Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Play the Admit Game

Play the admit game.
That's the phrase my sister uses when family or friends deny the obvious, like when I couldn't own up to the fact that my nephew could finally beat me in any feat of strength one could imagine.

It's time for motorists to play the admit game.  Every time I manage to catch up to a motorist who nearly hit me as they passed, I hear excuses.  The latest woman, (license plate "shoosh"), started her pass great but then cut in front of me within a 6 inches to maybe a foot.  Of course as often happens it gained her absolutely no time advantage as I caught up to her at a stop light.  Her excuses were that I shouldn't be in the "middle"  of the road, and that there was a line of cars behind me.
I was in the middle of my lane to avoid serious road damage that would have been extremely dangerous for me to ride through.  The "line of cars" behind me was obviously a figment of her imagination.

If you come within 6 inches or a foot of a bicyclist, (or pedestrian for that matter), as you pass them, you were wrong, you  screwed up.  Any excuse, reason or justification you come up with, is all bulls#$%.  Legally and morally if you pass that close to a vulnerable road user, you are wrong. Period.  If you came that close by accident, you were either too distracted or too impatient to pass safely.  If you came that close to try to make a point, you committed a violent felony, "recklessly endangering safety".  You can't use your car as a weapon to impose your will on others.

If you think a bicyclist is doing something wrong call a cop.  It's not for you to decide to run them off the road or scare them literally within inches of their life.  It's not for you to disregard the law and all common sense. 

To help you understand how wrong you were, imagine you actually hit the cyclist instead of just coming within inches of them.  Now imagine the victim was a friend, relative, or co-worker.  Would you go to the funeral and tell the family how sorry you were, but that it's really the victim's own fault and then give your list of excuses?

I've had to play the admit game.  Years back I almost hit a pedestrian at an intersection.  Ever since then I slow more at intersections and look at sidewalks every time I make a turn.
It's time to admit that your actions almost killed someone and they need to change.
I will continue to publicize the ridiculous behavior and excuses and when appropriate, ensure that the authorities punish people to the fullest extent of the law.
Or we could all just follow the rules, admit when we get it wrong, and learn from our mistakes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TIME for Some Clarification

I understand many new readers have arrived here via Time Magazine.  I'd like to welcome you and to urge you to read some of the early posts to understand why I started this blog.
Many of the comments from recent readers have scolded me for either where I ride or how I ride. 
First and foremost, I do not ever ride to prove a point or make a statement.  I ride for the enjoyment of the ride.  I do not ever "go looking" for a confrontation or incident.  I ride the same way each time I ride.  I also ride with cameras every time I ride. 
I always have cameras for the same reason convenience stores have surveillance systems.  If or when something bad happens I will have video evidence of what occurred.   This also means that if I were to do something wrong there would be evidence of that.  That is further reinforcement for me to follow all the applicable traffic laws, which I do. I stop for stop signs and lights, and signal turns etc.

As far as the where I ride, that is to say which roads I travel,  almost all of them are marked bike routes.  The roads that aren't marked bike routes are lightly traveled county roads.

I do not ride bike paths often because avoiding inattentive joggers or loose dogs is too dangerous and time consuming.
Also the  law allows me to ride on the roads I use.  I've paid for them through my taxes and the state of Wisconsin department of transportation recommends that I ride on many of them.  That's why they are bike routes.
If you think I shouldn't ride my bike on a marked bike route, then I can only assume you are not, yourself, a cyclist, and you are certainly not a cycling advocate.

As far as how I ride, that is to say where in the lane I position myself, I do not, as many have erroneously stated, ride in the middle of the road or even in the middle of the right lane.  I occasionally will ride toward the middle of the right lane if the lane is very narrow. 
It may be hard for some to understand that riding away from the far right side of the road is safer than hugging the curb or white line. 
Not only does the law allow cyclists to do this, the state Department of Transportation  encourages them to do so on narrow lanes. 
If the lane is too narrow for a car or truck to pass safely within the lane, hugging the right edge encourages drivers to try, in spite of the lack of room to pass when it is not safe to do so.
I ride further from the right edge of the road than some because I have had my hands or handlebars clipped too many times.  I have been run into the ditch too many times. 
If my lane position causes drivers to have to wait to pass until it can be done safely, then my mission has been accomplished.  If a driver has to wait a few seconds to pass a cyclist, and that's all it usually takes to get safely by a cyclist, why is that more of a problem for them or inconvenience for them than waiting the same amount of time to get passed a school bus, farm tractor, pedestrian, broken down car, or anyone else who has a legal right to be on the road moving at less than the posted speed limit?
If I am riding in a lane that is wide enough to safely accommodate me on my bike and a motor vehicle I ride far enough to the right to allow that to happen, otherwise I ride where I need to ride to insure that someone doesn't clip my bars, send me into the ditch, or run right up my back wheel. 
It's the safest way to ride, it's the law, and  it's recommended by the state Department of Transportation.  If it is slightly inconvenient for some drivers, I'm sorry for the delay, but the safety of any cyclist is far more important than shaving 15 seconds off any one motorist's commute.
I appreciate the interest in this blog and more importantly in the issue of safe cycling.  I look forward to continuing the dialog with the new readers.

