncommon) and asking others if they had seen me on the road. If the answer was affirmative, he asked them to call police and complain.

This particular incident happened in the same municipality as the citations and I understand the officers involved in the citations get copies of the dismissal, so I can't see that the police department is going to take any action.

I do not violate the law when I ride and someone's interpretation of my riding as being illegal is mildly annoying, but in the end amusing. I hope to encounter this particular individual in the future and have a calm discussion about his motor-vehicle-superiority complex.