Women, Freedom, and Bicycles.

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.

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*That’s me. Before I learned lane control. I was getting a lot of close in the lane passes. 

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.

 

 

Rape Culture, Religious Fanaticism, Jim Crow, and Bicycles

Dear gentle reader,

Don’t you hate it when people start off writing with an opening like that? I know I do. I write this salutation to warn you that what you are about to read will (hopefully) blow your mind. I wrote it quickly and without proofreading. So excuse my deplorable punctuation and grammar. Which has always been deplorable but had the benefit of proofreading. This needs to be said and it needs to be said now.

If you have been reading my blog from the beginning you will, hopefully, have noticed a theme.

I am first and foremost a proponent of everyone getting along and sharing that which has been entrusted to the public for public use. I paid attention in Kindergarten when we were taught to respect each other and share. I hope you did too.

I am not, as some less than emotionally stable people will insist, against infrastructure. What I am against is the flawed logic that all of cyclings problems can be resolved with infrastructure alone.

In fact I believe that it is this bicycle infra. only cult which has lead to the deaths of many cyclists and the culture of removing the blame from motorists for their bad driving habits. Because “if they’d only had a bike lane none of this would have happened” is specious logic.

At the end of this blog I will present solutions to these problems.

Where the article in TreeHugger fails is in…

RAPE CULTURE

Blaming cyclists for the injuries they sustain due to careless drivers is rape culture. As this, hot off the press and the straw which broke this blogger’s back, article in TreeHugger accurately portrays. Where they fail is in the conclusion.

The article in TreeHugger promotes rape culture. Blaming infra. or the lack thereof but not fully placing the onus on the perpetrator of the attack is rape culture.

Blaming a cyclist for the actions of a careless driver are ingrained in us, not by those who want to see cyclists as expected and respected, but rather by those who have made it their personal mission to create a smear campaign against those of us who are actively trying to require motorists to be held accountable for their actions.

I often hear “If they had a bike lane this wouldn’t have happened,” as though we can just engineer all of societal ills out of public roads.

That’s exactly like this judge blaming a rock concert for a Brazilian woman’s rape.

I believe that everyone has a right to use the public roads and that they should be treated with equal status when on the roads. I also believe that good bicycle infra is an essential component of encouraging cycling. I don’t believe that it’s the only component to promoting cycling.

I myself was arrested for legally and safely cycling on a public road. I wasn’t not using the shoulder to be “Cute” or “Prove a point” as the zealots claim. No! I was a new, in every way, cyclist who took up cycling as a means to provide for her children.

I, as a poor hardworking single mom, got shafted by both “Motorists are king of the road” car culture and “Special snowflake syndrome” bike culture. Not to be confused with responsible motorists and responsible bicycle advocates.

I still struggle to get people to take my story seriously because some people have chosen to latch onto the idea that this was a stunt by VC.

Where the article in Tree Hugger fails is in…

RELIGIOUS FANATICISM

Religious fanaticism is the antithesis to religion.

You can not believe in an all loving God. A God whom you believe created everything on earth and pronounced it good while shitting on those who question its existence. Nor can you follow such a God and believe that he has chosen you, above all others, as especially blessed, giving you special leave to shit on anyone who doesn’t believe in this same God, exactly as you believe in it.

Enter bicycle specific infra. only zealots.

Every problem which plagues cyclists can not all fit into a bike lane. The bike lane is not Jesus resurrected, come to save cyclists from the sinfulness of motorkind.

Bike lanes, like religion, can be good and helpful.

And like religion, they can also be bad. Very, very bad, and that which was created to solve problems can in and of itself create a plethora of new problems, as this article shows. Link here. Especially if the bike lane is engineered using the very common practice of “get cyclists the hell off the road and out of our way!” car culture engineering.

Anyone who questions the safety and viability of a bike lane is immediately shouted down by the “Infra. only zealots.” A rather cultish group of people who troll twitter and call anyone who asks for better forethought in bicycle infrastructure a “Cunt,” as in… “You must be a VC! Because only a VC would ever question a bike lane you cunt.”

I was so angry when a twitter user did just that because I was trying to promote bike infra which would accommodate wider bicycles for people with special needs.

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John jumped in mid conversation and started slamming me with slurs then immediately blocked me. So I switched to my other account to find his offensive tweet and snap a picture.

Where the article in TreeHugger fails is in…

JIM CROW

Our European friends may not be familiar with “Jim Crow” laws and it is this lack of familiarity which will lead them to question our aversion to words like “separated infra.” Because as we know here in the United States and especially the South, “Separate but Equal,” is anything but. Andy Clarke was himself a infra only leader and used his political power to try and establish mandatory cycle lane laws in Washington state. A state where cycling is given the advantage of infra succeeding or failing by the comfort with which cyclists feel when using it. And calling a cyclist a VC (Vehicular Cyclist) has, in the world of cycling, been given the emotional weight of calling a person of color the “N” word. It is a word which was once and briefly used to describe the facts of a person’s skin color but then rapidly became a way to dehumanize and humiliate a class of people. Much in the same way that overly zealous followers of infra only “Guru’s” will preach to their follows that all VC are ANTI-INFRA! For an interesting read about the opinion of just such a Guru, click the blue link.

When in reality nothing could be further from the truth. I consider myself a connoisseur of infra. I understand how to operate in traffic and I want the best infra possible. I don’t want crumbs from the “Car Culture” table and I don’t believe that we are being given a feast when someone paints a shitty little lane into the gutter. Or worse between two 12 foot wide lanes. I know better.

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This is a bike lane. We don’t currently have a word to describe this crap as opposed to good infra. So anyone complaining about this, without first asking what they are referring to, is slammed as VC. Here in Oregon state laws says I’m obligated to use this lane and if ticketed, I have to go to the trouble of proving I had good reason not to be in it.

 

What Mr. C. Anderson consistently fails to grasp is that in America, our shitty by blow bike lanes, a bastardization of auto culture, are further made unbearable by “Mandatory Use” laws. And it is those laws which I hate above all else.

SUMMARY

He almost had it right.

A vehicular cyclist isn’t repulsive. A vehicular cyclist is one of the most educated cyclists on the road. And as @Rightlegpegged once asked “Have you even read the Uniform Manual on Bicycle Infra or attended a city council meeting?”

Have you even. Much like, you’re so stupid but I’ll condescend to acknowledge you.

The answer is yes. In fact, the greater majority of VC I know are passionate advocates for good bicycle infra, as they themselves are cyclists who cycle for transportation. They, like me, cycle in spite of a lack of infra. So let’s give them the respect they deserve.

Have you even talked to a VC about their concerns?

HOW DO WE SOLVE THIS?

