Sunday, June 29, 2008

As Promised

When I first started this blog, I said I would "welcome comments and discussion from motorists who have horror stories about cyclists who violate the laws and come close to causing accidents."
Well I encountered just such a bicyclist today.

I was on my way back from Pewaukee, eastbound on Gebhardt Rd. in the mostly downhill section with a tailwind when I was caught up by a trio on some nice road bikes. Don't worry Ms. Roadie, as promised you aren't in the video, good talking/riding with all of you though. The lead guy passed me so I did my best to hold his wheel and away we went. I noticed he started to slow a little and move over, and that's when I saw it/him. The idiot bicyclist was, well, see for yourself.

video

Once I realized he wasn't going to hit us I accelerated up the little hill. I thought maybe he knew my 3 new friends. I found out at the next light he did not. The lead guy in our group wasn't waving hello and saying how ya doin'. We all remarked on what an idiot this guy was.

No trouble other than that. It sure was fun flying back with the wind, even if the way out was a pain.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Spectatin'

This morning, Mrs. Bikesafer decided we should go to the Levis/Trow 100 WEMS race , even though she knew I wasn't going to race. She missed all the Expo peeps, as did I. So we loaded up the truck and headed west. I did an easy lap with The "O", then tried to take some pictures and just hung out. It was a pretty relaxing day. I think Mrs. Bikesafer agrees. I only got one good pic of Chris Tamoborino, I guess that makes up for all the other races where I didn't get any good ones of him. I may actually race sometime soon. We'll see.

Bikesafer

Jeff

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Losing Sleep Over Losing My Life

It’s 2 am and I should be sleeping, resting for a long ride tomorrow. Instead I keep going over in my head the fact that the police who are sworn to protect the public are all to often unwilling to do their duty if those who ask for help are on a bicycle.

I heard back from the Brookfield officer who has been very fair and reasonable in his handling of the Acura complaint. He looked at my video and showed it to a couple fellow officers for their opinion. Unfortunately one of the officers he showed it to was the Captain who was invloved in the silver Hyundai incident where I was told, "if a bike was only travelling 10 mph, the bicyclist has no right to be in an active traffic lane on any road in Brookfield". Now the officer seems to be of the opinion not only that no ticket should be issued, but that the driver of the Acura did nothing wrong by passing very close, TWICE, while speeding. He said he would check the statutes again and get back to me, but I’m not holding my breath.

If the reasonable officer can be made to believe that I shouldn’t be on the road or that I don’t have the right to be protected or have the laws enforced equitably where do I turn for help?

I was buzzed by a silver Honda on a short ride tonight and then sprayed by his windshield washer fluid. I’m almost dreading going to the police about this incident. I really think he tried to get as close as he could to me. He meant to scare me. He meant to scare me with a 2 thousand pound weapon and I’m dreading having to deal with the police. I’m doubting whether the police will even take my complaint because I choose to ride a bike. If I were walking down the street and some punk kid threatened me with a baseball bat, that would be a crime, but because someone did the same thing with a car, I’ll likely be asked why I was there in the first place. The police will likely look for ways to blame me for someone else’s illegal conduct. I guess I was asking for it. I had the nerve to be on their road. What did I expect?

What I expect is for the police to fulfill the promise they made when they took their oath. I expect them to do their duty. The laws are for the protection of everyone. I shouldn't have to justify why I was using a public roadway in order to be protected by the police. I shouldn’t have to forfeit my right to be protected because I ride a bike and I shouldn’t have to lose sleep worrying about whether I might die in a crash tomorrow because the police refused to do their duty and cite drivers who endanger others on the road.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taking the High Road in Pewaukee

