Who needs a safe passing law? SB 80 Part II

When a cyclist is on the highway are they any more vulnerable than any other person on the highway?

Before we can answer that question we first need to explain what a highway is. The definition for Highway is listed in KRS 189.010 (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…

We have a highway and within the highway is a Roadway or synonymously a Lane; and KRS has a specific statute for those lanes. KRS 189.340 (6) (a)

A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as may be practical entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety;

If everyone is following the law and more importantly the spirit of the law; the spirit of the law being safety, then there isn’t any harm to any road user and no need for extra measures of protection.

Unfortunately not everyone feels duty bound to operate their vehicle with due care.

A lot of people are under the misguided notion that speed grants extra privileges.

KRS 189.390 is very clear that there isn’t a right of speed on Kentucky’s Highways.

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

Traffic: The ​movement of ​vehicles or ​people along ​roads, or the ​movement of ​aircraft, ​trains, or ​ships along a ​route. Via: Cambridge Dictionaries Online.

What is the purpose of a safe passing law?

The purpose of a safe passing law is to give the police a statute with which to cite the offending person. It also provides lawyers and insurance adjusters something tangible when trying to ascertain fault and how much liability goes where and with whom.

Did this explanation bring up a mental image of buzzards picking over roadkill?

That would be because this law is what I term an “after the fact law”. There isn’t any visual guideline to show a person operating a motor vehicle just how much space is three feet. Often times that three feet puts the cyclist’s head right under the motorists tire. Should the cyclist fall over, their head would be squashed. Bicycle helmet included.

Have you ever heard of Dr. McCarroll?

[Dr] June McCarroll, a physician in Indio, California who started experimenting with painting lines on roads in 1917 after she was run off a highway by a truck driver. In November 1924, after years of lobbying by Dr. McCarroll and her allies, California officially adopted a policy of painting lines on its highways. A portion of Interstate 10 near Indio has been named the Dr. June McCarroll Memorial Freeway in her honor.

Painted lines give drivers a visual marker with which to judge distance.

It is safer to have a stated change lanes to pass law than it is to have a minimum three feet law. In Kentucky there are drivers who will fail to understand KRS 189 and give only the minimum passing distance. And in a state which educates teen drivers that it is OK to driver 10 mph over the posted speed limit; see Transportation.ky.gov/Drivers Licensing Documents Page 5. giving a cyclist the minimum distance when passing at 10 mph over posted speed limit; is a recipe for disaster.

Our car culture has created a social, cultural, and legal norm for people to kill, without penalty, on our public right of ways.  It’s the “Oops I didn’t see them syndrome” and it is bullshit.

The driver of an automobile is bound to anticipate the presence of pedestrians upon the streets of a city or upon rural highways, as well as to exercise reasonable care that he does not injure them after he is aware of their presence. O’Dowd v. Newnham 13 Ga. App. 220, 80 S. E. 36.

A safe passing law is a band aid on a gaping wound.

A safe passing law is an after the fact law.

Do we need it?


We need it because it is a start. Not the best example of a start, especially when other states are making better statutes from which we can draw from. But it is a start none the less.

We also need it because the infrastructure here is substandard.

Misguided advocates are pushing for bike lanes (think paint) on highways with 45 to 55 mph.

Gallons of paint will never replace the infrastructure we so desperately need. Nor will it replace urban designed spaces which give precedence to walking, public transport, and biking.

We are terribly entangled in car culture which is choking the very humanity out of us.

If you are wondering what we can do to make it better.

We can form a statewide advocacy group and lobby for better laws. Laws which require city planners to take into consideration all users of our public highways. Laws which specify dense urban planning as opposed to sprawling communities which are harder and more expensive to maintain. We need laws which require a one year mandatory probationary period for new drivers, mandatory retesting every four years, and an education program enacted in our schools. Driving school should have a required bike law and safety instructional forum.

We need a multi pronged approach to cycling and more importantly pedestrian safety.

Tiered licensing which ensures that teenagers are truly ready for a license to operate a vehicle. An exception for farmers children to operate farm equipment in the natural course of their duties. But not to operate non farm equipment on public highways.

