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?!
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….
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!!!
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.
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.
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!
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.”
Officials reported that Prater was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
“Preliminary information suggests that he was doing everything correct,” Drifmeyer said. Via Cincinnati.com
Humor me as I give this a creative rewrite.
A woman was killed in Ohio.
Officials reported that Prater was wearing a turtleneck at the time of the attack.
“Preliminary information suggest that she was doing everything correct,” Drifmeyer said.
When a person is killed by the intentional acts of another person, why do people feel they need to defend the actions of the victim; if the said victim is a person riding a bicycle?
Typically, when the media reports whether or not a person was or was not wearing some safety device i.e. high vis. clothing and/or helmet, it is because there is some type of legislation specifying its use or someone is trying to push legislation pushing its use.
When I lived in California, every news article and t.v. spot always mentioned whether or not the person was wearing a seat belt. They most frequently reported on those collisions in which someone was injured or killed and NOT wearing a seat belt.
There is ample scientific proof that wearing a seatbelt in a motor vehicle collision provides the user protection.
He may not have suffered any head injury due to wearing the helmet. Or he may have suffered severe head injury in spite of the helmet. The evidence isn’t presented in the media.
Stop legislating mandatory bicycle helmet use and stop making a point by reporting the use or nonuse of a bicycle helmet by the victim.
A bicycle helmet is no more protection to a cyclist against a 2 ton motorized weapon than a turtleneck is to a woman being attacked.
They are both the victims of an intentional act by an outside force.
The police suspect drugs were involved.
The use or nonuse of drugs, alcohol, cellphone, discipline of screaming kids in back seat, and the ever faithful “sun was in my eyes,” excuses are just that; excuses.
A person who uses alcohol or drugs and then gets behind the wheel is committing an intentional act.
A person using a cellphone while driving is committing an intentional act.
A person disciplining screaming kids in the back seat while operating a 2 ton motorized weapon is committing an intentional act.
A person who can not see the road ahead of them, yet continues to operate their 2 tons of motorized weaponry is committing an intentional act.
When you choose to do something behind the wheel, you are making a decision which places the lives of those around you and the lives of those in the vehicle, including your own, at risk. You are committing an intentional act.
I know people who treat their bicycle as the legally defined vehicle it is and still get treated with scathing disrespect by people who operate their legally defined MOTOR vehicle as though it were a toy.
Your motor vehicle is not a toy. No matter what the auto commercials may show you.
The road is not where you express your “spirit for adventure!”
The police suspect drugs were involved.
A sober person rapes another person.
A drugged up person rapes another person.
A sober person kills another person.
A drugged up person kills another person.
The use or nonuse of drugs isn’t a defence and it isn’t an admission of culpability.
THE ACT OF KILLING IS WHERE IT’S AT!
As a society we make too many excuses for wrong behavior based on the thought that “It could have been me.” It could have been me except “I don’t do drugs,” so my conscience is clear and I’ll keep driving distracted because that’s not nearly as serious as doing drugs.
By “suspecting drugs,” we are giving a clean slate for others to kill.
The whole “it couldn’t possibly happen to me” syndrome. Except that it does.
A cyclist was riding on the edge of the road and a woman driving an SUV killed him. He was wearing a helmet and she thought she was giving him enough passing clearance. Her side view mirror struck the helmeted cyclists head at 55 mph and killed him. She was not drunk or on drugs. The sun was not in her eyes. Via. Biking in L.A.
She saw the cyclist and still killed him. She killed him because she did one thing wrong.
She did NOT treat him as the operator of a vehicle and instead of changing lanes to pass, like she would any other vehicle (including a motorcycle), she instead chose to pass him with minimal clearance.
This was an intentional act on her part.
This article also states that the driver was 77 years old.
Aging drivers are less able to judge distance. They also have poor motor coordination and it is the intentional act of the auto industry to promote their product in such a way that they have intentionally killed public transport.
By now you may have noticed a theme.
Driving is an intentional act. There are no excuses for killing someone when you are behind the wheel.
If you don’t need to drive, then don’t do it.
If you do need to drive, then do it with the thought “Today, would be the day I kill someone if I don’t put away these distractions and focus solely on driving.”
There are a lot of distracted drivers out there.
Distracted driving is ultimately the excuse given by the driver.
