Monday, August 3, 2009

First Place, Thanks to Keith

Bontrager that is. Well not personally, but thanks to his wheels. Sunday's race was the second time I've finished a race on a Bontrager wheel with a broken spoke. This race I actually started on a broken spoke, or broke it in the first couple hundred meters of the race.
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.


tirebiter_g said...

Yes, definitely! How come cyclists are the only ones who know about the 3 foot rule?? *groan*

And how come so many cops (and motorists) think it is illegal to ride two abreast in the country where we aren't impeding anyone? *double groan*

monogodo said...

I understand your point about the red-light ticket issue.

I do, however, disagree. If motorists see cyclists getting stopped and ticketed for running red lights/stop signs, they may be less likely to lump all cyclists into the same scofflaw group, and thus less likely to buzz a cyclist.

The driver of that car that buzzes you could be taking out his/her frustration about some other cyclist on you. Wouldn't you rather have a fellow cyclist get a ticket than potentially get killed yourself?

Jeff said...

You raise an interesting point, and yes I would rather see a law breaking cyclist get a ticket than get killed. I don't however think that one is likely to greatly affect the other.
It's my experience that most people who are frustrated with cyclist’s presence on the roads are going to be anti-cyclist no matter how many tickets are issued to cyclists. Some may even use those cyclists’ tickets to justify their frustration with cyclists. They may rationalize their beliefs that all cyclists must be scofflaws because they saw some getting tickets. The message they won’t get is that motorists too, can and do disobey bicycle related traffic laws and when they do they might end up killing or injuring an innocent cyclist. So I’d rather see the cops enforce all the law equally instead of “targeting” bicyclists and saying it’s for their own good. It would be far better for my safety and all other cyclists if the motorists who run me off the road were ticketed instead of a college kid who rolled through a light without coming to a complete stop.