  1. We need to immediately stop slurring anyone who is using VC cycling principles for their safety.
  2. We need to create a safe place where people can share their concerns about infra without immediately resorting to name calling.
  3. Repeal all mandatory bike lane use laws.
  4. Make it a penalty against the officer for not ticketing a motorist who causes injury to a cyclist.
  5. Stop encouraging people to cycle on the edge of a road by shaming them into thinking they are being VC if they occupy a whole lane.
  6. Mandatory cycling education across the board and on every level.
  7. And I feel this is super important. Create policy mandating cycling infra be made with the same specification on the user’s safety as is given to auto infra engineering.
  8. Lower speed limits.
  9. Re-visit past tort law and educate law enforcement that the onus is on the driver to operate with care around pedestrians and cyclists.
  10. Ban auto ads from television and social media. Like cigarettes they have a huge impact on public health and shape the culture of speed makes right and entitlement.

We can do all of this and still promote good infra.

I also would like to see sharrows in low speed residential areas. This is a place where bike lanes don’t make sense at all.

While I’m working to end car culture, be so kind as to support me. Instead of talking about me behind my back, giving me the cold shoulder, or making fun of me ask me about what I would do to make cycling better for all.

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Criminalizing walking on the sidewalk is the next push in auto culture. Criminalizing texting while walking in pedestrian zones.

 

 

Let me plainly state that my problem with the article in TreeHugger is that it blames a lack of infra on the careless actions of a motorist. That is rape culture.

 

 

 

 

 

Irresponsible ads are contributing to child mortality rates.

As a person who commutes solely by bicycle, I am shocked by the inundation of auto ads on T.V. and in my social media news feed.

Maybe it is because I live a auto free life that I notice the frequency of the ads?

I’ve spent a great deal of time educating myself on safety and laws which govern our use of public space. I even have some nifty certifications to show for all that time spent.

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People are being injured and killed at an alarming rate. Traffic fatalities fall in 2014, but early estimates show 2015 trending higher.

Though this isn’t anything new, since the inception of the automobile the death toll has been catastrophic. Americans have recognized the dangers of high auto speeds. It’s a universal knowledge that speed kills. Yet it is often the last reason cited in traffic collision reports. There was a time when people tried to mandate the use of governors to effectively reduce the operating speeds of motor vehicles. Auto manufacturers were understandably alarmed.
Higher awareness about the inherent dangers of speed meant less product sold. Or maybe it was that fewer people would crash and destroy their auto thus requiring the purchase of a new auto?
Either way a slick propaganda campaign was implemented and people were convinced that this was an end to their personal freedom. Never mind the freedom of everyone else.

Companies, such as AAA, which today are known for their emphasis on safety were behind the push to force pedestrians and bicycles off the road.

AAA and other auto clubs turned first to the younger generation, financing safety education programs in the public schools that were designed to teach children that streets are for cars, not for kids. “The Invention of Jaywalking.”

The product, and the financial gains to be had from it, were the driving force behind the movement to all but eliminate the competition.

Once the landscape had been cleared of obstacles, figuratively and literally, the motor manufacturers were free to irresponsibly sell product.
The advertisements were focused on economy, durability, and reliance.
They emphasised the manliness of auto owners and their ability to “Wow” the ladies. One advert emphasised their auto as being so easy “Women and children can safely use it.”, another calls their auto the “Boss of the Road” and “So simple that a boy of 15 can run it.”

1903_Fordmobile_Ad

Motor ads were not responsible in the advertisement of their products. They had one mission in mind, to sell as many autos as possible. No matter the cost to human lives.
That cost was excessive. Upto 55,000 people were killed per year by autos. That’s an epidemic!

When faced with a health crisis of these proportions, we take action. Yet we have largely overlooked the consummate dangers to public health by turning a blind eye to auto ads.

We banned ads for cigarettes, as public awareness grew over the dangers of smoking to the public. Big tobacco companies were pushing their product on unsuspecting consumers.

By banning ads for cigarettes public health interests, like W.H.O., have effectively reduced the incidence of smoking. This is an important beginning step to eliminating an expensive and destructive bad habit. The costs of which affect the user individually and the public as a whole. We acknowledged the health risks to the users of tobacco products as well as to those who were subjected to secondhand smoke.

The auto isn’t any different.

The auto is the most dangerous form of transportation available in modern day.

The health impacts are mind boggling. Pollution, cancer causing agents, socio economic suffering, legal systems which punish the poor through a pay to play ticket scheme, the death of our children outside and inside autos, and increased health risks through lack of exercise. It’s all too much to put into one story.

Not too much more can be said, which has not already been said, about the history and nature of the auto.

The automobile is a weapon or a tool. It mainly depends on the ability and intent of the user.

There was a time when the auto filled a need as a personal mobility device. With the expanding use of public transportation and alternate means of travel it is a product whose time has come and gone.

With denser urban areas becoming the norm, revivals in public transit, and auto for hire schemes such as Lyft and Uber; there really isn’t a need for personal autos. Not even for long distance trips. Rent a car and be done with it.

One would think that we’d be over the car kick by now. Except we aren’t.

Part of the reason, I believe, is because of persuasive auto ads. These ads are designed to create a sense of urgent need and a feeling of superiority when on the road.

I really love driving distracted
You know how people are warned about the dangers of distracted driving by Public Service Announcements? Well none of that matters in Auto Ads.

Gas prices are dropping and Auto Ads are increasing. Along with these increases are deaths. Your loved ones are being destroyed by auto culture and you’re ok with it. Not because you’re ok with your loved one being killed, but because you are brainwashed by auto ads to believe you need that product which is killing your loved ones.

Remember cigarette ads on T.V.?

Neither do I. Yet there was a time when they were sold via television ads. So many ads telling people how sexy smoking was, how invigorating, how tasty! Smoking was increasing and so were the illnesses associated with it.

Through the efforts of activists who genuinely cared about the well being of the American people, over the profits of cigarette manufacturers, a ban on television ads were put into place.

In 1964, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed that advertisers had a responsibility to warn the public of the health hazards of cigarette smoking. In 1969, after the surgeon general of the United States released an official report linking cigarette smoking to low birth weight, Congress yielded to pressure from the public health sector and signed the Cigarette Smoking Act. Via History Channel

This is exactly what we need for auto ads.

We need a full out ban on ads which promote products rated by the CDC as the number one killer of our children.

  • Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 33,000 people died from motor vehicle crashes in 2013 alone.1   Via CDC

leading_causes_of_death_age_group_2014_1050w760h
They call it “Unintentional Injuries” but Motor Vehicle collisions are what the majority of them are. When you drive distracted, drowsy, buzzed, high, or like you own the road. It isn’t unintentional.

Driving is not a passive act. It is hard work and you are required to keep your wits about you while you are doing it.

With the huge flux of auto ads telling us that driving is fun, easy, desirable, sleek, sexy, and your ticket to freedom. Is it any wonder that people “feel” like they “need” to drive?

These are all catch phrases that were used to push cigarette ads and yet we were able to fight “the man” and have them kicked off of television and radio.

So why aren’t we doing that for auto ads?

#BanAutoAds

So the next time you see an auto ad pop up in your news feed, be sure and let them know what you find disturbing about it and add the hashtag #BanAutoAds. Your children’s lives depend on it.

You have options on how to get to work and people are fighting to make those options easier and more accessible to you. Help them.

Don’t wait around for special infra as some people will tell you to do. Take an education course such as Cycling Savvy and learn what real freedom actually feels like.

