Speed: There is never an excuse for speeding

By now you should know that calling a crash an accident is a way of moving liability away from the person driving the vehicle.

Reading an article in CNN Money, I see a correlation between litigation and blaming the inanimate object. (Yes, you can draw an analogy about guns here too.)

There isn’t any such thing as an accident when it comes to auto collisions. Wet roads are no more to blame for your lead foot than an app is to blame for this horrific collision.

DSC00542[1]
Your steel cage is no match for the speed of the idiot behind the wheel.

“The plaintiff, Wentworth Maynard, was merging onto a four lane highway outside of Atlanta, Georgia when his car was struck “so violently it shot across the left lane into the left embankment,” his lawyers contend.”

 

Choices:

Everything you do is about choices. We make choices everyday. We choose to oversleep an alarm because we chose to stay up late. We choose to linger in the shower and we choose to speed under the false assumption that we can “make up time.”

When cycling advocates are educating you about light signals and how traffic is engineered to operate at a set speed, you chose to ignore us.

We make many minute and seemingly inconsequential choices everyday.

Which weighs more? A ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?

They both weigh the same. A ton. But the volume of feathers to create a ton is vast compared to the volume of bricks to equal the same tonnage.

Each feather is a seemingly inconsequential choice that you made throughout your day, week, year, and life. But when that ton of feathers hits you, it’s going to feel like a load of bricks.

Manufacturers and corporations make choices too.

I’m not saying that corporations don’t have a part to play in the choices we make. They most certainly do.

Snapchat chose to put out an app with the ability to capture your speed while using the app.

Auto advertisements show people driving in ways that are patently unsafe and they choose to pay a lot of money to have these ad’s placed during prime viewing times.

Here’s a scenario: You can read it in full detail here.

You’re driving down the road in your car on a wild and stormy night. The weather is like a hurricane, with heavy rains, high winds, and lightning flashing constantly. While driving, you come across a partially-covered bus stop, and you can see three people waiting for a bus:

  1. An old woman who looks as if she is about to die.
  2. An old friend who once saved your life.
  3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about (your “soulmate”).

Knowing that you only have room for one passenger in your car (it’s a really small car), which one would you choose to offer a ride to? And why?

You can believe that you are limited by your choices or you can think outside the box.

We need to emphasize critical thinking skills when educating drivers and cyclists.

We also need to emphasize that speeding, distracted (any distraction) driving, and driving drowsy or drunk are choice’s and there isn’t ever an excuse for the choices we make. We are to blame when we make bad choices.

I mention the above scenario about the bus stop because I was confronted by an Atheist (I’m one too). He said that I was on some high horse and that there were definitely excuses for speeding. He then brought up a real situation in which he believed that his mother was dying and he sped to the hospital. He was pulled over and given a speeding ticket.

He then went on to justify his speeding by admitting that he was so distracted by his distress over the idea of his mother dying without him that he failed to notice the speed limit sign.

I tried to reason with him logically about public spaces and how his actions have direct consequences for others on public roads. He refused to acknowledge anything I was saying and launched into a personal attack instead. I saved the conversation and will present it in another blog at a future date. But for now, know that two of the deadliest weapons in history, the automobile and the gun, have even critical thinkers blathering emotionalism when it comes to their cherished beliefs. It truly defies logic.

There isn’t ever an excuse to justify speeding. Much like there isn’t an excuse to justify shooting someone who is unarmed. Corporations and manufacturers have a responsibility to the public at large. Snapchat has no excuse for putting out an app that encourages users to speed. Users have no excuse for choosing to use the app or for speeding.

When your choices affect others, you are duty bound to consider the consequences of your actions!

Public roads are shared space. You are required to share public roads with large vehicles, small vehicles, slower vehicles, and people on foot.

 

 

 

Motorist Awareness Wednesday: Parking Lots

No.

This is not a diatribe of vitriol aimed at the auto industry and their mechanised efforts at turning the world into one big patch of asphalt. (The auto industry is trying to turn the world into a giant parking lot. In case you didn’t know.)

1.jpg
Less car = more shoppers!

No.

This isn’t a tree hugging, left leaning, liberal agenda designed to shame you into freeing up precious public space. (Though you should)

6b7d9cb3b3a83b6681613a08198865b8.jpg
Once you figure out how to unfold it, it’s cake to ride.

Yes.

This article is a refresher on a long standing law. One which the majority of the world has forgotten about. (Not entirely based on this picture.)

badparking.jpg
Two auto’s can not legally share a lane.

Do you remember Extremist thinking is hurting cycling? If you have forgotten or if you have never read it, please do so. Now.

I’m basing this on KRS 189.00 (Kentucky Revised Statutes section 189 Rules of the Road). Your state will have similar statutes as these statutes are from the Uniform Traffic Code.

In the definitions of KRS 189.00 we see that a parking lot falls under the definition of a highway.

(3) “Highway” means any public road, street, avenue, alley or boulevard, bridge, viaduct, or trestle and the approaches to them and includes private residential roads and parking lots covered by an agreement under KRS 61.362, off-street parking facilities offered for public use, whether publicly or privately owned, except for-hire parking facilities listed in KRS 189.700.