She claimed that she was distracted by unruly kids in the back seat. It was after the fact that they found evidence of drug paraphernalia in her purse. We won’t know for sure if she was high at the time, until lab work comes back. And if it is found that she was not under the influence at the time, THAT SHOULD NOT BE AN EXCUSE FOR GOING EASY ON HER. SHE KILLED SOMEONE!
Defending his honor!
We shouldn’t feel the need to defend the victims honor. We can honor the victim but elevating them to godlike status isn’t doing anyone any favors.
It is enough that they are a human being who lost their life.
The counter effect to defending the honor of those killed by people driving auto’s is this; Anyone who is less than perfect, and you know that none of us are perfect, implies that they are somehow to blame in their own death.
Neither does it matter that the cyclist killed is in fact a father, husband, and all around swell guy. He could be a bachelor who’s a real prick and his death would be every bit as important.
But if you paint them as being somehow unsavory then the attitude of people will be less likely to support the victim.
That is where the problem is.
Facts are the only thing that should matter. The content of their character doesn’t matter; when someone intentionally operates an auto in such a way that they kill someone, who they are as a person doesn’t matter.
The driver could have been Mother Teresa; sorry bad example. The driver could have been Doris Day and she should still be charged with a felony manslaughter. Her only saving grace would be if she could prove that she did everything possible to avoid the collision. In which case she too would be riding a bicycle, walking, or taking public transit.
This death should never have happened. Because she should never have gotten behind the wheel if she was in fact found to be under the influence at the time of the collision. She should never have taken her eyes off the road, not even for unruly kids.
How to drive with unruly kids.
Don’t have kids.
Don’t drive with kids if you do have them.
If you do have kids and you do intentionally choose to drive with them educate them on how serious driving is and why they have to behave.
If you have educated them and they still choose to behave like typical kids, then you keep your temper, you keep your eyes on the road, you scan the edge of the road for a safe place to pull over, you pull over, and then you discipline the kids.
Only after the interior of the car is completely calm do you then resume operations.
You don’t belong!
Why elevating the victim to sainthood hurts other road users.
“She sounds like someone we can support, unlike those other yahoo’s.” Andy Clarke
I’m sitting in court and my cycling advocate friend is sitting next to me. He is looking at his phone and he shows me an email he just received from Andy Clarke (Former President of League of American Bicyclists). He shows me the email. This is his attempt to show me that this backwater town isn’t going to ride rough shod over a cyclist. We have the support of Andy Clarke “big man honcho” with LAB.
My immediate thought was “those other yahoo’s?” and I asked my friend about what he meant by that. My friend brushed my concern aside by saying “You know wrong way cyclists, people who lost their license for driving drunk.” Those other people. Yahoo’s. He went on to say “but they aren’t like you Cherokee, you are cycling correctly and for the right reasons.”
Classifying people as “other” creates a distance between us and them. It creates an US vs. THEM. They are “those” people but we are “these” people. “Those” people do it wrong but “these” people do it right.
You have to cycle correctly and for the right reasons?
Because, if you don’t then you could be held liable in your own death?
That’s right! If you are driving a motor vehicle and you injure someone else then you should be presumed at fault.
But this would discourage driving so auto companies have paid to influence our perspective.
Watch the news. Count the car commercials. Notice any collisions reported where the injured person is not in an auto.
Here’s what I found.
Roughly 80% of the placed ads were for auto’s. 100% of the ads implied that driving is exhilarating, for freedom lovers, and that public roads are personal playgrounds.
Of the injuries reported the vulnerable road user was painted as somehow at fault.
Except that legally they are not.
Except that since “Deputy v kimmell” there has been a push for laws to make it legal to find fault with vulnerable road users.
Imagine if we did the same thing for rapists? Or people who kill other people with guns?
Imagine a world where it is normal to assume the woman was somehow at fault in her own rape based on her clothes or lack thereof. We don’t really have to imagine because we do live in a world where such judgments exist.
But imagine if they passed legislation placing the woman at fault if she wasn’t wearing a turtleneck at the time of her attack.
Or imagine; they passed legislation placing fault of a mass shooting on the children killed because they were in school instead of adjacent to the school.
Such thoughts should be highly offensive to you.
but this is exactly what we are doing when we blame people for being assaulted by someone with a motor vehicle.