UPDATE:  I went back and looked at the last 9 videos posted and in each one of them I was riding either within a couple feet of the right edge of the road or in some cases I was actually on the white line or in a marked bike lane.   I'm not sure what some folks are talking about saying I'm in the middle of the road or taking too much room.  A typical bike is 2 feet wide and every bike safety group I've ever heard of recommends allowing yourself a minimum of a couple feet of space to maneuver. 

Here are the latest impatient drivers.
One told me at the stop light where I caught up to him that if I had been a cyclist friend of his he wouldn't have passed the way he did.  Figure that one out.  He knew he did something dangerous and illegal but didn't care because he didn't know his victim.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Would anyone think this pass was safe?  I don't see how?  Not only is this guy passing into the oncoming lane when a car was coming, but a bike was also coming.  When someone makes a pass like this, it really makes me wonder what goes through the mind of the driver.

It seems to me that they could either a) not care about others on the road, or b) they could be so distracted as to be oblivious to others on the road.
If it's the former, I still don't get how self preservation doesn't kick in.  Even if you don't care about killing innocent victims, he could easily kill himself too. Of course it could be the latter because you can see what looks like a bag of chips in his hand as he's making the illegal and dangerous pass.

When I saw him at the next stoplight and tried to ask him these questions his only reply was a middle finger.
I would really like to know what he was thinking.  Maybe if someone knows him they can ask him for me.
His license number was 125TPH.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

With His Kids In The Backseat

On my Sunday ride, I was almost home when this guy, with his 2 kids in the backseat, decided he couldn't wait literally 2 seconds to pass me, like all the other cars on this road did.  After he passes me by forcing another car off the road onto the shoulder, the oncoming lane is totally clear.  So he jeopardized his whole family and everyone in the other cars for what? To save 2 lousy seconds on his way to wherever. 
His license plate number was Wisconsin 429 AVJ.  I would love for him to be able to see just how asinine and dangerous he acted.  Maybe he wouldn't care, maybe he would realize the error of his ways.  Maybe his wife would have something to say about it.  If only there was a way for him to see it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

300 Miles of Gravel on TV

300 Miles of Gravel, the new documentary about Trans Iowa will air on Fox 6 on April 28th at 3:00 pm or immediately following the Brewers game. 
Tell all your friends.

Monday, April 2, 2012

If Only There Was A Way....

It must be something about spring. Maybe drivers aren't used to bikes on the roads after the winter. I'm not sure why but spring is usually a bad time for bad drivers. Two days, two rides, two dangerous drivers.
Since alerting the authorities to these incidents likely wouldn't result in any repercussions for the drivers, I was musing on my ride today, if only there was a way to easily, cheaply, and legally get information from these license plates...
perhaps if these drivers got a note from the cyclist they buzzed with a copy of the video and pertinent statutes they violated, maybe they would think twice about their actions.
Maybe, if only. I guess a public shaming on this blog will have to do for now.

In the first video I had to ride into the lane away from the shoulder because of two pedestrians on the shoulder, then I stayed near the white line because the shoulder ended soon and I didn't want to get run into the curb. Of course this guy couldn't wait 2 seconds for a second lane.

In the second video the pass didn't look that bad, from one angle, but what was bad was the fact that he honked and when I looked back at him, he waved rather violently as if I should get off the road or else and then when he cut back in front of me, he came within about a foot of my front wheel. I did lose my composure at the end and let go with a one finger salute. I feel a little bad about that but this guy clearly was trying to send me a message with a 2000 pound weapon. That tends to get me a little upset.