A PARKING LOT IS  A HIGHWAY.

Every parking lot is governed by the same rules of the road that you obey on any other highway. You can be ticketed for breaking the speed limit in a parking lot. You can also be ticketed for driving on the wrong side of the road and failing to yield. In fact, anything you can be written a ticket for on a road, you can be given a ticket for in a parking lot.

images
This is a highway.

KRS 189.390
(6) The speed limit for motor vehicles in an off-street parking facility offered for public use, whether publicly or privately owned, shall be fifteen (15) miles per hour.

In a parking lot you drive on the right as per KRS 189.300

You are not allowed to operate over 15 miles per hour. This is for the safety of pedestrians and people trying to park.

If it’s illegal, it isn’t safe AND if it’s legal, it is safe. This is the foundation of good laws. Bad laws discriminate. Good laws keep you safe without infringing on the rights of others.

Each parking space is a lane. It is intended for one vehicle. Stay in your lane. Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes. Some vehicles will not take up as much space as a huge SUV. That’s ok. That parking spot is theirs even if they don’t occupy every square inch of it.

Capture44.PNG
Occupying a full lane. What’s more wasteful? The auto taking up the space of 12 bicycles while carrying only one person? Or the bicycle carrying one person and leaving room for 11 more bicycles?

The center travel lane is well… a lane. Seems rather redundant but some people need that extra explanation. The center lane is an unmarked highway lane. So you follow both KRS 189.300 and KRS 189.310.

You drive on the right and give half the highway to oncoming traffic. You will operate as close as practicable to the right hand curb or boundary of the highway. You only need to be over far enough to allow passing traffic reasonable clearance. If you swap paint, one of you wasn’t over far enough.

RIGHT OF WAY!

When you are pulling out of a parking spot, you do not have the right of way. Think of a parking lane as though it were a side street entering into a main road. Imagine you have a stop or yield sign.

The person traveling on the main road may stop and yield to allow you to pull out. This is operating with due care.

KRS 189.290 Operator of vehicle to drive carefully.
(1) The operator of any vehicle upon a highway shall operate the vehicle in a careful manner, with regard for the safety and convenience of pedestrians and other vehicles upon the highway.

Driving across parking lots, that have vehicles parked in them, isn’t safe. There could be someone traveling up the road and you wouldn’t see them in time to prevent a collision. Follow the flow of traffic and observe ROTR (Rules Of The Road) statutes.

A lot of cyclists feel safe cycling in a parking lot.

A parking lot has hazards and shouldn’t be treated as a free for all.

Some people will use a parking lot as an example of the most dangerous portion of a road. They are right.
You have so much going on in a parking lot that if you aren’t paying attention you could get seriously hurt or worse.
People driving cars have double duty when in a parking lot. Pedestrians already present have the right of way. First come, first served, and duty of care. You don’t have special rights because you are in an auto. Public highways are level playing fields. You have to drive appropriately for conditions.

Above all else remember this.

PARKING LOTS ARE NOT A NO MAN’S LAND OF FREE FOR ALL’S! 

 

 

 

 

Mortality Monday: Our love affair with death.

“We, collectively, are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.” – President Obama

Fallen comrade.

Some people like to play war. It’s their idea of fun to dress in camo, paint their faces, and run around using combat techniques. This can be seen mostly in the wildly popular paintball fields.

But our shared roads are not war zones or recreational war games. Our roads are public spaces and they should be treated as inclusive zones of human compassion and courtesy. Not war zones that we battle our way across or through.
With war there is death and the industry which has arisen out of that inevitable trip we all must take, but not before our time.

People appear to really enjoy death.

We get very emotional over death, are moved by death, and we are (sometimes) spurred into action because of death. Passionate volumes are written to the departed. People mass together and go for rides memorializing the dead. It’s macabre. Especially when you consider that we rarely do anything, if we do anything at all, to prevent death in the first place.

Why are we so inspired by death?

Death defying stunts don’t thrill us because we watched someone make it through alive. They thrill us because we might actually get to see someone die.

We’ve been outraged over the death of our loved ones for over a hundred years. We’ve offered our condolences, our thoughts, and our prayers.

But when it comes to making real and effective change we suddenly remembered that we have pressing business to attend to somewhere else.

Your “thoughts” should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your “prayers” should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again.

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) December 2, 2015

Life, celebrate it.

Losing a loved one is tough and it isn’t my intention to diminish the pain felt by those who must pick up the pieces and carry on after someone has had their life tragically cut short.

What I am suggesting is that we start celebrating life by taking action to protect the life we currently have.

I don’t want to see another ghost bike or white cross on the side of the road. I don’t want to participate in the “Ride of Silence.”

I want to see us focusing our energy on positive life affirming initiatives which promote the safety and well being of everyone.

EDUCATION.

There is plenty that we can do to help those who are alive and uninjured.

The first thing I want to do is encourage you to TAKE THE LANE!

The shoulder is not intended for travel, it is not continuous, and it is an EMERGENCY LANE!

skid marks.PNG
Skid marks. 
Versailles rd.PNG
The shoulder is gone!