I had one of the closest calls in a long while today in Pewaukee. I called the Police and waited for them to arrive. I didn't' have to wait too long. Two very nice, fair officers responded very quickly. They talked to the driver and told me it was up to me what happened next. We all talked to the driver and the officers said they believed that he would not do it again. He apologized many times so I cut him some slack and did not ask that a citation be issued. In hindsight after looking at the video, I'm not sure it was the right call, but hey at least I have the satisfaction of taking the high road and giving him the benefit of the doubt even if he didn't do the same for me.
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I will still be contacting his bosses though, since this is the second incident with a Yellow Trucking vehicle since I've started videotaping. I'm going to ask that they send a memo to every one of their drivers informing them that bicycles have a right to be on the roads and the truck drivers have to pass safely and in many states that means giving at least 3 feet of space. I will also ask that they incorporate bicycle education into any and all ongoing training the driver receive.
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Then on the way back in the Village of Pewaukee, I almost got clipped by a dump truck who blew a stop sign. I'm still in the process of contacting the Police about this one. I'll let you know what happens. Still no word from Brookfield yet, but I did write a letter to Waukesha Sheriff's Department and they are looking into the deputy's handling of my complaint.
Bikesafer
Jeff

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In His Own Words

I thought that as a follow up to the New Berlin Redi-Mix incident I would let everyone see what I was up against when I contacted the Waukesha Sheriff's Department.

To be fair, after carefully considering all the information regarding this incident, I don't have an issue with no citation being issued in this case, and all my dealings with the Waukesha Sheriff's Department in the past have been positive. That however doesn't excuse the attitude of the Deputy I encountered on Saturday.

Below are some direct quotes from this Deputy.

"you have to be over, when cars are passing you, you have to be as far to the right as you possibly can be "

"For one thing you have plenty of shoulder there, I don’t know why you wouldn’t have moved over to the shoulder if you knew traffic was comin’?"

'Just out of curiosity, um seeing as you have an issue with cement trucks, why, now for the second time, or maybe 3rd time have you put yourself in harms way by riding down national and videotaping cement trucks? Just out of curiosity , I mean we have plenty of state trails man, we got the drumlin we got the ice age, we got eagle Franklin trail we got New Berlin’s trail you don’t have to ride down one of the busiest roadways in the county. "

"I’m just saying that on the side, ok, on the other side of the white line you have what approximately, what, two feet that you could have ridden on, I’m just wondering for curiosity’s sake why you wouldn’t do that?"

"I think these cement guys they were trying to be courteous of you , You can definitely see he moved over to try to avoid you, and there was an oncoming traffic and I mean cement trucks weigh a lot."

"I have buddies that ride on the roadway, and I think they’re stupid because, just personally because of all the horror stories I’ve heard from them about nearly gettin’ run of the road."

Just for the record, and I told the deputy this as well, it's not safe for me to be riding on a 18-24 inch shoulder when I'm going 30-35 mph. Also I don't ride the trails he cited because some are gravel and many of them are too short or don't go near my house. Also just for the record, I wasn't taping cement trucks, I was doing a training ride and the cement truck just happened to be the vehicle that buzzed me that day.

I've contacted his supervisor, but he is on vacation until late this month, so I probably will be contacting the Sheriff to discuss this further.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Which is Worse?

This morning I'm pondering that question. Is a law enforcement officer who is ignorant of the law worse than a law enforcement officer who knows the law and chooses not to enforce it?
I was buzzed by the same New Berlin Redi-Mix cement truck TWICE on the same ride Saturday, and was given many excuses why the truck did it, not by New Berlin Redi-Mix, but by the Waukesha Sheriff's Deputy I contacted about the incident.

Here is a direct quote from him, "...I think they have 3 feet by law they have to move over so a foot with a concrete, cement truck is I mean3 feet is kinda hard to measure, your driving one of those things but you know maybe he thought he was over enough..."

I'll have more quotes from the Deputy and an update on this as soon as I either hear from the Deputy or I talk to his supervisor.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the Brookfield cop who seemed(s) to be taking my complaint about the Acura seriously.
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Le Grande Avventura e Le Bicicletta






That translates to The Grand Adventure and The Bicycle.
Well we are back from our first ever trip abroad. It was quite an experience. We definitely had some travel issues getting to and from Italy, but we rode in the hills of Tuscany and on the wall around the town of Lucca. We saw the final stage of the Giro d' Italia in Milan and had some great food and wine, and met some great people. More photos, videos, and details soon. And boy I really need to get back on the bike.
P.S. There is no 3 foot rule in Italy, for that matter watching the Italians drive it doens't seem that there are many rules at all. But they make it work. I'll have more on that too.


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