Why I take the lane.
I take the lane because it reduces risk. I’m a survivalist. I’ve put aside all the urban myths and studied the facts.
I found that wearing a helmet to protect you from car collisions is a myth. Or to reduce the severity of injury in a car collision, also a myth. (I would however wear a helmet to protect me from head injury if I were say; Mountain Biking or Group Riding.)
I found that cycling on the shoulder isn’t safer than taking the lane.
I stopped wearing a helmet because the social response from people driving cars was “Omigosh! She’s so vulnerable without a helmet!” and they give me more space by default.
I stopped cycling on the shoulder because I found that when I’m in the lane people notice me. When I’m in the lane and people don’t notice me, this has happened, they have space to the right to ditch out on.
Anyone who would blame me for being in the lane is victim blaming. Review the graphic on Deputy v Kimmell. Anyone blaming the cyclist for being killed while on the shoulder is victim blaming.
THAT SHIT HAS TO STOP AND IT HAS TO STOP NOW!
If you would like to donate to the family’s GoFundMe account you can do so here.
Rachel @Kentuckygirl844 “…how many of those cars behind then actually have to be out and how many are just in the way “exploring.”
Grammatical errors aside.
I want to explore everything that is wrong with this tweet.
It isn’t any of your business why other people are on the road. It is a public road and everyone pays to use it. When, how, or where they use it is up to them.
“how many are just in the way” No one is ever in anyone else’s way on a public right of way, also known as a road. It belongs to the public and the public has the right to use it. These roads are first come, first served, and duty of care. We show compassion for other road users. We yield the right of way to those who were there first. It is courteous, it is wise, and it shows others that we have a heart beating in our chest.
You have nothing better to do on a terrible winter day except to sit and wonder about what other people are up to? Lucky you! This is a picture of those who are not so fortunate. So how about a little compassion?
“Adulting.” Only adults use the roadway. Only adults use cars on the roadway. This isn’t any place for “other” road users. If you aren’t adulting on the road then you are in the way. “Exploring” is for kids. So GTFO!
If they are out there having a light hearted romp in the snow; is it really any of your business?
I think your tweet says more about you than it does the people using the road.
“When a situation feels dangerous to you, it’s probably more safe than you know; when a situation feels safe, that is precisely when you should feel on guard.”
― Tom Vanderbilt, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do
There is a social construct to driving and bicycling, much the same way as there is a social construct to walking in a crowd. There are rules which guide our behavior and if everyone follows the rules, no one gets hurt.
Rule number one: Don’t hit what is in front of you.
As humans our eyes are adapted to seeing that which is directly in front of us. Though some of us require corrective lenses to make even this task feasible.
We trust our eyes but can our eyes be trusted?
How the brain processes the images we take in everyday is amazing. That we believe half of what we see is, to me, even more amazing.
I recently discovered “Brain Games” and I want you to pause your reading and watch this clip.
So did you trust your eyes?
Seeing is a task and driving is a task. When we are seeing and driving we are multi-tasking. Throw into the mix other drivers, street signs, stop lights, painted lines on the ground, billboards, lights, radio, cell phone, kids in the back seat, a passenger, and driving just became even more complicated.
We believe that we are safe when we are far from safe behind the wheel.
The CDC reported that in 2012 there were roughly 34K deaths attributed to the automobile. 2.5K of these were teenagers between 16 and 19 years old. Statistics
In 2012, 4,743 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 76,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States (Tables 1 and 3). On average, a pedestrian was killed every 2 hours and injured every 7 minutes in traffic crashes. TRAFFIC SAFETY FACTS
One of the things that I found interesting when reading the NHTSA website, was their reassurance that driving is much safer nowadays when compared to past history. When you have an average of 2 people killed or injured every hour is it really that safe?
Not enough emphasis is put on eliminating unnecessary multi-tasking such as talking on the phone. Example
From the data, it is possible to draw the conclusion that it isn’t safe to drive. It isn’t any safer to walk either. The only mode of travel that had under 1K deaths per year was the bicycle.
So if cycling is so much safer than the alternative, why then do we spend so much money on infrastructure that caters to car culture. Especially when it is such a dangerous mode of transportation?
Have you heard of social conformity?
Social conformity is the same construct which gives us gutter bike lanes and tells us it is “safer” to cycle on the shoulder as opposed to the travel lane.