I’ve ridden my bicycle on Versailles Rd (You can watch here) both on the shoulder and in the travel lane. When I used the travel lane I took an assertive lane position. I also used my rear light for added “eye catching” visibility, both on and off the shoulder. I didn’t feel safe either on the shoulder or in the lane. This is one of those monster roads which have no business existing. It was designed for high speed auto use only. Yet you will see pedestrians, cyclists, and horse and carriage on this road. Un-equitable use of public tax dollars.

Drivers are educated to swerve to the right and off the road to avoid a collision. They are also educated to pull to the right to take a call or make a text on their phone. Or if they are having a personal emergency. There are all kinds of distractions and the brain is not capable of handling more than one task at a time. You may look but you won’t see what is off to the side of you. Drivers are educated to see what is in front of them. Our brains are just not evolved enough to handle multi tasking in an auto.

When people take the time to accept responsibility for their own actions and stop blaming others for their faults, then we will have safe roads for all.

Until that time we need to educate people that the roads are public space and all users should be treated with equity.

When you are driving in the presence of a pedestrian or a cyclist, MOVE OVER AND SLOW DOWN! 

Give cyclists and pedestrians a Brake.

Legislation.

We have no problem understanding who’s at fault when a motorist rear ends another motorist. It’s a no brainer really. The person who hit the other vehicle is automatically found at fault. But when it comes to a motorist rear ending a cyclist. Well that leaves everyone scratching their heads or blaming the cyclist.

By educating cyclists to use safe cycling principals and to operate with the flow of traffic we are eliminating the prejudice that is inflicted on cyclists. When legislation exists which puts drivers in the position of having to prove that they did everything they could to avoid a collision with a pedestrian or a cyclist then we will have equitable legislation. The 1900’s approach of blaming the pedestrian or the cyclist is as old school and as prejudiced as Jim Crow laws.

Education isn’t victim blaming. Because drivers have to take an education course to obtain a license we assume that the driver is more educated than the cyclist, when the reality is that the opposite is true. By having mandatory education in schools and mandatory education on how to operate around cyclists in drivers training, we will effectively flip our way of thinking.

Infrastructure.

During the 1990s a new approach, known as ‘shared space‘ was developed which removed many of these features in some places has attracted the attention of authorities around the world.[25][26] The approach was developed by Hans Monderman who believed that “if you treat drivers like idiots, they act as idiots”[27] and proposed that trusting drivers to behave was more successful than forcing them to behave.[28]Professor John Adams, an expert on risk compensation suggested that traditional traffic engineering measures assumed that motorists were “selfish, stupid, obedient automatons who had to be protected from their own stupidity” and non-motorists were treated as “vulnerable, stupid, obedient automatons who had to be protected from cars – and their own stupidity”.[29]

Reported results indicate that the ‘shared space’ approach leads to significantly reduced traffic speeds, the virtual elimination of road casualties, and a reduction in congestion.[28]Living streets share some similarities with shared spaces. The woonerven also sought to reduce traffic speeds in community and housing zones by the use of lower speed limits enforced by the use of special signage and road markings, the introduction of traffic calming measures, and by giving pedestrians priority over motorists.

Shared space isn’t a new approach. But it is one which we seem loath to accept. Much like we hated the idea of sharing toys in kindergarten.

Not all space should be considered “shared” space except when there isn’t any other alternative. I’m thinking of rural roads and dense urban landscape as places which by default must be shared.

Places where we can have “Bikeways”* are places where we have the space to design infrastructure which equally caters to the specific needs of pedestrians and cyclists.

I never ever want to see a painted bike lane on the edge of a 55 mph highway. Like the one they talked about when I was being harassed by motorists and police for legally and safely cycling in the right hand lane of U.S. 27 in Jessamine Co. Kentucky.

*Bikeways: Unlike Bike lanes, Bike paths, and Cycle Tracks; Bikeways are mini highways for the exclusive use of cyclists. Bikeways are built to the same exact engineering standards of safety and rules of the road as a traditional public access highway. They are protected from auto traffic much like a Cycle Track but unlike Cycle Tracks they do not contra flow. There is plenty of urban space for Bikeways.

Bikeways have specific light cycles giving cyclists right of way at intersections. Unlike the average bike lane where most cyclists are victims of right hooks. The Bikeway also accounts for cyclists who need to make a left by giving them right of way during specific light cycles to make a protected left turn, much like a motorist has a light cycle to make a left. This is not to be confused with the Dutch approach of the pedestrian cross where the cyclist waits, moves forward, waits again before finally completing their left turn.

NO MORE DEATH.

Celebrate life and actively support those who are safely cycling on public roads. Even if it looks weird to you.

 

Take an education course.

Click here: Cycling Education

 

 

 

 

Taxing churches, Drivers rights, and sharing the road

We’ve seen a huge influx in religion based politics and it hasn’t been to the benefit of anyone but a select few. There is a call to tax the churches and make them start paying their share. After all they are enjoying both the privilege of tax free and playing politics. You can’t have both. Right?

The old way of thinking was that if churches were taxed then the big bad government would tax them into oblivion and we’d end up with an atheist/ communist dystopia. So by not taxing the church we are in fact nurturing freedom of religion.

