Saturday, February 14, 2015

Seriously, WTF?

Before we get too far into the meat and, well, the seriousness of today's post, I have to encourage you to go over to the Tatanka 100 website.  I'm doing some guest blogging over there about what's coming up in this year's edition of the race...big changes and I think the race will be really amazing.  There are shorter distances if you don't want to ride your bike for 8+ hours as well as combining the whole thing with the BAM Festival so there is live music until 10 pm for family and friends.  Check it out.

OK, let's get really, really serious.  Last time I was here, I asked everyone to take some action on HB1030, the 3' Passing Law which would require all vehicles overtaking a cyclist to pass with at least 3' between them.  The law was amended to read a minimum of 3' under 35mph and a minimum of 6' over 35mph.  Great!  This is all good news, but I will say, we need to barrage our representatives with e-mails and/or calls to pass this bill.  The bill has been deferred to another day 3 times.  I know that this is a common practice, but I've also watched them defer bills right out of the legislative session, obviously killing the whole thing.

All this being said, and I shouldn't even give this guy any publicity at all, ever, we have good ol' Gordon Howie, Tea Bagger extraordinare, turning this into a political thing and uses scare tactics in his headline, Move Over Stupid or Go to Jail (and his follow up post, Why I Hate Bicycles)  WTF?  First, NO ONE is going to jail.  When was the last time you saw someone go to jail for a traffic violation?  It's almost always a misdemeanor.  Second, since when is giving someone the courtesy of not clipping them, maiming them or killing them with your car a Left/Right thing?  Last time I checked it was a human decency thing.  If you read his blog post on this you'll see that he only sees two options for passing a cyclist.  1.  Swerving into an oncoming lane of traffic. 2.  Buzzing the cyclist.  I had a conversation with a person once about this exact same subject and their opinion was the same as Howie's until I asked them "you do realize there is a 3rd option, right?"  SLOW THE FUCK DOWN until it is safe to pass.  It's going to cost you about 5 seconds in the grand scheme of things.

Some of his solutions for this are not allowing cyclists on roadways not intended for cycling OR posting a minimum speed limit, that is half of the maximum speed limit, and if you can't maintain that speed then you can't ride on this road.  So, South Dakotans, how many times have you been on a rural road in our state and come upon a tractor/combine/bailer/farm implement , etc., on the road?  What do you currently do when this happens?  Using my best Arnold Horshack impersonation, OOOH, OOOH, let me guess. You SLOW DOWN until it is safe to pass, then you go around them, not buzzing or clipping them, and probably wave to the farmer/rancher on your way by, right?  But using Howie's demented logic, if
Buzz that slow moving
son-of-a-bitch.  I dare ya.
there is a minimum posted speed limit, well, then these vehicles shouldn't be allowed on the roadway.  This is the kind of logic that is happening in our state folks.  E-mail your legislators NOW.

While you're there, tell them to KILL HB1214. HB1214 is a bill requiring cyclists to wear fluorescent/reflective clothing while riding on a highway (for those of you living in Rapid City, if you ever have ridden in the new bike lanes on Jackson Blvd., you've ridden on a highway).  This bill is stupid for many reasons, let me explain.
1. There are already laws regarding reflectors/lights for cyclists. This is just an added layer bureaucracy on top of what we have.
2.  This law puts an undue burden on people that are poor and use a bicycle for their only means of transportation.  Yes, I know you can get a vest for under $10 at a hardware store, but if you don't think that is a burden for some people, then you've not been that poor.
3.  There have been many studies showing that fluorescent clothing does NOT increase the visibility of the cyclist.  I could link this for you, but when I Googled it, I found a lot of data on this.  The biggest thing I found in multiple studies I read were that if your clothing contrasts with your surrounding you're slightly more visible.  Doesn't have to be fluorescent.  Riding in the city where everything is grey? Wear a color other than grey.  Boom, problem solved.
4.  (This piggybacks on #3) In those some of those same studies I read, it said that cyclist that did wear fluorescent/reflective clothing had a false sense of safety because of the clothing.  They thought that since they were in these "hi-vis" colors that motorists would see them, making them less defensive in their riding.
5.  (This is the biggest one for me) If a motorist hits a cyclist that was not wearing fluorescent/reflective clothing it gives them an out for a crime.  "Well I didn't see them because they weren't wearing fluorescent.  It doesn't matter that I was uploading a selfie of my crotch to my Tinder profile."  Motorists get off in auto-bicycle accidents WAY to often in this country, lets not give them another reason.

Damn, I've been on my soapbox WAY too much lately.  I'll do my best to post something lighter, maybe Not-So-Serious next time around.

Oh yeah, for you loyal readers, thanks for being around.  I got a shout-out from one of the blog-o-sphere's biggest bike-blogger/douche bags (same diff), Stevil Kinevil at All Hail The Black Market (the shout out is about half way through this post).  You were in on the ground floor.  This shit's about to get HUGE!