The rules of the road tell you to occupy your lane. Even on a two way only highway.
We would have far fewer cycling deaths if people would stop trusting their eyes and social norms. Instead trust education and the rules that have been laid out for safe road travel.
For example: In Kentucky we have KRS 189.310 which states:
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.
Our perception and social construct tells us to ride on the edge of a road. To be as far out of the way of motorists as possible. This puts us out of the line of sight and creates a safety hazard. It “feels” safe but in reality it isn’t safe at all.
Examples of unsafe cycling and a message from the CDC.
Distance horizon perspective. Lane control is safer. Courtesy of Commute Orlando.
This is classic cyclist social behavior. It is perceived as safe but in reality this type of cycling has the highest number of fatalities.
Cyclist in driver blind spot.
The cyclist should be positioned over the sharrow.
Notice how the middle cyclist in the group ahead is easily viewable? The guy on the edge is in an unsafe position.
Notice the drivers perspective? Can they really judge the passing space?
What does safe cycling look like?
Be the first thing they see when they look up.
See how the cyclist stands out? If they were on the edge they would blend into the scenery.
From the cyclists perspective.
When cycling on a two lane road, hold the primary position.
You are the first thing an overtaking motorist sees.
Lane control on a lonely highway.
We need to clarify already existing laws to direct motorists to change lanes to pass.
We need transportation infrastructure that isn’t based on car culture. (pedestrians, public transit, and cycling as priority over automobiles)
We need NHTSA and the FHWA to have dedicated bicycle commuters as members of their board of directors.
We need all cyclists, motorists, city planners, transportation committees, and law enforcement to be educated in Cycling Savvy.
“Human attention, in the best of circumstances, is a fluid but fragile entity. Beyond a certain threshold, the more that is asked of it, the less well it performs. When this happens in a psychological experiment, it is interesting. When it happens in traffic, it can be fatal.”
― Tom Vanderbilt, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do
Someone posed the question: “When controlling the lane, how do you handle the motorist or passenger that yells, points or beeps and says get out of the road? Yell back, shake your head, wave, wave w/one finger, try to educate them or something else? Thanks!”
Here is my response.
My daughter who typically blows kisses and hollers love ya!, got caught up in a motorists obvious rage a few days before christmas. We were coming out of Oxmoor mall and heading to St. Mathews mall. We determined that the middle left turn lane was our best option to avoid merging traffic trying to get on and off the interstate. A motorist flipped his lid that we were in the left turn lane and started honking outrageously. At first I ignored him as he was pretty far behind us and I thought he was honking at traffic in general. The old man driving the minivan managed to get up to the left of us and started the aggressive honking again. My daughter and I had been feeling pretty stoked up to that point. After everything we have been through a chance to decompress over the holidays was really rewarding and this turd broke the mood. My daughter became very agitated as we advanced and passed the driver and then as the flow of traffic goes, we caught up to him and passed him. Here is where it gets funny. At the time it wasn’t funny. So my daughter gets really angry at this guy who shat all over our peace and in an italian gesture puts her hand up and says “how far did you get buddy!” She is looking at him the whole time and I scream at her to look out. She caught herself in time to avoid serious injury but still managed to rear end the car in front of her. At first we were both kind of shaken. No one was hurt and there wasn’t any damage. The driver looked in the rear view mirror and I waved. They shrugged and went on. Now we laugh about it and when someone honks or is rude to us, we look at each other, smile, and say “How far did you get buddy!” My personal opinion is do what you want. In that moment at that time your response is yours and I would never judge you are criticise you for acting the way you chose. My only advice is to not let them rile you up to the point that you lose control of your own safety.
I would like to add.
Some people operate under the illusion that we can control the behavior of those around us. The reality is that we can only control our own behavior.
There isn’t any shame in losing your temper and the adage that “Civility is free” holds true. To each his own. Sometimes I smile and wave, sometimes I holler fuck you. It just depends on the situation, my mood, and if I feel my life was in peril by their actions.
Mostly I would just like to see this bad human behavior of judging other peoples reactions to potentially life altering situations come to an end.
How far did you get buddy!
She sits thoughtfully at a charity event. She had at this point won 3 frozen turkeys. Seeing a family that had not won anything she gave them one of the birds and gave the other one to another family.