But we’ve seen a huge influx in political religion, or is it religious political? Either way it’s bad.

The rights of all individuals are being infringed upon by a noisy religious minority.

This is really frustrating to people like John Oliver, who did a brilliant segment on taxing churches.  John’s argument is superb, witty, and clever. He pulls no punches and makes it clear that not taxing these churches is a detriment to society. But he is wrong.

This church wants to be taxed.

We absolutely should not tax churches. Not because of their fears of being regulated out of existence by big government. (Which is a false fear), But because once that genie is out of the bottle, there is no getting it back in.

When any group accepts a tax exemption, it agrees to play by certain rules and accept a certain degree of oversight. Federal law actually makes it more difficult for the IRS to audit churches than other charities. In addition to this modest “no electioneering” rule, for example, tax-exempt groups cannot collect money for a “charitable” purpose and then use it all for the personal benefit of the director and her family (or the pastor and his family). Do you seriously believe that the IRS and possibly even criminal investigative bodies have no right to try to scrutinize possible misbehavior?
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn is executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a longtime civil liberties attorney.

Tax exempt means that churches don’t get to play openly in politics. You should not ever hear your pastor preaching from the pulpit and encouraging you to vote for a specific candidate. Churches don’t get to raise funds for elections and etc.

We do see religious leaders trying to skirt the fringes of the law and stick their fingers into the political honeypot. We’ve seen religious people taking our Civil Rights and twisting them out of existence. How or why we are allowing the meddling that we see today, I don’t know. I’m sure someone can explain it. But that doesn’t mean we open the gates of hell and give church’s legal political rights. The separation of Church and State is too vitally important to start taxing churches. Pastors, in case you weren’t aware, do pay taxes on their income. (I could flesh these thoughts out more but I’m going to leave it here for now.)

I use this example of Church and Taxes to illustrate a finer point.

Just because it seems to make sense doesn’t mean it’s logical or right or safe.

Drivers rights.

Minnesota is one of 13 states that makes refusing a breath test a crime. In 2014, there were more than 25,000 DWI arrests in Minnesota, and an estimated one in seven Minnesotans has a DWI. Via: CBS Minnesota

Drunk drivers are the scourge of our public right of ways. ( I say public right of way because if I said “Highway” you would think I’m referring to asphalt. A river is also a highway. Drinking and operating a boat is illegal.)

Highway: Public Right of Way commonly used for travel.

When you are operating a vehicle, you have a responsibility to operate carefully and with regard for other road users. Drinking and driving is showing a complete lack of regard for anyone but yourself. So is speeding and/or texting while driving. In fact anything you do in your car that takes your focus off of not killing yourself, your passengers, or anyone else on the road is a completely selfish act.

Operating a motorized vehicle is a huge responsibility. One which we take for granted. Much like churches being tax exempt keeps “church and state separate,” is taken for granted.

We see all the bad that comes from people driving drunk and we think that this gives us the right to take away the constitutional rights of drivers. It doesn’t.

Police are still duty bound to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of the people they are investigating. Any breach of this duty and bad things happen. If the Supreme Court rules that it’s legal to suspend constitutional rights because “driving,” then we have a real problem on our hands. There wouldn’t be anything to stop them from searching your backpack or saddlebags as you bike commute around town. Refusing an unreasonable search would be enough to land you in jail.

Cyclists and Drivers have a real opportunity to come together on this one. Your Constitutional rights don’t evaporate once you get behind a wheel.

The Minnesota case is interesting and I believe that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in the favor of the defendant. Or at least I sure as hell hope so.

That doesn’t mean I’m in favor of people driving drunk or about to drive drunk.* What it means is that I am in favor of cops following the law and not acting like they are somehow magically above the law because they have a badge.

Suspending someone’s Constitutional rights because they are operating a car is a slippery slope and once that genie is out of the bottle…Well you know the rest.

There is this niggling thought in my head that the auto industry and the government have a symbiotic relationship. Like drugs and needles. To inject the drug you need the needle.

We have a lot of drugged out people wanting that next injection.

Government bailouts of the auto industry. Increased spending on widening roads. building new roads, while the infrastructure we currently have is crumbling.

The best way to eliminate drunk driving is to yank licenses. It isn’t a right to have a license. It is your right to travel. But how  you travel is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

Why we need to focus on sharing the road.

Part of sharing the road entails creating safe places for people to operate vehicles which are not autos. This can be through infrastructure but it can also be through education about cyclists right to use the roads we already have. Public transportation is another way we share the road. It serves the greater good to invest in public transportation, sidewalks, and low speed roads designed with bicyclist and pedestrians as priority.

Giving people choices on how to get from point A to point B is good moral governance. It gives the court options on how to deal with DWI or DUI offenders that it normally wouldn’t have. Good judges want to help people who appear in their court. Good prosecutors do not want to keep seeing the same people over and over again because they have a problem that is bigger than them. There are bad courts** out there too but I’m going to write this under the hope that they are few and far inbetween.

We don’t need to have the government strip away our Civil and Constitutional Rights away because we are auto dependent. We need to get away from our auto dependency and our abusive supplier. But to do that we need some serious rehab in the way of sharing the road.