You can safely travel by walking, cycling, public transport, and auto rentals to get you where you need to go.

All that space removed from auto’s gives us more space to build business’, shops, schools, and cultural activities.

#BanAutoAds

Auto companies are gathering slick advertisers to promote their dangerous product to children using cartoons.

I’d like to sell you a bridge…O’Canada!

Burgoyne bridge St.Catharines Ontario

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Canadian Engineering. The struggle is real.

 

Douglas Bruce Ford, Jr. is a Canadian businessperson and politician in Toronto, Ontario. Ford was Toronto City Councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North in Toronto from 2010 to 2014 at the same time that his brother, Rob Ford, was mayor of Toronto. Wikipedia

Robert Bruce “Rob” Ford is a Canadian politician and businessperson who is a Toronto City Councillor. He was the 64th Mayor of Toronto, serving from 2010 to 2014. Prior to being mayor, Ford was a city councillor. Wikipedia

Car centric societies have no business engineering bicycle specific infrastructure. They aren’t qualified. You can not live your entire life driving a car and think that your engineering degree makes you fit to design bicycle specific infrastructure. You can’t do it. It’s like hiring someone who only walks, and has never driven, to design the roads you drive on. You would consider them unqualified, no matter how extensive their engineering knowledge or how many framed bits of expensive paper they have hanging on their wall.

You have to feel bicycling.

Local cycling advocate Tyler P. wants to ride his bicycle. He has a job, he goes to school, he shops, pays taxes, and is an all around responsible person.

He is a first class citizen being treated with second class status.

Because he rides a bicycle.

Toronto a.k.a. ‘Car’onto thanks to politicians like the “Ford’s” is vastly lopsided in its engineering practices. These engineering policies affect the entire province of Ontario, including the city of St. Catharines in the Niagara region.

Tyler P. has been actively reaching out to the local administration in the Niagara region and asking them for

bmufl-addition
Legally it’s “Shall” but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.

These are temporary signs that he is asking to be placed until the new construction is complete.

As it stands now. There is a 1.2 meter sidewalk and the city of St. Catharines is asking cyclist to dismount and walk their bicycles across a bridge.

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Looks like someone wanted to be cute and put a little blue hat on the cyclist.

It’s a long walk.

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All bridge photo’s courtesy of Tyler P.

Bicycling for transportation is fun. It’s also healthy, good for the environment, and easy on the wallet. The number one response from cyclists when asked why they enjoy cycling is “FREEDOM.”

You can’t get that with a car, even if you made it 100% free in every aspect you would still be hemmed in, limited, and stuck in traffic. That is the nature of autos.

Car centric societies are jealous of the freedom which cycling brings and it’s why people blame cyclists for their traffic problems, try to pass laws restricting them, and gamers design infra which hems cyclists in on every side.

Why can’t he just ride in the lane?

Well he can. Legally in St. Catharines, and all of Canada, Tyler’s bicycle is a vehicle and he is legally allowed to occupy the full lane of travel. Which is why he is asking for the sign. Tyler knows what he can do. That’s not the problem. The problem is that people driving autos will make his life a living hell for exercising his rights. Because they are

  1. Uneducated on the equal status of bicycles as vehicles.
  2. Educated by auto ads that their auto is “like a family member,” and we all put our family before strangers.
  3. Car culture breeds lazy, distracted, and passive driving.

Namely tyler doesn’t want to be harassed.

 

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There is plenty of space for Tyler on the road. There is little space for pedestrians, Tyler and his bicycle.

There has been Twitter mention to the authorities in charge of this project to take into consideration the needs of the cyclist before after the construction is completed. As it stands now the bridge is being built to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists as an afterthought.

There is a real problem with bicycle infra that project engineers, city planners, and cycling advocates like to pretend doesn’t exist.

All transportation engineers put every measure into insuring that autos can operate at maximum speed with safety. They put very little of this same safety culture into bicycle design. Everyone assumes all cyclists are going to operate at super slow speed. I can tell you from experience that cyclists do not, and most will not, operate at the speeds for which you are designing their infra.

You create unsafe places for cyclists, pass laws mandating that cyclists must use these unsafe facilities, and then scratch your heads and conduct million dollar research studies to figure out why cyclists keep dying after all that effort.

Go ride your bike! 

I’m talking to you transportation engineers.

In the meantime. Can we put a little lean on the people in charge of the Burgoyne bridge in St.Catharines, Ontario and get Tyler P. the help he needs in creating space for cycling?

You can contact them here. Niagara Region
And here.
the construction firm
the region is like the county
the mayor who seems responsive at times
Alan Caslin

Please be aware that:

Feb 19
Tyler P.
When it’s done it will have painted lanes at the edge

And on a highly trafficked bridge some paint on the road is completely unacceptable. If a cyclist can be harassed for safely controlling their lane. Then the city has a moral responsibility to create a protected space. Not just from auto’s but from the debris that they push into bike lanes. (It’s why I prefer to cycling in the travel lane. Those nice people in their autos keep them swept clean.)

Please contact the names listed and go to their FB page.

Nicely! Ask them to support cycling.

Do it for yourself, Do it for cycling, Do it for the environment, But above all!

Do it for Tyler!

3826612e-1cde-4ed1-a3a8-67df83f19b17
Steady there. Once false move and it’s a head under a tire. #ForTyler

Lane control…Did I stutter?

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

But that is actually a misquote.

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” The quote is most likely due to George Santayana, and in its original form it read, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ Via Google Search.

It is kind of like that childhood game of telephone. Words are repeated, misconstrued, rehashed, and then repeated further down as though it were the original statement.

As cycling “season” approaches let me start this all over again.

Lane control saves lives. Reduces the frequency of negligent motorist behavior and is the highest form of defensive cycling.

I will present to you a video in which lane control is not used. It is a highway much like the one described in Extremist thinking is hurting cycling.

The driver is at fault whether or not the cyclist was operating defensively or passively.

Cyclists may use the shoulder. Though I don’t recommend it.

We learn from our past so as not to make the same mistakes. It’s how I went from riding the shoulder to controlling my lane. I learned from near misses, logical thinking, and a careful review of state law.

In the video the motorist is seen drifting onto the shoulder. This is the first drift seen and the motorist maintains control of the vehicle as they correct for their mistake. The actions imply that the motorist is leaning over to the passenger side and reaching for something.

An earlier accident — which officials said wasn’t fog-related — involved a semi-trailer that was headed east on Interstate 70 along the turnpike. That accident caused motorists to slow down for several hours Wednesday morning as crews worked to clear the scene.

In that crash, which occurred at 3:20 a.m. at milepost 193.1 on eastbound I-70, near the Shawnee-Douglas county line, a 2005 Freightliner semi-trailer crashed after the driver lost control of his rig while reaching for a pack of cigarettes, turnpike official said.

