As I was making my way home, I passed through White-Marts overly expansive auto squatting lot.
I scanned my way through welfare for auto’s and yielded to foot traffic as appropriate. Upon completing my turn into the home stretch lane, I scanned for male centrist autos driven by any person behind the wheel.
As I approached the stop sign, I witnessed a white pick up truck careening off the main road, his white truck bouncing over the curb, the rear end fishtailing as he hit the gas.
Visually calculating the distance, I knew there wouldn’t be time to make it through the squatting lot intersection and avoid the large white man who occupied the large white truck.
None of the rules applied to him.
He was normal.
I was not.
He gave me a white, shit eating grin, from behind the white whiskers framing his white face, as he sat behind the wheel of his white truck. His large white thumb sticking up in the oppressive air which surrounded him.
“Thank you for following the rules of the road,” his actions screamed, as he himself broke several.
Pedaling off from my power position, pedal up, as my weight propelled me forward.
I looked over my shoulder and signaled to him that he was indeed number one.
Normative male centrist society, from which sprung forth the auto, has classified rules which dominate all others. By default, you and I are ‘other’.
The culture around “Those rule breaking bicyclists,” perfectly sums up a micro view of normative white culture.
My two disadvantages are being a woman on a bicycle. It irks me to no end when white men co-opt rape culture to ‘prove’ their victimization. Which isn’t to say that they can’t be victims of a crime. But they will never be a black man, woman, LGBTQ, and a victim of a crime
For that white man, he momentarily becomes other(ized) as he climbs on his bicycle. This other(ing) is brief and surface deep. Like dipping a toe in to test the temperature of the otherness water.
These men, who also invented the bicycle, before rapidly tossing it for the much more exclusionary auto, can not be the voice of bicycle advocacy.
They are, as a whole, crushing any forward momentum we have obtained.
Only recently have I found a few men, who have grasped the concept that you can not rationalize with the irrational and male culture is irrational, full stop.
People who drive, break as many “rules of the road” as anyone else who doesn’t drive. But Pedestrians and Bicyclists bear the brunt of being labeled a wanton rule breaker.
Any motorist, no matter their race or gender identity, is participating in, propping up, and re-establishing white normative culture as the default culture when they ‘other’ anyone traveling on foot or using alternative transportation, such as a bicycle.
I came very close to going to prison. Not because I had done anything wrong by cycling on U.S. 27, but because the system is flawed. It works for those who have the money to buy the right connections.
Purvi Patel and I were in the same boat but for different reasons. Her story could have very easily been my story. I’d had two late term abortions due to severe fetal anomalies. Even writing the last part of that sentence sits wrong with me. I shouldn’t have to include my private medical information so that you’d feel empathy for me instead of disgust. But there we have it. Rape culture and victim blaming.
I can’t speak for Purvi Patel’s legal council or the laws that were used to charge her. I’m not familiar with either. What I can speak about with confidence is the mixed reactions people had when her story broke. Some people felt empathy, while others wanted to crucify her. I recall trying to raise awareness about her story and a woman wrote to me saying that “she dumped the body in a dumpster!” as though that should seal her fate. It reminded me of the pseudo cycling advocates who say “She’s cycling on the road!” as though that was all the evidence they needed that I was doing something wrong.
I’ve worked in a hospital before as hospital staff. My first experience with hospital waste came from my first summer job I had before college. I was working for the college laundry and we serviced the hospitals dirty linens. The stuff you find in there is shocking. The stuff you see in a hospital is shocking. But it’s only shocking to the people who live in suburban and urban bubbles. People whose closest foray into the medical world is watching edited for T.V. medical dramas don’t understand. Real life is much messier and less black and white.
So they judged her without knowing her and they prosecuted her with barely a peep from Civil Liberties giants like the ACLU.
Recently I saw an article declaring high speed internet in rural locations as our next civil liberties crisis. I thought, wow! What a crock of shit! Huffington post highlighted a story about a man who was struggling to earn enough through his online business to support his family. This has the ACLU galloping to fight for “justice.” Internet is important and it’s a great tool for learning but there are other avenues and no one is having their freedoms destroyed because they can’t connect at speeds greater than 25mbps.
Meanwhile Purvi Patel might very well languish in prison for 20 years because she felt conflicted about a pregnancy, shared those feeling via text msg, and had a miscarriage that was probably more of a relief for her than it was a loss. Then she put the already dead fetus in the trash. Much the same way that your local hospital does. Though most have their medical waste incinerated to prevent biohazards from getting into the environment. It’s all very regulated.