 

 

*(I pissed off my then husband because I called the cops when he drove drunk to go get more beer. The police took the information I gave them and didn’t do anything about it. My ex made it to the store and back without killing himself or anyone else. Which just goes to show that stupid is often rewarded in society.)

**Nicholasville Kentucky, Judge Oliver, the County Prosecutor and his entire staff. These are a shining example of bad courts. My crime; being too poor to afford a car and riding a bicycle for transportation to and from work. 

 

 

 

 

Why Lane Control?

224987
Make sure you are the first thing an overtaking motorist sees.

The right third of the lane is the most frequently used portion of a roadway by the average to novice cyclist. By average I mean anyone who has not had any formal education on the legal requirements and safety benefits of lane control. Many a cyclist can be considered superior in all aspects of cycling and still be average to novice in respect to controlling the lane.

IS IT LEGAL?

Our first concern would be the legality of lane control. Is it legal to take up a large portion of the road?

The answer is yes.

There are two places in Kentucky Revised Statutes that we can look to for guidance.

The first is KRS 189.340 (6) (a)

(6) Whenever any roadway has been divided into three (3) clearly marked lanes for travel, the following additional rules shall apply:
(a) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as may be practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety;

If there is a lane, KRS requires you to occupy as much of it as may be practical and you can’t leave that lane unless it is safe to do so.

The second is KRS 189.310 (2)

(2) Vehicles proceeding from opposite directions shall pass each other from the right, each giving to the other one-half (1/2) of the highway as nearly as possible.

If you are on a two lane road half of that highway is yours. The other half belongs to oncoming traffic. No one to the rear of you has the right of way or priority.

KEEP RIGHT?

A lot of people will point to KRS 189.300 and declare that any vehicle moving slowly upon a highway HAS to keep as far right as possible. But this isn’t what the statute says. I wrote an in depth analysis of KRS 189.300 Extremist thinking is hurting cycling. Please read it.

CHANGE LANES TO PASS.

Kentucky has no specific minimum passing distance. The reason Kentucky doesn’t have a minimum passing distance is because Kentucky requires all vehicles to occupy a lane of travel and when passing we “CHANGE LANES TO PASS.”

If there is a marked lane of travel, you operate in the adjacent left lane for passing. If it is a two lane highway, you pass to the left of the highway as described in KRS 189.300 and if you are on a completely unmarked highway, you still pass on the left side of the center of the highway.

When I was a little girl, my mom left the county clerk’s office after obtaining her Kentucky drivers license. My mom was visibly upset. I asked her what was wrong. She told me that the test was too easy and it must have been written for the hillbillies. She went on to explain that as she was coming out of the clerk’s office two men were waiting, next to a pickup truck, for their sister. The sister had passed my mom coming out of the clerk’s office crying. The two men said “you failed the test again?” My mom said “Those are the people we are sharing the road with.”

I mention this anecdotal story because Kentucky’s statutes are not hard to understand. The reason why the Bike League (League of American Bicyclists or L.A.B.) wrote a blog about the terrible condition of Kentucky’s laws is because they are so simple and to the point. Traffic laws which are complicated are more dangerous than those which are simple. Driving is tough. It requires your full attention. The majority of us do not operate with the intent of hurting someone and if you have to second guess yourself or stop and think “is this legal?” Someone will get hurt. For more detailed thoughts on this read “Traffic: Why we drive the way we do and what it says about us.”

Ok, it’s legal to occupy a full lane. But is it safe?

That is the question Judge Booth asked us to answer at my trial. It was a really complicated trial with all sorts of interesting plot twists. Though not interesting to me, more like frustratingly exhaustive.

Judge Booth had ruled that my operating on the roadway was legal. This was when the county attorney wanted to ban me from the road. She ruled against him. The question she asked us to visit at, what was supposed to be, my jury trial in front of her was “is it safe?”

We didn’t get to have that jury trial. I talk more about that in my book.

For now let’s answer the question.

IS IT SAFE?

You always want to be the first thing a motorist sees when they look up from a distraction, when they are trying to merge in and out of traffic, or when they are passing a slower moving vehicle.

I don’t want to discuss all of that here. At least not yet.

The first thing I want us to focus on is this. “If it’s legal, then it is safe.”

Traffic laws weren’t written to annoy or inconvenience anyone. They weren’t written for auto’s or invented at the time of the automobile. Traffic laws have been around since people were free wheeling around in chariots. Those babies could fly, but taking a corner. Yikes!

Traffic laws were written to keep public space orderly, courteous, and safe.

You stop at a stop light because it is safe.

You operate at speeds appropriate for road conditions because it is safe.

You do not leave injurious items on the highway because it isn’t safe to operate a vehicle through shards of auto glass after a collision.

All of these are statutes written in KRS 189.000, take some time and sit down and read through them. Read the definitions. There is a lot to learn there as well.

LANE CONTROL. 

The scientific principle behind the safety of lane control.

It’s starts with understanding the limits of our peripheral vision.