The image at the top is what happens when cyclists ride on the edge of a highway. This is our story on how we learned the easy way to stay safe.
When I first started out, I didn’t have a clue but now I know.
I know that the biggest problem with getting people to accept cycling as a viable means of transportation is not a lack of bike lanes. It is instead the human condition. What we lack is knowledge and critical thinking skills. This idea that you have to be “fearless” to ride a bicycle on certain roads is complete bunk. Knowledge of the laws and why we have said laws or rather the lack of such knowledge is far more crippling to cycling than the lack of bike lanes.
How can I be so sure?
Because I was faced with the choice of keeping my kids locked up and confined to a small town. A town which doesn’t have a single movie theater, museum, or anything remotely kid friendly for entertainment. A town that moved it’s one form of entertainment a.ka. the local library, and put it so far out of reach that we had to ride our bicycles through a high-speed road where dump trucks were accessing the entrance to the local rock quarry. A town where there isn’t a single bike lane and all roads are driven at 35 mph or greater regardless of signage. A town where a family of five burned up in a fiery high-speed crash and a pedestrian was mowed down while crossing her residential street to visit a neighbor.
My choice was to educate my children on how to safely group ride from one town to the next.
In the beginning they were nervous and my youngest said she was down right scared. I told her that if we decided it was too scary we would turn back and go home.
So we discuss our route. I explain where we are going to ride on the shoulder and I explain where we are not going to ride on the shoulder. I explain the different movements that vehicles make and discuss driving theory 101 with them.
We pretend to be people driving cars and one of us pretends to be on the edge as a cyclist. They get a first person experience in a closed environment and learn about why people drive the way they do and how we can prevent common mistakes.
We start out.
The first thing we do is turn onto the shoulder at the junction of Wichita lane and U.S. 27. Very quickly we approach that section where riding on the shoulder is no longer safe. Motorists go flying past us at full speed. 60 mph + onto the off ramp. We are not a part of traffic. We are irrelevant to them. We stop and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and wait. It starts to get tense. Sitting still while cars go flying past you is very uncomfortable. There on the edge my daughters fear rises as motorists blindly fly by, her anxiety climbs. I’m feeling it too. As soon as it is clear, we dart across the on ramp and continue on the shoulder. Things go well. My daughter starts to feel better and before we know it we are now at the off ramp. This is the junction where U.S. 29 meets U.S. 27. It is important to note that these ramps are marked as 15 mph. However they are engineered in such a way that you can take them at full speed and take them at full speed the locals do.
We all stop in the center “no mans” land. It was the shoulder but now it is an island of doom. Cars are whizzing past us on both sides. The break comes sooner than last time and we make our way onto the road. This time we do something different. We ride the travel lane. The shoulder here is like all the other shoulders covered in rumble strips, broken glass, gravel, bits of metal shards and other garbage strewn across it. The travel lane is smooth and worry free.
As we bike down the high-speed road I ask my daughter how she feels. “This is a lot better than the shoulder” she says, I was surprised. Shocked really. I was sure that she would “feel safer” on the shoulder. My daughter explains: “When I was on the shoulder all these cars were just whizzing by us like weren’t even there. Once we were on the road it was like they saw us and a lot of people slowed down and passed us at slower speeds. I didn’t have to worry about someone running into us”.
We ride the travel lane over to Etter Dr. and after we make it through the intersection we move back to the shoulder at my request. Both kids were asking why we had to be on the shoulder. My son was saying “Come on mom. We can be in the travel lane. Let’s just move over.” I was determined to keep us on the shoulder and we kept on going. Right up until we came to Raising Cane’s. This is another section of road where the engineers designed a nice high-speed right turn. My fear is that someone will take that right turn at typical speed and plow right into us. So we waited and waited and waited and waited for traffic to clear. Then we carefully navigated the rumble strip and we rode the travel lane. Once again the anxiety that had been building in the kids quickly dissipated and even though we were honked at and screamed at by passing motorists. Everyone enjoyed their ride in the travel lane. People in cars noticed us. They slowed down to normal speeds and acknowledged us with honks and screams. We shook our heads at the sorry ass motorists and kept on biking.
