Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Deputies seek safe roads for drivers, cyclists

Here's a heartwarming story from Orlando about a bunch of cyclists who have the (gasp!) audacity to ride side by side in a narrow lane - one that's too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle. The local deputies want to make the road 'safe' for cyclists and motorists by harassing and attempting to intimidate cyclists, using their authority to move them 'safely' out of the way of motorists.

Hmmmmm.....maybe if there's a double yellow line denoting a NO PASSING zone, motorists shouldn't pass. What a concept!

There's an almost comical quality to this. "We don't want to write hundreds of tickets (because any judge with a functioning brain would toss us out of court) and besides, cyclists have to obey the same laws as motorists, and yield to overtaking traffic. Sure, it's in the vehicle code somewhere. We just haven't found it yet."
About all that's missing is the almost obligatory snipe about wearing 'spandex'.

Watch the video and judge for yourself.


Complaints from drivers sent deputies out with a video camera.According to deputies, the cameras revealed large groups of bike riders -- mostly on weekends -- illegally disrupting traffic.

"Cyclists should yield to traffic that’s stacked up behind them," Lt. Pete Kelting said. "They can move to a single rider formation, which allows people to pass by them safely."

Keri Caffrey commutes on her bike and rides in groups for fun. She admits some riders go too far, and that it's about the law and courtesy."We find a safe place to pull over and let traffic go by," Caffrey said.

But she insists when lanes are narrow, riders do legally get the whole lane because riding on the edge of the road with cars whizzing by is far from safe."If it's less than 14 feet, cyclist or group of cyclists is entitled to full use of lane," Caffrey said.

Deputies insist their mission is to get a safe situation on the road for cyclists and drivers."They need to obey the same rules as if they were driving their own motor vehicle," Kelting said.



Blogger A Midnight Rider said...

On our club rides, the hammerheads, (fastest and strongests riders in the group), are usually the ones who have some kind of confrontation. There are not always problems, but when there are, it's always the hammerheads.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

Locally, a cement truck driver passed a cyclist in a narrow lane and struck and killed him yesterday. The local advocacy group has been pushing Caltrans to erect "cyclists may use full lane" signs at the location of the fatality for months now. Even the city council and police department are asking for the change, but Caltrans responds that it's too dangerous for cyclists to take the lane. Bleh.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Keri said...

An SCSO deputy recently pulled over a group for "using too much lane and obstructing traffic" on a 25mph residential road with frequent "pinch point" traffic-calming structures. That group rides 22 when they're taking it easy.

There is some educatin' needs to be done at SCSO. We're working on that. The last thing we need is to further the notion that a "good cyclist" squeezes over and shares a 10 foot lane. Most cyclists are doing that already!

But to be fair, there are elements of pack behavior that are not good PR for the cycling community. The video is mild.

BTW, WESH has also agreed to do a story on impatient/hostile motorists and their bad behavior. Unsafe overtaking decisions are a WAY bigger problem than groups delaying motorists.

10:20 PM  

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