My first late term abortion I opted to have my pregnancy induced. It was just a matter of time and time wasn’t on my side. The baby had at this point died in utero and I was becoming sick. Every woman is different and every woman’s body handles a dead fetus differently. Maybe Nicholas was alive right up until the birth and they told me they couldn’t find a heartbeat to help me feel better. I don’t know. What I do know is that he was dead when he came out and I got to hold a 25 week old fetus in my arms. They are fragile as spun glass. Very tiny too. In fact the anti-choice posters they wave at Planned Parenthood don’t look like 6-12 week old fetus’. They look more like my son Nicholas at 25 weeks. Which is to say that those people are lying to you. They are lying to you when they tell you that Purvi Patel’s baby was born alive. They will feed you half lies and tell you that they are semi truths while denying that a half truth is a whole lie.
Much like this picture of me here.
The picture is carefully taken to show you what looks like a nice wide shoulder. Looks pretty smooth too. But it’s not and the broken white line you see to my right is the beginning of a turn only lane. The same turn only lane that I used to illegally cycle forward through and almost got killed on one occasion. So I stopped and tried riding further right only to find that the motorists were taking the right turn at such high speeds that they didn’t see me and I almost got killed again. So I said fuck it and started riding in the lane. Where it was legal and safe. Besides broken glass, rumble strips, pot holes, right turning motorists (at high speeds), and intersections. I still had to deal with people rolling coal on me and throwing things at me. One person even tried to run me over while I was attempting to merge onto the shoulder. They passed me on the shoulder and almost struck me. So I said fuck it! I’m not breaking any laws by staying in the right hand lane and that’s where I’m safe, so that’s where I rode.
If you didn’t know all that just looking at the picture would make you question my “morality,” which is an absurd thing to do but it’s what humans do and we as a species are absurd.
The courts didn’t have a legal leg to stand on but with an inept conservative Republican, who is also a Lexington KY road cyclist, for an attorney. One who specialized in contract law and had never conducted a courtroom trial, I was screwed and I knew it. People ask me why I didn’t ask for a continuance when the ASSistant C.A. Eric Wright introduced a new charge at my trial. Mostly I wanted my relationship with my attorney to be over but also because I felt bad for the people who had paid air fare to come out and defend me. I really just wanted the whole thing to be over. I knew my attorney wasn’t prepared to represent me and I knew I was going to lose on those first three tickets. I wanted to win. I wanted to win so bad I could taste it. But the odds were stacked against me and I knew it. Filing an appeal was my next option but the new attorney I hired, thanks to all of your generous donations, advised against it. As did Ohio bike lawyer Steve M. He knew that the case was poorly represented and Steve had given it his best but there was only so much Steve could do with the local attorney who sat through the whole trial like a bump on a log. The guy who filmed my news segment, the one from which the picture is taken and my local attorney are tight. Both cyclists. Both men. They are not bad people. What they are is really out of touch people. People who think Trump is going to make America Great again or that Hillary Clinton has a fighting chance against Trump. They are really out of touch with working class Americans.
My new attorney said we had two options, file a mistrial due to incompetent legal counsel. Which I didn’t want to drag Steve’s name into. Or accept a plea agreement. The plea agreement was only accepted by me because I did not admit to any guilt. That was my one stipulation above all else. Jude Booth had already ruled my cycling on the road was legal. The City of Nicholasville agreed to drop all charges, have the first three tickets expunged from my record and the fines waived (taxpayer dollars down the drain), and all I had to do was agree to not cycle on U.S. 27 for two years. We threw in that the police had probable cause to pull me over. But I didn’t give a shit about that because the U.S. Supreme court later ruled that cops can pull you over if they “think” you’re breaking a law but you’re not actually breaking a law. Meaning that the cop could think you’ve broken a law or he can make up a law and that would count as probable cause. Like I said the whole system is fucked up. So I gave them probable cause and agreed to not cycle on U.S. 27 for two years. Since U.S. 27 runs directly through downtown and I knew that the county attorney and his crew were as corrupt as fuck. I had no choice but to move away. I couldn’t go to my bank or the grocery store without using U.S. 27 and you know they’d throw my ass in jail for breaking the plea agreement if I said or did anything they didn’t like. Even though I wasn’t cycling on the main road to Lexington it was still U.S. 27 and I didn’t trust those fuckers.
But I would have fought and continued fighting if I wasn’t pressured into moving to Louisville. I really did want to fight but at the same time I didn’t because I was so overwhelmed and tired. Having someone constantly telling me to move and even going so far as to tell us to stay with them was enough to influence my decision.
I think Purvi’s legal team really didn’t have a clue as to how to defend her but I do know they put more effort into it than my local attorney did.
I also know that the same type of people who think I’m against bicycle infrastructure are the same type of people who think that Purvi Patel threw a live infant in the trash. Ignorant, out of touch, privileged, mostly male but some women too, and they are all assholes.
The environment that we are currently living in is so geared away from freedom and the people who live in it are so apathetic that they can’t even get 100k signatures to free Purvi Patel BUT! they get over 100k signatures to ask for the freedom of a man who strangled and killed a woman.