Make a thumbs up gesture with both hands. Place them side by side at arms length. Pick a thumbnail to focus your gaze on. I typically ask people to look at their left thumbnail. Holding your left arm stationary, move your right arm out slowly to the right. Keep your eyes focused on your left thumb nail. With your peripheral vision look at your right thumbnail and once you can no longer clearly make out your thumbnail that is the limit of your peripheral vision. It isn’t as wide as you thought.

When you are operating a motor vehicle, you are focused on many different things. You might look down to see what rolled across the floor. You might look down to pick up your coffee cup. You might look down to adjust the MP3 player. You might look over your shoulder at the occupants of the rear seat.

All of these things take your eyes off the road.

The first place you look when you are undistracted is directly in front of you. Because that is where your brain has been trained to expect another vehicle.

Not on the edge of the lane.

When a cyclist is occupying the primary lane position, much like a motorcyclist does, they are placing themselves where you will see them. They want you to see them and respond. The appropriate response is to lower your speed limit. Start checking your mirrors and prepare to change lanes and pass.

All of your attention is on the road.

That’s why we control the lane. We want you to be aware of us. This is for our safety and for your convenience. If you had to explain to an officer why you struck us with your vehicle that would be one hell of an inconvenience. Don’t you think?

NOT SO FAST.

Now you might be thinking that a cyclist who is riding on the edge might have played some part in the collision which took them out. That would be a huge mistake. See the same statutes which give a cyclist the legal right to occupy a lane also require you to not hit anything with your vehicle.

So when a motorist in front of you suddenly slows down. Your first thought should be “Why?” and to expect something to be in front of them that you can’t see. If you read KRS 189.300 and 189.310 then you know that passing another vehicle isn’t a right.

You don’t have the right to pass someone and you are under the obligation to not hit other vehicles with your vehicle. When you rear end someone it’s your fault. Period.

CyclingSavvy

There has been a whole lot written about the safety of lane control. You can read about it on the FAQ page of CyclingSavvy.

Share this with a friend. It will hopefully save their life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mortality Monday: Killing people with your car

The default speed limit on all of Kentucky’s state maintained highways is 55 mph. You can find this in KRS 189.390 (3)

(3) The speed limit for motor vehicles on state highways shall be as follows, unless conditions exist that require lower speed for compliance with subsection (2) of this section, or the secretary of the Transportation Cabinet establishes a different speed limit in accordance with subsection (4) of this section:
(a) Sixty-five (65) miles per hour on interstate highways and parkways;
(b) Fifty-five (55) miles per hour on all other state highways; and
(c) Thirty-five (35) miles per hour in a business or residential district.

While this is the state’s (lazy) way of handling complicated people, I’d like to re-visit an old idea.

Driving at speeds appropriate for road conditions.

As explained in Motorist Awareness Wednesday.

Driving at or near the speed limit is not a right. You will not find anywhere in the Constitution of the United States nor in the Bill of Rights, any mention that speed or unfettered speed is your right.

Passing a slower moving vehicle is also not a right. As explained in Extremist Thinking is Hurting Cycling.

Priority NOT Right of Way.

Like Crash or Collision Vs. Accident, words have meaning. Educating motorists about right of way needs to include the understanding of Priority.

Note that the law does not allow anyone the right-of-way. It only states who must yield. When a driver is legally required to yield the right-of-way but fails to do so, other drivers are required to stop or yield as necessary for safety. So, if another driver does not yield to you when he or she should, forget it. Let the other driver go first. You will help prevent accidents and make driving more pleasant. Via: DriversEd.com

You may have heard “You might be right but you might also be ‘dead’ right.” This is where we get that phrase which has been bastardized into an argument for PRO edge riding Vs. LANE CONTROL. The creeping idea, much like a bad ‘B’ horror film, is that from out of nowhere a motorist is going to run you over from behind. This has happened to people, which only reinforces their pre-conceived notion. But it has happened to people who ARE EDGE RIDING! *

Lane control works to help good drivers from making bad choices. There is no infrastructure on this earth which will prevent bad drivers from making bad choices. Nor will that infrastructure protect cyclists from bad drivers who make bad choices, as explained in Homicidal Maniac.

Which is why we need to take driving seriously.

It isn’t enough to educate law enforcement or have them “Get tough on motor vehicle crime,” those are old ’80s ideas and we don’t need another “War.”

We need education.

I personally believe that 90% of motorists are 100% uneducated on the value of operating at lower speeds and obeying traffic signals. I also believe that our lax enforcement of existing laws and current infrastructure are due to poor education and biased education.

There is so much room for improvement on education alone.

Education is a thankless, unsexy, and daunting task. But it can be done.

For anyone who says “we’ve had education for the past 50-100 years and it hasn’t done anything,” is presenting a straw man argument. Did you take a class at school to learn how to operate a bicycle and obey traffic laws on your bicycle? I didn’t think so. Did you have any questions on your driver’s test about how to operate around bicycles? I didn’t think so.

That’s just the surface of education. There is so much more education to be had, but we won’t have it as long as the “bicycle specific infra. only cult” has their way. These are the people who shout you down when you mention education. They are also the people who sit on your panel at John J. College of Criminal Justice during the Left Forum and smirk when you mention education. (Cough cough TransAlt.)

Education is important. So important that other countries have made higher education a “right for all” by making it free.