The semi drifted to the right shoulder, then tipped over onto its right side and slid down the right driving-lane shoulder into the ditch. Via http://cjonline.com/

When a motorist is reaching over for an object it is their natural tendency to maintain a fixed and steady gaze on the road directly ahead of them. The fixed state of their gaze and the physical motion of leaning over will cause the driver to pull the steering wheel in the direction of their lean and they will drift out of their lane. All the while they will maintain eye contact with the road directly ahead of them. When a motorist is fixated in gaze their peripheral vision is compromised and this is exacerbated by speeds over 20mph.

speed-visual-focus-diagram-426x500.jpg
The critical ten

The driver in the video is not maintaining their lane. They are operating a vehicle without regard for other road users. This behavior is normalized socially and the proof of that is in how many motorists are allowed to slide the system. Either by not being cited or having their citations reduced or dismissed.

How lane control reduces and eliminates this behavior. 

Lane control works on these basic principles.

  1. The driver is maintaining a fixed and steady gaze on the road ahead of him.
  2. You are in that narrow cone of vision as the driver maintains that fixed stare.
  3. The driver is forced to acknowledge your presence and react accordingly

Does it work?

Damn straight it works.

There was a time when I was cycling down U.S. 27 and before I knew it a motorist had driven off the road, onto the shoulder, and passed me on the right. At first I interpreted this as bullying harassment. So I caught up with them at the corner gas station and confronted the driver. The driver informed me that he was distracted by his child in the back seat. Mom was sitting in the passenger seat. I realized that this father put not only my life but the life of his family in danger, it was this realization which made me lose my temper and I yelled at him to focus on his driving. I was worried that he would end up killing his family exactly like the driver who actually did end up killing his entire family. this also occurred on U.S. 27. (Completely unrelated to me but still profoundly affecting). Some idiot lady came out of the gas station and hollered at me to stop hollering at people. Because you know how annoying it is when vulnerable road users holler at motorists who almost end their life through careless driving. Poor motorists. Worse! Tea Party Libertarian Motorists. Arrogant and Victimized all in one.

Now, motorists will pitch a fit about you being “In The Road,” and some will eagerly pass legislation requiring you to operate as far right “Out Of Their Way” as possible. Some states even going so far as to legally require you to operate on shoulders. So check your state laws first. Fortunately those states are few and far inbetween. See also Bike League for some help on this subject.

Now here is where the game of telephone mentioned earlier comes in. Not every state has uniform statutes on “Cyclists Far To Right” laws. If a state’s “Bicycle Specific” law contradicts the state statutes you have a valid legal argument. Gather your peeps and start a movement to have those discriminatory laws abolished.

Sorry, I got sidetracked. Back to telephone. You will hear rumors about “safety” and riding the shoulder or as far right as possible. It will seem to make sense. I mean isn’t it logical that something hurtling towards you at high speeds is an increased danger to you? Well yea, if it’s blind and has no brakes. Can you add and subtract?

Sidetracked again. A motorist hurling themselves at you at 55 mph (if they are so dense as to hit you directly from behind) while you are operating your bicycle at say 25 mph will have a striking speed of 30 mph. Which is why the guy in the video was surprised at how few injuries he sustained. I would estimate the driver of the vehicle to be operating at between 35 and 45 mph and the cyclist to be operating at 24 mph. Which means that the striking speed was actually around 11 to 21 mph. Totally survivable and why we don’t ride against the flow of traffic.

Back to telephone, fer reelz this time.

So we hear all these rumors about what is safe and how operating on the shoulder is safe. We are told that the law requires us to operate out of the way of motorists. Basically we hear a lot of stuff. But is any of it actually true?

After a lot of careful study which I won’t go into here; I can tell you that your bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle and you have every right to control your lane and operate with traffic as an equal. That means in the lane. Fully in the lane. Not on the wee bitty edge.

If the cyclist in the video was fully educated on his rights to lane control and had been doing so, here is what I hypothesize would have occurred.

  • Motorist one (who was clearly paying attention) would have been required to reduce speed.
  • The motorists behind motorist one would have followed, so as to avoid rear ending the vehicle in front of them. (We all know rear enders are the fault of the person doing the rear ending and not the person being rear ended. How we flip that for cyclists I fail to understand.)
  • This chain reaction would have forced the negligent motorist to abandon their passenger side “dig” and focus entirely on the road.
  • Everyone would be irritated with the cyclist. Honking horns. Calling them an idiot. Tweeting snarky comments.
  • The cyclist would have felt harassed, marginalized, bullied.
  • Motorists would change lanes to pass or cyclist would have moved over and graciously allowed motorists to proceed before reclaiming their lane control position after being passed.
  • Middle fingers would be waved.
  • The cyclist would have coffee with their friends and commiserate about what a rude lot motorists are after hanging up their bicycle for the day.
  • The motorist would blame their bad day on the cyclist and tell their wife or boss that they were delayed not by their own lack of time management but by that one lone cyclist who slowed them down for 20 seconds.
  • Everyone would be alive and well. No injuries. No police reports. No delays lasting for hours. Paperwork to fill out. Insurance companies to call. Court dates to attend; leading to missed time from work.

Operating on a road is a fifty fifty deal. If everyone does their part, nobody gets hurt.

Motorists are terribly unreliable.

So we lane control to stack the odds in our favor.

Because ultimately the driver was the one who created the situation which lead to the collision. The driver is at fault. The Driver Is At Fault. THE DRIVER IS AT FAULT.

THE DRIVER IS AT FAULT!

And now here is the video.

Happy watching.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/158039745″>Clipped from behind</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user49751273″>Anon Rider</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

It looks like they deleted the video.

So here is a different one.

Which I should warn you is very upsetting to watch.
You will read in the description about how the motorist admitted to seeing the cyclist in this instance but judged (wrongly) that they could overtake.
Again. 
Lane control prevents good motorists from making bad choices.
Bad motorists always make bad choices.
Don’t be a bad motorist.

 

A driver of a White Ford SUV killed a boy. Everyone in comments section victim blames. Except me.

Read the story here.

Screenshot-2016-03-01-12.36.53-660x330.png
Wonderful and well loved boys life cut short by careless driver.


Nicole B
.
How very sad. My prayers go to his family in this hard time. Honestly though this should never have happened. There is no reason why a 16yr old boy should be out at 230am riding his bike.. Where are the parents?!


Lisa S
.
This is a very sad tragic story and I may get hate comments for this, but he had NO BUSINESS at 16 YEARS OLD LEAVING his girlfriends house at 2:30AM!?!? Wonder if he snuck out of his house… My prayers to the victim and his family… I can’t imagine their heartache….


Katre R
.
WHY WHY WHY was a 16 yr old KID allowed to be at 02:30 !!!!!! Lack of parenting that’s why. His parents and the girlfriends parents should be charged with chiid neglect !!!!! Stop being your kids best friend and be a parent. You’re neglect cost him his life!!!


Kevin C
.
My condolences to his family and friends. I just want to say, that street is very dangerous at night. The surrounding neighborhoods have no street lights. I strongly believe the city of Victorville needs to do something about that. I have had a close call or 2 jogging on Luna Rd early mornings. I’m just happy the driver was responsible for his actions and did their part. I respect them as a person. Accidents happen lives are loss, no one is to blame. Its sad such a young kid lost his life, this should be a cause for the citizens to ban together and pressure the city of Victorville in taking more precautions to prevent fatalities like this. I’m sorry to say, but the city of Victorville really doesn’t do much.