Lower speed limits as a means of changing the culture of speed along with enforcement of speeding during times where operating a vehicle at speeds under the limit but higher than is safe for road conditions. Mandatory slow down laws when pedestrians or cyclists are present. Policies which make separate infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians a mandatory part of all construction. Policies which ensure that for every 100 people there are adequate shopping districts within walking distance. Wider and better sidewalks. Enforcement of stop lines. Elimination of right on red. Timing streetlights to favor pedestrians and cyclists. Narrower streets and wider bike lanes and sidewalks.

Vulnerable road user laws which enact stiff penalties for harming any road user with their vehicle.

When we pass another vehicle we are required to pass in the lane adjacent to the vehicle being passed. We are required by  law to pass left of the center of the highway. To pass with enough clearance to avoid a collision or to cause the vehicle from being passed to have to slam on their brakes to avoid a collision. These are the laws. These are for safety. These ensure the courteous use of public roads and when those laws are broken the best possible outcome would be a citation. The worst would be a collision and people hurt. All too often these brazen flaunting of laws are unobserved and the confidence of the abuser is increased. The police can’t be everywhere but we can create legislation enacting a police task force which takes these complaints and investigates them and if found guilty penalties applied.

Remember the opening question?
“When a cyclist is on the highway are they any more vulnerable than any other person on the highway?”

The answer which you may have realized by now is No. We are all vulnerable on the highway. While there is a hierarchy of how much vulnerability each user has, we are each of us putting our lives at risk by walking out our front door.

We need more, we need better, and we need it now!

So let’s start with three feet and then demand more.

I’d rather have miles of this…


Than miles of this…



Trickery and trust

part of me feels like I’ve been tricked by the people I put my trust into. 

Yes, I’m a capable adult and make my own decisions. But how many of us are really making choices as opposed to reacting to all the shit that life’s throws at us?

When I chose to ride a bicycle as my only means of transportation, it was a conscious decision based on the then available options I was faced with. Three months of thinking planning and deciding. 

It was my choice. I went into it fully prepared. Or so I thought. The point though is this, no one was rushing me into making a decision based on very little data. I had thoroughly studied and understood the rights and responsibilities of cycling. I was enamoured with the joy of cycling. I wanted everyone to share in my knowledge and joy.

When I got my first ticket, I was alarmed. Not because of the ticket itself but because of the implications behind it. To ticket a cyclist who isn’t breaking the law is a ticket based on personal prejudice and is a form of coercive power over an individual. 

I put my trust in the cycling community. I thought they had the knowledge and know how to successfully defend the rights of a cyclist.

What I didn’t know was that the community I lived in is steeped in bias, prejudice, and good old fashioned “if it’s different, kill it” mentality.

I have been accused of being crazy. I am not. I have been to therapy for recovery from an abusive relationship and a psychiatric evaluation to regain custody of my kids from my abuser. Though he himself never had to undergo any type of evaluation being rich, white, and male. The therapist said that I had a good head on my shoulders and that I would be an amazing success if given the chance. 

Chance, all I needed was a chance. One which was not provided to me and I’m sure a lot of other people have the same problem.

With growing horror I watched the basic tenants of my case get skewed and cannibalised by the cycling community. The local cycling community didn’t want me as they felt I tarnished their lofty ideals at cycling in the bluegrass. Namely brewery rides where copious amounts of beer and bourbon would be consumed. Tres chic and I didn’t belong. 

The one community that had the appearance of accepting me was the cyclists are drivers group. I felt like a small child being held in loving arms after a particularly nasty tumble which results in skinned knees.

Every self sufficient and life confirming move I had made up to this point was squashed like a bug. Not only did the local cycling community ostracize me, they then turned on me and accused me of trying to pull a stunt. I was now one of those vehicular cyclists out to prove a point. I wasn’t, I wanted people to know that cycling was safe and fun, even in a small minded small town. 

My story was lost amid the dirty fingers of everyone who wanted to stick their finger into the pie. 

I thought, at first that these were people who were genuinely concerned and wanted to help. 

When I realized that the attorney who took on my case as a favor to a friend, was not only not skilled at this type of law but was also a part of the group that didn’t like me. I was scared and reached out for help. I chose the LexRides group because I thought they would better understand what I was doing as a poor single mom. Nope, they sure didn’t. You know all those jokes about inbreeding in Kentucky?  Well, it’s not too far off base. 

If you cycle in Kentucky, then you know someone who is influential in the cycling community. 

So the group I reached out to for help greeted me with cold disdain and derision. They even went so far as to contrive a false complaint of forum rule breaking to kick me out of the group. 