Infrastructure is important but you can ride your bicycle in the worst infrastructure possible and still do so safely, when you’re educated. Like I did.

DRIVERS ARE RESPONSIBLE

When I read or listen to people’s arguments about how bad drivers are so bad and so frequent that we have to have special infra because there are just TOO MANY distractions for modern day drivers. I see a person who doesn’t want to take responsibility for their own actions. They are making excuses and wanting to blame everything and everyone else for their own poor choices.

Nobody is forcing you to drive distracted.

Nobody is forcing you to drive at speeds unsafe for road conditions.

You alone are to blame.

It used to be that an auto crash was so impactful that people “felt” that “the horror” of the crash was punishment enough. The knowledge that you took someone’s life was knowledge that you’d have to live with for the rest of your life.

How soul crushing.

Now, thanks in part to religion, we can pray all that away. Our prayers will forever lift up those killed and ease the burden of anyone who did the killing. A little religious dusting up and a healthy dose of conservative “it’s my God given right,” values and they are off and zooming towards their next collision. With the help of the auto insurance lobby, all auto wrecks are paid for by insurance. And if you’re well to do, especially if, you’ll hear people talking about the “Better Car” they’re going to buy instead of how torn up they are that they took a life. That doesn’t mean that I think we shouldn’t have insurance. I think that we have used insurance as an excuse to do bad things in our autos. TOWANDA!!

Who would not want to drive without fear of having an accident and not lose a lot of money ? With it, you can cover all traffic complications. This type of car insurance is especially necessary if you drive the car for someone else or a company car. Even driving a car on a loan would be much safer if you fully insured cheap full coverage auto insurance. Via: ReadingRobot

But ingrained in our psyche is that old idealism about “surviving an auto crash is punishment enough.” I’m sure you’ve heard “Let the punishment fit the crime,” in auto traffic injuries and fatalities it’s rare to see the punishment fit the crime. We have a winking idealism to “minor traffic” infractions.

Whether a defendant – the person convicted of a crime – broke a state or federal law, when it comes determining his punishment or sentence, an overriding concern is that it be proportional to his crime. In other words, the punishment should “fit the crime.” The idea is easy to understand. We don’t want to send people to prison for minor traffic offenses. Putting that idea into action, however, isn’t always so simple. Via: LawyersDotCom

In Conclusion:

I believe we need to revisit driver responsibility and figure out effective ways of getting the message across to people.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW YOU DRIVE.

Thank goodness traffic wasn’t too badly impacted. (Sarcasm)

I’m (not) sorry, reporting with emphasis about traffic being congested due to a crime scene isn’t good reporting.

http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Deadly-crash-involving-bicyclist-in-Bourbon-County-376000511.html

My heartfelt condolences to all my cycling friends in Lexington Kentucky and to the family of Dr. David Cassidy.

  Read more

Motorist Awareness Wednesday KRS 189.390 (2) Speed part 2

KRS 189.390 (2) An operator of a vehicle upon a highway shall not drive at a greater speed than is reasonable and prudent, having regard for the traffic and for the condition and use of the highway.

Speed limits in URBAN zones.

A woman was killed on a residential street in Nicholasville KY. She was crossing her street when a driver fatally struck her.

According to Officer Grimes of Nicholasville PD, the motorist didn’t commit a crime until they fled the scene. Officer Grimes said “This could have just been a traffic accident. Where they didn’t see the individual or whatever may have happened.” In fact Officer Grimes attitude is the typical “Aw shucks. Accidents happen,” attitude so prevalent in law enforcement when it comes to driver on pedestrian crime.

While this is the opinion of a few poorly educated law enforcement officials. Is it what the statute in Kentucky actually says?

Kentucky’s traffic statutes are directly from the Uniform Vehicle Code and they are pretty basic. Every state follows these basic laws. Some states have rewritten the UVC to narrow the scope of its definitions. This can be good in that it takes something which could be interpreted one of two ways and plainly says what the intention of the law is. It can be bad in that if it is too narrowly defined you could be breaking the law and not know it.

URBAN ZONES

Urban zones are areas of built up infrastructure. They include residential, businesses, and mixed use. In towns and cities with good city planning and zoning laws, you will find sidewalks, clearly marked pedestrian crossings, and lower speed limits.

The absence of pedestrian friendly infrastructure is not an excuse for striking a pedestrian with your auto.

Speed limits in Kentucky are statutorily set and can be reduced by petitioning the State Secretary of Transportation.

KRS 189.390(3) The speed limit for motor vehicles on state highways shall be as follows, unless conditions exist that require lower speed for compliance with subsection (2) of this section, or the secretary of the Transportation Cabinet establishes a different speed limit in accordance with subsection (4) of this section:
(a) Sixty-five (65) miles per hour on interstate highways and parkways;
(b) Fifty-five (55) miles per hour on all other state highways; and
(c) Thirty-five (35) miles per hour in a business or residential district.
(4) (a) If the secretary of transportation determines, upon the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation, that any speed limit is greater or less than is reasonable or safe under the conditions found to exist at any intersection, or
upon any part of a state highway, the secretary of transportation may establish
by official order a reasonable and safe speed limit at the location.