My response to the BULLSHIT!

Cherokee Schill
Every single person who empathized with the driver, blamed the parents, blamed the victim, or in any way did not place direct blame on the driver needs a swift lesson on driver responsibility.

You do not hit things or people with your auto! Not ever!
It isn’t ok. It isn’t an “accident.”
It is careless driving. You have headlights for a reason. You use them to see what is in front of you. If you can not see what is in front of you then you SLOW down. If you failed to do any of these things and hit someone or something YOU are at FAULT!
If you kill someone while failing to do any of these basic driving components or use your basic safety measures i.e. dashboard to see how fast you’re going, brakes to slow down, headlights to illuminate what is in front of you. Then you are GUILTY of Felony vehicular manslaughter.
Driving is a responsibility and a privledge.
Riding a bicycle is a RIGHT. That’s why they don’t require licensing or insurance. Because it’s a right to ride your bicycle at any time of the night or day!
P.s. Streets are not dangerous. People who use streets irresponsibly are dangerous.

That is why we can’t have nice things.

It isn’t the lack of infrastructure. It is the lack of education.
Remember the excitement over Japans lack of bicycle specific infra?
Please don’t bring bike lanes to Japan.

We lack real education on bicycle rights. We are inundated with auto commercials which depict unsafe driving and declare “Feel the Freedom!”

We have a very bad culture in the auto world and a very bad culture in the cycling world.

When the first thing out of a cyclists mouth, after I’ve told them I was arrested for legally and safely cycling on a public road, is “in the car lane?” with a slowly growing look of horror. Then you know there is more going on in America then some paint and bollards will ever be able to fix.

It isn’t the lack of infrastructure. It is the lack of people who are willing to put their bike wheels where it matters. In the lane. In groups, in the lane. Not all trying to squeeze into a bike lane. But in the entire, publicly funded with your tax dollars, travel lane which is intended for all vehicles. Motorized or not!

Bicycle Specific Infrastructure and Robert Moses

A cyclist who uses lights, signals, and behaves as a predictable part of traffic doesn’t require bicycle specific infrastructure, some people would argue.

I would agree with them up to a point.

My views of a better culture for people don’t jive with bicycle specific infra (short for infrastructure) in dense urban area’s. Instead, I see these areas as perfect for true greening and humanizing public space.

The problem, as near as I can tell, is our cultural immersion in Robert Moses and his vision for the cities of tomorrow. Huge concrete jungles where everyone has a specific space and directions on how to operate in that space.
I hear this theme repeated back in transportation engineering. One webinar going so far as to suggest that trucks, motorcycles, and personal autos should each have their own specific lane.

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Well that makes everything better! Especially if you only ever intend to cycle forward. I hope there’s a 7-11 in the middle of the street. 

It’s utter madness.

We don’t have space for each type of vehicle to have its own specific lane to operate in and we sure as hell shouldn’t confine people to “lane cages” in an attempt to regulate the mess that is humanity.

Looking back over the history of the rise of the DOT empire and their powerful influence over local governments; I begin to understand why cycling advocates have been wooed into this desire for bicycle specific infra in their neighborhoods. The propaganda is seductive.

I look over Streetsblog, People for Bikes, and League of American Cyclists literature and their love affair with bike lanes; I see people advocating for gilded cages.

You don’t need, nor should you want, a bike lane in dense urban areas. These are places where people should be free to mill around the neighborhood and shop. Pedal from one side of the street to the other as they run their errands. There should be trees, shrubs, food gardens, and benches to sit on in the middle of the road. Or at least on either side of a dedicated rail or tram line.

After speaking with the director of bicycle promotion in Japan, Mr. Hidetomo Okoshi, I left the North American Handmade Bicycle Show with a better vision of cycling and its future.

Mr. Okoshi explained to me that people in his country do not as a rule commute by auto to their jobs. Nor do they commute by bicycle. Instead they take the train and in their communities they get around by foot, bicycle, and auto. In that order of hierarchy. The people he explained do not travel far by bicycle. I asked him about bike lanes. He had an air of apprehension as he explained that Japanese do not need this as much as Americans because of their respect for each other. That is when the lightbulb hit.

Bike lanes do not create respect for cyclists anymore than sidewalks create respect for pedestrians. Communities which insist on bike lanes as a “friendly” way of incorporating cycling as a viable means of transportation aren’t doing anything to help the pedestrians in their communities. Bike lanes, by forcing cyclists off the usable portion of the roadway, enable motorists to speed and endanger both cyclists and pedestrians, not to mention themselves.
As was recently pointed out by Tim Cupery on my Facebook page who said:

it’s worth pointing out that edge-riding IS doing a favor to motorists, so they can continue to go the speed that they would prefer.

This is a key motive behind segregated infrastructure, and many cyclists think of themselves as second-class road users.

And he is right; Motorists do not slow down in the presence of bike lanes. If anything it only encourages them to speed.

How then are bike lanes heralded as a means of humanizing current infra? Because as I see it they aren’t. Instead I see places like downtown Louisville, Lexington, New York, and Portland as huge Robert Moses machines. Churning out the same style of precision engineering which treats people as machines or worse robots who are programmed to follow a specific flow.

Now some might get confused and understandably so, because bicycle infra when held up to car culture is confusing, over whether or not I support any infra at all!

The answer is YES!

But not the way you imagine it and not the way we are currently being sold.

My vision entails trains as mass transit over great distances and as high speed movement between fixed places. Walking and cycling as the normal means of transportation between shorter distances. Zoning which creates inclusive infrastructure and alleviates the homeless crisis, not exacerbate it. Neighborhoods where kids play on the street and tool around on their bicycles. E-assist pedal transport of heavy goods from a centralized location. More reliance on creative solutions and less dependence on the Moses era of thinking.

Bicycle highways which connect cities to each other are an excellent start to this vision. Zoning for the use of the areas around it to meet the needs of those cycling long distance is crucial.

But what do we do in the meantime?

We dismantle DOT or at the very least remove it from power as an oligarchy.  Sorry that was a bit ambitious for step one. Let me start over.

  1. We advocate for mandatory cycling education in all schools. Educating our children on how to operate their bicycles as a part of traffic.
  2. We advocate for mandatory cycling education on all drivers licensing, re-licensing, and court appointed diversion programs.
    (By following these first two steps we can effectively remove or at least significantly reduce cycling prejudice in one generation. Something to think about.)
  3. We advocate for reduced speed limits in neighborhoods and dense urban areas including cities. 20 mph is plenty.
  4. We advocate for mass transit and transitioning from Heavy Goods Vehicles a.k.a. tractor trailers to E-assist Heavy Goods Pedal Bikes.
  5. We advocate for programs with local police to report bullying and dangerous motorist behavior.
  6. We advocate for Greening our local communities with tree planting, food gardens, and shrubbery.
  7. We advocate for repeal of mandatory bike lane use laws.

If we get this started we can all have nice things.

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You can ride your bicycle through here. It’s lovely isn’t it?

 

Or we can continue to have this.