One of their members was so horrified at the way they treated me that they sent me a private message and told me about how they had been plotting on how to kick me out without making themselves look bad. So no matter what I did, it would be wrong per their newly established rules and I would be out. 

All of my story was hashed and rehashed until the reality was skewed till even I forgot the point of why this started. 

Oh yea! I’m poor and can’t afford to operate a car. 

But new rumors were started. Secretly I’m rich and this was really all a ploy to get people to give me money. I would never but I wish there was some truth. Being poor sucks. 

So many people reading my story, rehashing my story, using my story for their own personal gain. 

What did I get from it? 

Nothing. No! Worse than nothing! I had my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness stolen from me. I spent all the money raised on the second attorney and equipment to prove my case. 

All the tickets were dismissed and the three that the first attorney screwed up were expunged and the fines waived. 

I only had to agree to not cycle on u.s. 27 for two years. 

U.s. 27 runs through the heart of town. Which means no banking, no shopping, and no doctors visits. 

I had to leave to live. 

I had a home. I worked really hard to get that home and the Nicholasville police department and the people of Nicholasville stole that from me. 

I’m homeless and moving by bicycle to a place that will hopefully work out. Though I’m scared. Broke and scared is what the cycling community left me with. 

That was a neat trick to pull on someone who trusted and admired you. 

P.s. Thank you to those people who saw me as a person riding a bike. 

Moving by bicycle 

a lot of people move by bicycle. They get together with their cycling friends and move all manner of furniture. Grand pianos, refrigerators, couches you name it. Not too many move from state to state by bicycle. 

That is exactly what I and my two teenagers will be doing in less than a week. We are hoping to buy a kid trailer for the purpose of hauling only our most cherished and needed items. 

I bought a three person tent and the bike will be getting long road trip worthy this week. 

My daughter was nervous about the trip until I explained that we can go as slow as we like and rest as often as we need. 

Please stay tuned as we post pics and talk about our favorite and least favorite parts about the trip. 


They Say, You Gaslight: “Sidewalk Counseling” at Its Worst


I’m going to be late for my doctor’s appointment messing around with this nonsense, but this was too good to pass up, y’all.

It’s another one of those “Feminace Rips Apart Some BS Pro-Life Screed”, but this has a special twist – I’m “supporting” local talent.  Yes, cats and kittens, a friend shared a screed, and I read it and recognized the names as being two of THE WORST of our protesters.

It’s a how-to guide about responding to the myriad objections people give when these fuckers start harassing them, and since I’m not allowed to engage while in the vest and on the sidewalk, I’m not going to let this opportunity pass me by.  Oh no.

First, just read this shit.  It’s short, don’t worry. Don’t read while driving, or drinking anything or eating anything less you choke or spill or crash.  Got it?  Good.

Where do we even…

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Totems, Tribes, Taboos, and the Almighty Bike Lane

Culture. We need to create it. It can be done, relatively over night and out of thin air. You just have to want it. Do you want it?

Velography and Beyond

Over the last two years plus of talking with cyclists, developers, city organizers, and elected officials, I have noticed a great push by consultants to develop “bike lanes,” as a “fix all” solution to add biking infrastructure to already existing travel arteries. Charlotte, NC has been under a massive suburban sprawl since the seventies and eighties, and now the pendulum has started to swing back to revitalization of urban areas, and the city center/midtown. Of course great projects are always costly for taxpayers, and the footprint of construction is bothersome for long periods of time, but typically the end result is something very special. Take the example of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.

The LSCG is an amazing stretch of pedestrian-biking multi path that stretches from Park Rd. Shopping Center to 7th Street, where it almost connects to another greenway connecting neighborhoods like NoDa (shouldn’t it be called MiDa there…

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My Take: When evangelicals were pro-choice

Do you know why you take a stand on these issues? It may not be for the reasons you’ve been taught to think.

CNN Belief Blog

Editor’s Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of “Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics.”

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Over the course of the 2012 election season, evangelical politicians have put their community’s hard-line opposition to abortion on dramatic display.

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin claimed “legitimate rape” doesn’t result in pregnancy. Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock insisted that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

While these statements have understandably provoked outrage, they’ve also reinforced a false assumption, shared by liberals and conservatives alike: that uncompromising opposition to abortion is a timeless feature of evangelical Christianity.

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