Saturday, March 28, 2009

Helmet Cam How To

I've received many requests lately for information about how to hook up a helmet camera system. I posted a video how to about a year or so ago. It shows how I set up my bike and helmet with the cameras. As far as camera type, I use the Oregon Scientific ATC2K and ATC3K. I prefer the 2K even though it is the older model it has better low light capabilities. Some folks prefer the VholdR but it is more expensive than the ATC2K. There are many other choices out there most can be found at the website helmet camera central. My video how to can be found at:

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:!input.action?form_page=2000E


Thursday, March 26, 2009


The latest close pass. I'll have to right more about it later.

543-ewx from Bikesafer on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Orange and Black

Almost black and blue. Orange and black because I'm still on the Alterra email list for group rides. I usually can't fit them into the schedule, but...It was a great day for a long ride with some old friends. So I hooked up with my old teammates from Alterra for a Pewaukee ride. It was a beautiful day and a great ride. Usually when I'm on a group ride I notice drivers give more room when they pass than when they pass an individual rider. I'm not sure why. Apparently no one told Grandma Buick. She almost ended one of us today. She had to be 6 inches away at most. I wish I could have gotten the license plate number. It freaked us all out a little but it didn't spoil a great ride. I'm glad I'm still on the Alterra email list.

Alterra Ride from Bikesafer on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be...

Ignored, or at least given a very low priority.

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

So Bad It Looks Good

The pass that happened 2 minutes into my ride Saturday was pretty bad, even though at first glance it doesn't appear that way. If you were able to look frame by frame you'd notice that there is a car in the oncoming lane. You can just see the shadow in one of the frames. He timed his riduculous pass so perfectly that you can't even see the oncoming car unless you watch the rear facing camera. The oncoming car, the minivan passing me and I all end up in the same section of road at the same time. I'm amazed no one was killed.

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

More Correspondence

I have to correct something I said in my previous post. I said the City Prosecutor referred to two separate incidents about which I contacted him. I only contacted him regarding one incident. He received a complaint about the second incident from the Police Department.

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:

By the way, even though he is a public employee, neither Mr. Kershek or anyone with his office has ever responded to any of my emails, phone calls, or letters in any way. The copy of the letter I did get was sent to me by the Mayor.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Response and A Quote

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

Buzzed, Run Over, Then Ticketed

No it didn't happen to me, thankfully, but it is happening to a fellow cyclist. You can read the whole story here, but I wanted to give it a mention because I think cyclists everywhere need to know about it.

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.