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Let’s stick a bike lane in here and call it green infra!

Space is scarce without resorting to urban sprawl. Yet urban sprawl is exactly what layering bicycle culture over auto culture is creating. I hate #SneckDown as it 1. doesn’t actually change anything. 2. It’s a crappy way to “educate” people. 3. It is, in my own opinion, a throwback to Oliver Twist. “Please Sir! May I have some more?” We aren’t asking for our space, it is ours to begin with, we are demanding it back.

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I call it “Cycling Without Apology.” And far too many of you cycle as though you are apologizing for being present on the road. 

 

People who have much to gain from selling Bicycle Lanes shouldn’t be trusted as a source of unbiased opinion on the greatness of Bicycle specific infra.

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I have some infra I’d like to sell you. It will make your life so much better. 

This picture is a perfect example of gilded cages. It is a modern day version of separate but equal. Except that you aren’t treated as an equal. You are a bird in a cage and your freedom of movement is an illusion. Need to get to the shop in the middle of the other side of the street? Tough shit! Go down a block, make a U-turn, and then you will eventually reach your destination.

But we love authoritay! and some people want to treat cyclists as special snowflakes.

special-snowflake

We will never move towards a society which unequivocally increases its modal share to bicycling unless we first remove all prejudice against and all special snowflake syndromes from cycling.

“Cycling without apology” and “Cyclists: Expected and Respected” should be mainstays of our advocacy language.

I don’t apologize for using road space which my taxes helped pay for. I am your equal on the road, respect me.

Any infra proposed which does not treat cyclists as either or both of those isn’t infra which is going to move our society forward nor will it increase modal share.

David Bowie

David Bowie

Music is good. I’m not into it the way some people seem to be. So I declined from sharing my David Bowie story in the days after his death.

My most memorable David Bowie moment had nothing to do with music.

My step dad is a huge David Bowie fan.

I was about 8 or 9 years old.

It was a typical boring Sunday in our house. Nothing going on outside. Nothing on inside except a movie that my step dad was watching. I couldn’t make sense of the film. At first I thought it was an army movie. I liked those. But then it seemed to focus on this guy and elevate him to godlike status. I felt repelled by this glorification of one lone individual. I’ve always been repelled by hero worship.
As I’m watching the film, I’m trying to decide if I’m going to sit through the whole thing or put on my roller skates and go outside.
The scene shows a man laying in a bed. He has a bandage over his forehead. A man is near him and a woman stands over him. The camera zooms in on his face.
I see what looks like a red flash in one eye and get up close to the TV. The scene cuts to the woman. Boring. So I sit back. Then it shows the man laying in bed and there’s a brief showing of his face.
Excited, I tell my step dad “Hey! That guy has one big pupil and one little pupil.”
My step dad looks at me like I’m all kinds of stupid. “What do you mean one big pupil and one little pupil? He’d be dead if he had that.” Then my step dad launches into an explanation about how David Bowie has one brown eye and one blue eye. He explains that it’s a genetic trait.
I know I’m right. I just don’t know how to explain that I’m right.
I insist that if he were to look closely he would see some blue at the bottom of the colored part of the eye. “It’s his pupil that makes his eye look dark,” I explained.
My step dad told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and that I shouldn’t try to think so much on my own. Other people knew better and I should listen to them.

Only, I was right and he was wrong.

The memory of that stuck with me. I’d like to think that David Bowie is the type of person who would tell my step dad to shut his pie hole and thank me for being astute.

I’ll never understand why people who are wrong refuse to learn. Why they are content to stagnate in their ignorance. What motivates such people to stay stuck on stupid and tear other people down in the process?

I lost all interest in the movie after that.

The distaste that my step dad left with me wasn’t for David Bowie. Though it did set an unpleasant memory in my mind, which I would recall, every time I saw a David Bowie music video.

So after many years down the road. I came across an article discussing David Bowie’s eye condition and how he came to have it. I learned that I was right and my step dad was wrong.
I also learned that some people will blow a lot of smoke and make a lot of bluster when they think they’re right. I also learned that some people can make a lie sound very convincing and use unrelated facts to bolster their belief in their correctness.

I learned not to doubt myself.

An environment of learning is something I’ve always cultivated. If I’m wrong, I want to know why. How did I come to this conclusion erroneously? I’m not doubting you. I’m learning.

Bicycles

David Bowie has not been, to my knowledge, a bicycle person. So the story about my step dad, me, and a David Bowie film have nothing to do with bikes.

But there is a correlation and that correlation has to do with education.

There have been a lot of people over the years telling cyclists to hug the edge of a road for safety. Or that to be in keeping with the law we have to ride hugging the edge.

We don’t have to hug the edge. The law doesn’t require it.
We don’t have to hug the edge. It isn’t safe.
I will continue to explain why I’m right and they are wrong. I won’t always convince you with my limited explanations, but time will tell that I’m right and one day I will have a broader range of evidence to be able to explain it to you in a way that you will understand.

Until then put on your red shoes and ride a bicycle.

 

 

The day after I was killed

The day after I was killed.

I placed a linen napkin next to each plate and carefully filled the glasses with juice. I brought in the newspaper and spread butter over the toast.

I watched, my heart aching, as our youngest child clung to my wife, crying inconsolably any time she was set down. Her sobbing hiccups and wavering voice asking “where’s daddy?”

I felt my heart swell with love as my son sat on the front porch. Tightly gripping my old baseball glove, leaving crescent moons in the leather.

The day after I was killed.

I walked down a familiar sidewalk and kicked a few pebbles. Watching as they bounced over the gutter and onto pavement stained red with my blood.

I wandered over to our local pub and sat with my friends as they held a vigil. Their eyes wandering from their full glasses to the television, where my face was prominently displayed. The newscaster looked grave as he reported my death.

I watched silently as my best friend hung up his bicycle and vowed never to ride again.

One week before I was killed.

A woman walked out of the local police station. Tears of frustration in her eyes. Her attempts to report a dangerous driver unheeded by police. The officer stared dispassionately as she described the driver and their actions which killed me. Firmly the officer turned her away, saying “since you weren’t hit, there is nothing we can do. No laws were broken.”

One week before I was killed.

A stranger tried to save my life.

 

Extremist thinking is hurting cycling

189.300 Vehicles to keep to right.
(1) The operator of any vehicle when upon a highway shall travel upon the right side of the highway whenever possible, and unless the left side of the highway is clear of all other traffic or obstructions for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing of another vehicle to be completed without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle being overtaken. The overtaking vehicle shall return to the proper traffic lane as soon as practicable and, if the passing vehicle enters the oncoming traffic lane, before coming within two hundred (200) feet of any approaching vehicle.
(2) The operator of any vehicle moving slowly upon a highway shall keep his vehicle as closely as practicable to the right-hand boundary of the highway, allowing more swiftly moving vehicles reasonably free passage to the left.

I present to you exhibit A

A more misunderstood statute, I have never seen.

Depending on which extremist camp you are in or have a foot in. And you do have a foot in it; even if you think you don’t.

There are definitions to KRS 189. The purpose of the definitions; to clarify any word or phrase which is misunderstood. Let’s see how far we can understand the statute without having to refer to the definitions.