He might very well be innocent or he may be guilty as hell! But the fact that the New York Times wrote an extensive article showing that Purvi Patel did NOT kill her baby and that it WAS dead before it ever came out of her vagina is still not enough to garner enough interest to reach more than 18k signatures.
As a woman who was getting a lot of hate from the Mountain Biking community, male auto drivers, and an unwarranted amount of hate from the “progressive” male dominated Democrats of Lexington KY; I knew my pooch was screwed. That and I was fucking tired. Tired of the hate, tired of the controversy (where none need exist), and above all else tired of the attention and people hanging on my every word.
I fought Nicholasville KY because I wanted to keep my home and my kids. I wasn’t looking to be the face of cycling. It wasn’t a stunt to bring attention to cycling or even VC cycling. The VC cyclists were the only group that said “Fuck yea! You have the right to cycle anywhere the hell you want!” That and that alone is what attracted me to them.
As I got to know some of them I realized that the group was comprised of assholes too. Just a different kind of asshole. So I dropped out of the group. No one got a hold of me or brainwashed me into Cycling Savvy. I approached it from logic, the law, and personal experience.
I fantasized about a bikeway that had bike lights and riding on a trail with no fucking self entitled motorists.
I hate bike lanes. Not because I hate bike lanes but because the overwhelming majority of them are crap. Pure fucking crap. I cycle less here in Oregon because of them. I still only cycle for transportation. But If I can take the bus, I so will. I still get harassed for lane control. Even though it is specifically legal to control a lane here in Oregon.
Sometimes I see the bike lobby much the same way I see the “right to life” lobbyists. Always crying about life and how precious it is until the life that matters isn’t one they are particularly interested in.
Abortion without apology and Cycling without apology. They are both our civil rights.
Self autonomy and freedom!
Vote Bernie Sanders!
*Before I learned about lane control I cycled on the right third of the lane.
I wrote a blog about how people should operate vehicles in parking lots. You can read it here.
In some areas it is next to impossible to find a place to lock up your bicycle. Pleasure cyclists, occasional cyclists, and roadies rarely have kickstands or Dutch locks. My bicycle has both. It’s better than sliced bread. Seriously.
If you’ve been frustrated by your plea’s for bicycle parking falling on deaf ears, never fear, I have a solution for you.
One of the easiest ways I’ve been able to draw attention to the disparity in bicycle parking facilities is by using the parking facilities already present.
If you don’t have a kickstand on your bicycle, well, you’re screwed. Unless you can find someone who has a sturdy bicycle, with a kickstand, and is willing to let you lean your bicycle on theirs.
This “lack of bicycle parking facilities” protest is better when it’s done with friends.
Some people will say that they feel bad, taking up so much space. Screw them! I don’t see too many motorists torn up about taking up a full parking spot, especially to haul just one person. Why should you care if you are taking up a space to haul one person? It’s almost like some of you cyclists aren’t really cyclists. Some of you are so apologetic for cycling, you remind me of a beaten animal who slinks back to its abuser and apologetically licks the abusers hand. Seriously! Get some PRIDE! Show a little backbone! You’re a cyclist! Motorists should be falling over backwards THANKING YOU!
Cyclists are awesome.
We don’t tear up the roads we travel on. We don’t spew toxic chemicals into the air. We don’t run down your family pets as they cross the road. Hell! We save the pets motorists dump on the side of the road!
So stop feeling guilty for using a parking space. You are not a second class citizen. You deserve convenient and secure parking.
What’s more Pedestrians deserve the sidewalk. Nobody wants to trip over your bicycle(s) as they try to navigate the, often, too narrow sidewalk.
No person in a wheelchair should have to struggle to get past your bicycle as it blocks the sidewalk.
As a cyclist I believe it is our duty to look out for pedestrians.
Here is a possible kickstand solution for you roadie types.
A simple U-Lock works or you can add a Dutch style bicycle lock to your bicycle. Not recommended for the roadies. Your cycling bro’s will totally laugh at you (but inside they’ll be jealous).
Some towns have passed ordinances making it illegal to park a bicycle in an “auto” parking spot. Most have a clause about this ordinance only applying if there is a bicycle parking facility. Read and know your state, county, and city laws. Civil disobedience is a beautiful thing.
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.
“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.”
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:
An old woman who looks as if she is about to die.
An old friend who once saved your life.
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.
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.)
This isn’t a tree hugging, left leaning, liberal agenda designed to shame you into freeing up precious public space. (Though you should)
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.)
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.
(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.
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!
“We, collectively, are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.” – President Obama
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.
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!
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.
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.
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. The approach was developed by Hans Monderman who believed that “if you treat drivers like idiots, they act as idiots” and proposed that trusting drivers to behave was more successful than forcing them to behave.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”.
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.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.