We went through the intersection and just like before, we signaled and moved onto the shoulder. Same thing again. Ride the shoulder, anxiety increases, fear mounts, and then we come to an area that is no longer even remotely safe to be in so we move over to the travel lane and the anxiety decreases, the fear disappears and we are safer than we were before.
Motorists are anxious. They don’t like us to be in the travel lane. They honk at us. Scream at us. Call us idiots. But we are not idiots. We feel safe and carefree in the travel lane. It was after all built and engineered for traffic. The rules of the road are dictated by the lane. We are following the rules of the road and it feels good. My daughter laughs. My son shrugs his shoulders and rolls his eyes. Life is good.
As we wait at the light that intersects Business U.S. 27 from U.S. 27 I ask them if they want to move over to the shoulder after we get past the on ramp. They say “NO”. We are safer here in the lane they insist. I shrug and say o.k. but inside I am bursting with pride. My kids are smarter than Andy Clarke of L.A.B. infamy and Carl Overton of Lexington who at 30 something is afraid to ride his bicycle on anything other than 25 mph roads.
Cars drive past in the left lane. We ride on in the right lane. My kids are practically bouncing up and down on their respective seats. “This is fun!” my daughter screams at a motorist who aggressively honks as they pass us. They flip her the bird. She laughs and flips them the bird back. “Fuck them” she says. I chide her on her language. “They flipped me the bird first.” she says. We agree to let it go and continue our ride.
We make our first pit stop at Catnip Hill Road. We stop at the BP and get sodas. We talk about the route so far. We discuss how we felt on the shoulder as opposed to the travel lane. My kids are practically walking on air. They high-five each other and shout “We are riding the travel lane.” and off we go.
We take a left from Catnip Hill Road back onto U.S. 27 and this is where the safety of the travel lane is re-enforced into our mental psyche. As we are riding along a motorist comes flying out of a local strip mall shopping center and slams to a halt right on the shoulder. You can see from the tire marks on the pavement that this is normal motorist behavior. My son says “Good thing we weren’t on the shoulder”. My daughter says “Yea, they would have hit us for sure.” We ride on.
As we continue down U.S. 27 I point out the potholes, rumble strips, and broken pavement. They point out the rocks, gravel, and broken glass. We all agree that the travel lane is best.
We had a great time in Lexington and half the fun was traveling there. We rode back home without incident and on the way back my daughter said “I can’t believe I was afraid to ride my bike.”
Fear for fears sake
Fear of the unknown
Propaganda fueled rhetoric about making cycling safer isn’t helping anyone. So shut up and put up. If you can’t ride the ride then you have no place deciding what is or isn’t safe.
I am being prosecuted for Wanton Endangerment 2nd degree. My crime? Riding my bicycle on the travel lane.
Before you flip your lid, as some have done.
I did not start out operating in the travel lane. I used to have an old style Sun-EZ recumbent and I used the shoulder almost exclusively. Figuring out how to navigate the shoulder was no picnic. In some locations the shoulder was literally covered in a half an inch of debris. I used the travel lane only when necessary. I was afraid of the people operating their vehicles.
There was one incident where I was traveling home and I was trying to share an un-share-ble lane. The motorist who approached me from the rear almost hit me at an intersection. This was in Fayette Co. and there are not any shoulders at this intersection.
The motorist began to berate me and hurl verbal abuse at me.
I rode on and we met up at the next light where he continued to hurl abuse at me. I called the police.
Fayette Co. police officer took the report and advised me that I was not required to share the lane. He said the entire lane was mine. I didn’t not believe him but I wanted to see the law for that. He didn’t mention any specific law. So I kept riding the edge.
After I graduated to my first road bike. I found the shoulder very unsafe to navigate on two wheels. I used the travel lane more frequently. I went on my first club ride and realized that I was not in very good shape. I had lost a lot of weight at this point but I was still not in great shape.
So I spent a lot of time recovering from that ride.
I continued to use the shoulder, even when it was dangerous for me to do so. Every time I tried to use the travel lane a motorist would harass me.
I was very vocal with the police about the treatment I had been receiving. I often reached out to them for help. They often refused to help. I quit asking for help.
When things would get really hairy I would call them. Not much was done.
Motorists started chasing me down. Driving on the shoulder. Chasing me down, while driving on the shoulder.