Let’s start with the title.

Vehicles to keep right:

  • Vehicle; This is any legally defined mode of travel which is not pedestrian. A train is a vehicle, a horse and buggy are a vehicle, a bicycle is a vehicle, a motorcycle is a vehicle, a car is a vehicle, a truck is a vehicle.

We need to take note that it specifically does not mention “motor”. This means that the statute applies to all vehicle types. Motorized or not.

  • Keep Right; We drive on the right hand side of the road. Some countries, such as England, drive on the left side of the road. They have a “Keep Left” law. Ours is keep right. Propel your vehicle, but do so on the right side of the road.

This is the beginning of the statute and should help us understand the body.

Now we move on to the body.

189.300 Vehicles to keep to right.
(1) The operator of any vehicle when upon a highway shall travel upon the right side of the highway whenever possible,

  • The operator, this means you, of any vehicle. Do you see it? No matter your vehicle type, if you are the operator of a vehicle, you as the operator are incumbent to keep your vehicle on the right side of the highway.
  • Whenever possible.

Whenever possible? You mean that I don’t always have to operate on the right side of the highway?

You are required to operate your vehicle on the right side of the highway. Allowing for the ever changing dynamics of said highway you are only required to keep right when it is possible.

Why possible and not practicable?

  • What is PRACTICABLE?

    Able to be done or put into practice successfully:
    Any idea or project which can be brought to fruition or reality without any unreasonable demands.

  • What is POSSIBLE?

    Able to be done; within the power or capacity of someone or something:
    Capable of existing or happening ; feasible.

Definitions via Black’s Law Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary.

Practicable isn’t always possible depending on how the word is used. Possible has a higher demand on the operator then practicable.

The statute requires you to always operate on the right whenever possible.

By using “possible” they have created uniformity with the other statutes. It isn’t always practicable to operate on the right; like when there is a vehicle moving slower than you would like to go. But it is always possible to operate on the right. You can slow down and stay behind the vehicle until it is possible to change lanes and pass.

189.300 Vehicles to keep to right.
(1) The operator of any vehicle when upon a highway shall travel upon the right side of the highway whenever possible, and unless the left side of the highway is clear of all other traffic or obstructions for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing of another vehicle to be completed without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle being overtaken.

  • Unless the left side of the highway is clear of all other traffic or obstructions.
    Simply stated, you can not overtake, pass, another vehicle if there is traffic or obstructions on the left side of the highway.
    You are required to pass on the LEFT. This includes lanes as we will read further down the statute. i.e. Left Lane.
  • For a sufficient distance ahead.
    Sufficient distance is defined as 200 feet further down in the statute.
  • To permit the overtaking and passing of another vehicle.
    This is where you are legally allowed to overtake, pass, another vehicle. This is the exception to the rule. You may legally drive on the left for the purpose of overtaking or moving around an obstruction.

Obstruction: A thing that impedes or prevents passage or progress; an obstacle or blockage:the tractor hit an obstruction.

An obstruction is a stationary object. The word can not be used to mean bicycle. It can be used to mean a parked or stationary object; such as a car. A row of parked cars are an obstruction. A moving bicycle is not. See also KRS 189.390 (7) Impeding. 

  • To be completed without interfering.
    You have to be able to complete the maneuver without interfering. If you interfere with anything that is in front of or to the left of the highway then you have to keep right.
  • With the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle being overtaken.
    You can’t interfere with the operation of any vehicle approaching and you also can not interfere with any vehicle being overtaken. See also KRS 189.34o (8)  Interfering.

189.300 Vehicles to keep to right.
(1) The operator of any vehicle when upon a highway shall travel upon the right side of the highway whenever possible, and unless the left side of the highway is clear of all other traffic or obstructions for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing of another vehicle to be completed without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle being overtaken. The overtaking vehicle shall return to the proper traffic lane as soon as practicable and, if the passing vehicle enters the oncoming traffic lane, before coming within two hundred (200) feet of any approaching vehicle.

  • The overtaking vehicle.
    This is the person operating the vehicle, which is operating on the left side of the highway. You are in the act of overtaking.
  • Shall return to the proper traffic lane. (1)
    You have to go back to operating on the right. Remember this is a keep right statute or law. You are required to continue operating on the right.

    What is SHALL?
    As used in statutes and similar instruments, this word is generally imperative or mandatory; but it may be construed as merely permissive or directory, (as equivalent to “may,”) to carry out the legislative intention and In cases where no right or benefit to any one depends on its being taken in the imperative sense, and where no public or private right is impaired by its interpretation in the other sense. Also, as against the government, “shall” is to be construed as “may,” unless a contrary intention is manifest. See Wheeler v. Chicago, 24 111. 105, 76 Am. Dec. 736; People v. Chicago Sanitary Dist., 184 111. 597, 56 N. E. 9.”.:;: Madison v. Daley (C. C.) 58 Fed. 753; Cairo & F. R. Co. v. Ilecht, 95 U. S. 170, 24 L. Ed. 423. SHAM PLEA. See PLEA. SHARE 1082 SHERIFF Via Black’s Law Dictionary

Shall as explained in Black’s Law Dictionary can mean the more permissive “MAY” unless there is an impairment of public right. And in the case of KRS 189.300 you “SHALL” return to the right because if you don’t, you are impairing the “RIGHTS” of oncoming traffic.

  • Shall return to the proper traffic lane. (2)
    Notice the word “LANE”? A highway is made up of lanes. These lanes are defined in the definitions. So in this case we are going to take a peek at our definitions for the chapter.

Definitions for KRS Chapter 189

Highway vs Roadway

(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.

(10) “Roadway” means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder. If a highway includes two
(2) or more separate roadways, the term “roadway” as used herein shall refer to any roadway separately but not to all such roadways collectively.

In the definitions for the chapter the word Highway is used to collectively refer to all roadway types. It could be an avenue. It could be a boulevard. It could be an alley. It could be a bridge. This is a general word and it is used in this statute not to discriminate against vehicles but to INCLUDE all roadway types.

KRS 189.300 means that no matter the type of roadway, you are required to keep right.

  • Roadway:
    a road or the part of a road used by vehicles.
  • Highway:
    (especially North American English) a main road for travelling long distances, especially one connecting and going through cities and towns
  • Lane:
    a section of a wide road, that is marked by painted white lines, to keep lines of traffic separate.

Whether it is a Highway or a Roadway you are required to keep right.
But in a LANE you shall occupy as much of that lane as possible. See KRS 189.340 (6) (a) Lanes.

This is a statute for drivers. This is not a statute for engineers. KRS has different chapters and definitions for engineering highways. This chapter is for everyone who drives. We can not apply engineering terms to the legal definition of how to operate a vehicle on the road. We are all drivers but we are not all engineers.

In this example the word lane is synonymous with roadway. See also; Lane Synonyms.

So this keep right statute also applies to laned highways but does it apply to lanes? We will explore this further down.