While the state has set the “official” maximum statutorily to 35 mph, it should be noted that the bulk of residential roads are officially set to 25 mph. Where residences and business’ are mixed the speed limit will fluctuate between 25 mph to 35 mph.

When signage indicates that the speed limit has increased to 35 mph from 25 mph, this is not a license to speed freely through. You are still charged to operate your vehicle with due care.

It is not reasonable or prudent to assume that there are no pedestrians present in a business zone. Especially if the business zone is adjacent or abuts to a residential zone.

Speeding, so much as one mile over the speed limit, has a citation code.

Capture

 

If you can’t stop your vehicle in time to avoid striking a pedestrian, you are traveling too fast for road conditions.

The person who killed the mother in Nicholasville should have, had they actually stopped and rendered aid, been charged with speeding and reckless driving.

Capture1
189.390 (2) Driving too fast for traffic conditions is a crime.
Capture2
189.338 (1B) Failure to yield right of way to pedestrian

Every intersection, whether clearly marked or not, is a pedestrian crossing and you are required to approach these at a prudent speed.

KRS 189.00 has defined intersections as follows:

 

When operating a motor vehicle in urban zones, it is always best practice to operate a few miles below the posted speed limit.

If it is dark out or if conditions prevent you from having clear visibility, it is always best practice to reduce your speed. You should travel at a speed which allows you to react quickly should something suddenly appear before you.

It goes without saying that drinking and driving do not mix. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Distracted driving and drowsy driving are as bad as drunk driving.

I believe that if people drove their autos with as much care as is actually required to operate them, not only would we have fewer collisions but we would have fewer people eager to drive. Driving is hard work and requires your full attention. Your brain needs to be focused on the task at hand.

Watch video here. Officer Grimes interview and the description below is on the second video in the link.

You can see the 25 mph speed limit behind the reporter. Note the drivers they catch on film speeding through at 35 mph.

The myth that you can operate 10 mph over the speed limit before the police will do anything is just that, a myth. Where this myth gains momentum and becomes established as reality, is when our law enforcement takes a winking attitude towards people who speed.

Kentucky’s statutes clearly charge drivers to operate at speeds which are prudent for the conditions they are in.

 

Motorist Awareness Wednesday

Motorist Awareness Wednesday.

KRS 189.390 Speed
(2) An operator of a vehicle upon a highway shall not drive at a greater speed than is reasonable and prudent, having regard for the traffic and for the condition and use of the highway.

Part 1
Driving on rural roads.

“Shall not drive at a greater speed than is reasonable and prudent,”

What does that mean?

From an engineering perspective operating at speeds for which the road was designed for, which is only a small part of this statute.

How does it apply to a driver operating on a clear day with high visibility on a rural back road?

Let’s assume a straight stretch of road, out in the middle of nowhere. No side streets, no business’, or residences with traffic pulling in or merging out.

It means you can operate at or near the posted speed limit as long as doing so does not interfere with the established rights of those already lawfully present on the highway.

Now let’s add a residence.

It means you operate at a speed which gives you sufficient braking distance should a pet or child suddenly dart out into the road. There is reasonable expectation that someone could be checking their mailbox or crossing the road to visit their neighbor, when residences are present.
I’d also add that we are still assuming a perfectly flat and straight road.

Now let’s add a curve in the road.

It means you operate at a speed which gives you sufficient braking distance should a vehicle, pedestrian, pet, fallen log, or a wild animal present itself on the road.
The lesson here is never ever operate as though the road ahead of you is clear when you are not able to see what is actually ahead of you. You do not have a reasonable expectation that there won’t be anything around a curve in the road.

Engineering standards require you to slow down even for gentle curves with some visibility ahead. You can not operate with the assumption that your vehicle is going to maintain contact with the pavement as you take a turn at speed.

 

Let’s add a hill.

We are going to go back to assuming a straight road without any potential conflicts from the side of a road.

You are required to operate your vehicle at a speed which allows you sufficient braking distance should you encounter another vehicle or object over the crest of a hill.
You should never operate at a speed which causes you to “catch air.” When your tires are not in contact with the ground you do not have any control over your vehicle.

Some law enforcement officers have trouble understanding these basic driving rules.

“Gribler said that, “in hindsight,” Oliver should not have been speeding through Bloomingdale into the sun and over a blind hill…”

The mother of the injured boy had this to say.

“I was almost physically ill,” she said. “All along I’d been telling my boys to keep faith, there will be a reprimand, he’ll suffer, he’ll be punished, and I just felt such failure. How am I supposed to help my boys keep their faith when there is no repercussion?

You can never ever assume that there isn’t something on the other side of the hill.

Summary of part 1

All things being perfect you still can not operate faster than the posted speed nor can you operate at a speed which interferes with anyone who is already lawfully present on the road.
You are still required to operate at a speed which allows you sufficient reaction time and braking distance to avoid a collision.

This falls under reasonable and prudent operation of a vehicle.

 

l2tCN.So.9
PETA activists who drive imprudently are hypocrites.

Next week we will look at dense urban areas and discuss this tragic story.

http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/04/01/nypd-no-charges-for-driver-who-hit-10-people-leaving-boy-brain-dead/