It was nuts. I tried taking an alternate route home. That was worse. They could barely manage to share a 5 lane road. They sure as heck were not going to share a 2 lane road. All of them 55mph. Did you see that? All alternate routes are 55mph. The worst ones are two lanes. Zero shoulder. Gravel lined ditch on either side.
All with lanes that are not able to be shared. It was horrifying to watch them pass me with oncoming traffic. I was scared to death that someone would be killed. So I stuck to US 27.
To make a long story short. They started ticketing me for using US 27.
Ky state law is clear. I have not broken any state laws. Even Jessamine Co. recognizes how dangerous it is to operate on the edge. They have banned bicycles from sidewalks. I was told by a police officer that using the sidewalk is illegal in Jessamine Co.
Using the shoulder is illegal in the state of KY.
That is why they made an exception. The exception states that bicycles MAY use the shoulder. KY understands that the shoulder is not always the safest place to be.
Whether you agree with where I ride or not. You do agree that bicycles have a right to be on the road. Even the L.A.B. has said Bicycles have a fundamental right to the road.
I have an attorney. I have just enough for his retainer. I still need your help.
I know times are hard for a lot of folks. You don’t have to donate if you can’t. But please share this. Share it far and wide. Because someone who knows someone just might be able to help and the fact that you shared it with them is a huge help in and of itself.
(Note from 2018: If you’re reading this, the worst has happened. The officer was exonerated of all charges. Michael Brown, who was racially profiled and murdered, for walking while black, has not had justice. His family still suffers under the stigma created by white normative people in the media. #BlackLivesMatter has been cruelly co-opted by white supremacists running #BlueLivesMatter. Up is down and down is up. Flint has been poisoned by their government and children are being cruelly ripped from their asylum seeking parents, at the border. The current POTUS is set to establish himself as dictator and white men still think that bike lanes are the most urgent issue facing the bicycling community.)
The Roads are for moving People.
A car is one way to move people. So is a horse, a truck, a motorcycle, a bicycle, and legs. Legs move people. Legs have been moving people for millions of years. In fact people got tired of using their legs and invented the wheel so they could put their feet up and rest.
I’ve heard about the tragedy in Ferguson. I’ve heard that the first issue the officer had with the young man was that he, the young man, was walking on the road. Well, that is what a road is for! Walking moves people and the modern paved roads were invented to move people with less difficulty than rutted dirt roads.
From what I have heard this wasn’t about concern for the young mans safety. This was about someone who was potentially getting in the way of cars. That young man had every right to be there. He had every right to cross the road and expect to be given due care by motorists who happened upon him.
It’s a cultural issue. One that has been deeply ingrained into our psyche ever since automobiles began to dominate the roads.
Remember the Civil Rights movement was originally argued over transportation. The rights of people to access the same facilities as other people with out regard for their heritage.
Car culture and hatred appear to go hand in hand. The idea that it is o.k. to besmirch, accost, and verbally assault someone just because they are not in an automobile has to end.
I could be wrong, but I believe that the underlying current here is road rights, exacerbated by a media induced stigma on young men in economically depressed and ethnically diverse neighborhoods.
People should feel safe letting their children travel and play upon their neighborhood streets.
It is a sick society, a car sick society that we live in. The very idea that being on the street could be cause for suspicion is deeply rooted in the automobile industries quest to rule the road. A quest that has killed millions of people and assisted in the downfall of our economy.
There are a lot of ways to be prejudiced against someone. That child had more going against him than the color of his skin.
I can see the appeal of “Protected Bike Lanes” for family’s, young riders, and scared adults.
The problem I have with these:
1. Laws that legally mandate me to use it. Which is a violation of my Civil Rights.
2. Non-Integrated engineering to create lanes that work with existing laws regarding movement of traffic on the roads. i.e. stop lights for the bicycle lane to prevent cyclists from moving forward when it is legal for right turning traffic to turn.
3. Lack of anything even remotely close to a real barrier for protection.
If they would fix the mess these “Things” create, I would support these types of lanes for the sake of encouraging ridership.
If schools would integrate bicycle education into the curriculum for students.
If there were bicycle driving education centers.
Then these could work.
Otherwise it is just window dressing and more people are going to get killed.
In the mean time we will just have to stick to “Old Fashioned” roads. Like the ones we had when I was a kid. And we will have to take responsibility for educating our kids on how to operate their “Vehicles” responsibly.