  • As soon as practicable. 
    There is the word practicable. We already showed that this word is not as imperative as the word possible. You can possibly return to the right, shoving the vehicle being overtaken further to the right, or forcing them to hit their brakes. But that wouldn’t be practicable. So once you have overtaken  the vehicle and it is safe for you to move back to the right, then you move back to the right. Remember you can not interfere with the operation of the vehicle being overtaken.
  • And, if the passing vehicle enters the oncoming traffic lane, before coming within two hundred (200) feet of any approaching vehicle.
    200 hundred feet is a lot of room. But it can be deceptive when you have a vehicle coming towards you at the speed limit. So if you can see a vehicle approaching you be very cautious when overtaking.

Now! Are we in the proper frame of mind?

I sure hope so.

We have thus far concluded that this statue is for the purpose of defining our state as a uniform whole of the United States. In the United States we drive on the right.

We also do not interfere with any traffic on the left, nor with any traffic we are overtaking.

We are required to operate on the right but it isn’t always mandatory under certain exclusions. And as long as all of those exclusions are met, we can safely operate on the left but only for a brief amount of time.

We have also obtained a firm grasp of “Practicable” as used in the statute.

Extremist thinking is hurting cycling.

Before we proceed to the next paragraph of this statute, let’s revisit the title of this blog.

Extremist thinking. It is hurting cycling.

Camp A:

An extremist will tell you that it isn’t safe to operate in a lane. They will tell you that you have to operate on the shoulder. They will point to this law as proof.

Camp B:

An extremist will tell you that this law is designed to keep cyclists far right. They will tell you that this law mandates you to operate on the shoulder. They will point to this law as proof.

But what does the statute actually say?

Let’s proceed to the hotly contested “Keep Far Right Law.”

189.300 Vehicles to keep to right.
(1) The operator of any vehicle when upon a highway shall travel upon the right side of the highway whenever possible, and unless the left side of the highway is clear of all other traffic or obstructions for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing of another vehicle to be completed without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle being overtaken. The overtaking vehicle shall return to the proper traffic lane as soon as practicable and, if the passing vehicle enters the oncoming traffic lane, before coming within two hundred (200) feet of any approaching vehicle.
(2) The operator of any vehicle moving slowly upon a highway

  • The operator of any vehicle.
    The operator is the person in control of the vehicle. Any vehicle means “ANY VEHICLE.” That’s right, this law applies to all vehicles equally.
  • Moving slowly.
    This is a subjective term. In KRS 189.390 (7) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle at a speed that will impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
    A vehicle which is capable of operating at its top speed but at a speed which is less than the speed limit is not impeding. If it is a motor vehicle operating at less than its capable speed but under the speed limit it still isn’t impeding, if other conditions come into play, such as road conditions. i.e. inclement weather, other traffic upon the highway, approaching a hill, and any other variable.
  • Upon a highway.
    This means any road type. The use of the word highway in this statute is to include all the variable road types. It is not used to include the shoulder.

189.300 Vehicles to keep to right.
(1) The operator of any vehicle when upon a highway shall travel upon the right side of the highway whenever possible, and unless the left side of the highway is clear of all other traffic or obstructions for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing of another vehicle to be completed without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle being overtaken. The overtaking vehicle shall return to the proper traffic lane as soon as practicable and, if the passing vehicle enters the oncoming traffic lane, before coming within two hundred (200) feet of any approaching vehicle.
(2) The operator of any vehicle moving slowly upon a highway shall keep his vehicle as closely as practicable to the right-hand boundary of the highway

  • Shall keep his vehicle as closely as practicable.
    Do you recall Black’s Law Dictionary legal definition for “Shall” Do you recall that the word can be used synonymously with the permissive “May” as long as no one’s rights are being impaired? When you read the statute, does it say anywhere that it is your right to operate on the left? No. Does it say anywhere that it is your right to pass traffic moving slower than you? No.

    Passing is not a right.

    So it can be inferred that that the use of the word “shall” in this instance is synonymous with the more permissive “May.”

    We can also further verify that this is indeed the correct definition when we see also that the word “Practicable” is used in the same sentence. It isn’t always practicable to be far right.

  • To the right-hand boundary of the highway.
    This statute applies equally to all vehicle types. When we read KRS 189.340 we see that driving off the roadway is illegal and this statute applies to all vehicles. So we have to figure out what the boundary of the highway is, as it applies to this chapter. So we go back to the definitions.
    KRS 189.010 (10) “Roadway” means that portion of a highway improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the berm or shoulder.
    So we drive as close to the right as practicable but we do not operate on the berm or shoulder.

189.300 Vehicles to keep to right.
(1) The operator of any vehicle when upon a highway shall travel upon the right side of the highway whenever possible, and unless the left side of the highway is clear of all other traffic or obstructions for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing of another vehicle to be completed without interfering with the operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle being overtaken. The overtaking vehicle shall return to the proper traffic lane as soon as practicable and, if the passing vehicle enters the oncoming traffic lane, before coming within two hundred (200) feet of any approaching vehicle.
(2) The operator of any vehicle moving slowly upon a highway shall keep his vehicle as closely as practicable to the right-hand boundary of the highway, allowing more swiftly moving vehicles reasonably free passage to the left.

  • Allowing more swiftly moving vehicles reasonably free passage to the left.
    And that’s it folks. We are only required to operate as far right as is safe and which allows more swiftly moving vehicles reasonably free passage to the left.

    It only has to be reasonable because each vehicle is going to be a different type. What may be reasonable for a 3 ton wide load tractor trailer isn’t going to be reasonable for a twenty pound bicycle.
    The statute applies to all vehicle types on all types of roads. It is intended to advise people on the basic principles of our highways, the safe use of our highways, and the courteous use of our highways.

    This section of the statute does not mention lanes. The reason it does not mention lanes is because this portion of the statute does not apply to lanes. If there is a lane of traffic per KRS 189.340 (6) (a) that vehicle “SHALL” occupy as much of the lane as “Possible.” And in the use of both the words “shall” and “possible” and with the understanding that by not being fully in a lane interferes with the rights of other road users, this statute is imperative.

As a cyclist, as any road user, you are required to occupy a lane of travel and this statute has nothing to do with driving on the shoulder. It is only because of a lack of education on this subject that we have fools in both camps. Worse, we have fools on the public roads, police stations, and courtrooms.

The idea, that this law requires a cyclist to operate on the right third of a lane of travel,needs to be burned with fire!

It doesn’t even apply to two lane highways. As can be seen in KRS 189.310 

189.310 Vehicles meeting other vehicles and animals. (1) Two (2) vehicles passing or about to pass each other in opposite directions shall have the right-of-way, and no other vehicle to the rear of those two (2) vehicles shall pass or attempt to pass either of those vehicles.
(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.
(3) Every person operating a vehicle on a highway and approaching any animal being ridden or driven, shall exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent frightening the animal and to insure the safety of the person riding or driving it.

Get educated!

As a cyclist you should be educated on all the rules of the road. As a cyclist you should be educated on all the safe operations of movement on the road.

You have the right to be safe. Use it. Exercise your right.

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This is where cyclists keep as far right as practicable. This is what it looks like. Memorize it. Use it!