So, do you feel ‘safer’?
Before you chuck your mirror and/or radar, hi viz clothing, or cancel your weekly appointment with your chiropractor for realignment from craning your neck to see what’s coming up behind you…let’s unpack what just happened.
The Ohio General Assembly approved H.B. 154 – the “3-foot” rule. The law will require motorists to pass bicyclists on the road with no less than a 3-foot cushion. It will be on the books just like speed limits, blood alcohol limits, and the requirement to come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs. We all know how well those are observed. The difference being that the speed limits, OVI checkpoints, and rolling stops will no doubt be subject to more enforcement than this law will. In fact, I predict that exactly ZERO citations will be issued solely for violating this statue. It will likely be one more violation tacked on to others after a cyclist is hit. Don’t get me wrong: I’ll take another tool for law enforcement or prosecuting attorneys to use any day of the week. I just don’t think this legislation will “make our streets and roads safer for all users,” as some cycling advocates have suggested. I have ridden the roads in 10 of the 28 states that currently have these laws on the books and, with the exception of the part of New Hampshire I was in that had shoulders as wide as a normal lane, they are no ‘safer’ than states without these laws. In fact, I think drivers in some of these states are actually MORE aggressive and dangerous.
What could make our streets and roads safer will be the ensuing publicity of Ohio becoming the 29th state to enact such legislation mandating a specific distance for safe passing. I agree with Steve Magas, an attorney who has made a career out of representing cyclists in criminal and civil cases, that this will be a marketing opportunity. It will give us an opportunity to continue to promote awareness – that we have the same rights to the road. Now that H.B. 154 will be a law, it should be in driver’s education curriculum and part of the test required to acquire the privilege to drive a motor vehicle.
Probably the best provision in the legislation is that cyclist can proceed through an intersection after a full stop and yielding the right-of-way when not detected by a device meant to move the traffic signal form red to green.
Even with a 3-foot law, you need to continue to ride assertively and use every available means to protect yourself on the road:
Bottom line? Don’t rely on a law to provide for your safety. YOU are responsible for your safety. Laws aren’t gonna do it for you.
AUTHOR: Alicia Figliola
Only recently have I been speaking more about an incident I had September 27, 2016 on my bike with another car and I wanted to share it with you.
I live two miles from Mound Business Park and on September 27, I wanted to head our for what I call a decent ride while staying close to home. I was riding alone and I did not want to get on the bike path as it was going to be dusk by the time I headed home and I just had a guy on the path stalk me the week before. I thought riding out in Mound Business Park would be my best option. If you are not familiar with Mound Business park, it is hilly and the lanes are very wide and there is very little traffic that runs through there after 5 pm.
My ride was going great until I got into Mound and I was climbing up the first hill when you enter the park. I was in the center of my lane when my Garmin Varia radar alerted me that there was a car approaching me from behind. No big deal, I got over to the right as far as I could to allow the car to pass. Even had I not got over to the right, the car would have had two full lanes to go around and pass me safely. But once the car was beside me, to my surprise I saw that the passenger of the car was leaning out of the passenger window up to his waist and waving a baseball bat at me trying to take me out. Fortunately, he was not successful. Needless to say that I was so shaken and rattled by this that I was able to get the license plate number, the color and brand of the bat he was swinging at me and I was able to get that there were 4 people in the car and one was a girl with curly dark hair in the back seat behind the passenger. Problem was that even though I had all those details and more, I just could not get the license plate number to stick in my head. I knew the letters and numbers, I just could not remember the order they were in. I tried as hard as I could and it just could not remember them anymore.
I realized then that I was now safe and that I needed to finish my ride and then get home. I thought there was no point in dwelling on the situation as I can't report this because I can't remember the license plate number. I head home.
As I am headed home, I was on Cinci-Dayton Road, when I saw that the same car passed just passed me. This time, there were only three people in the car. The girl was still in the back seat with the curly hair and this time I was able to get the license plate number. After I got the plate number, I texted it to my husband so I could not forget it. At this point, I called Miamisburg police and they met my husband and I out at Mound Golf course and I was able to give them details of the incident, the car, and the baseball bat. After talking to the two officers who responded I was not able to press charges as the officers were not able to come up with a charge. I was told is was a grey area. But they were able to pay the driver a visit up in Trotwood and give them a warning.
Though I don't know if the 18 year old boys and girl got the message or not, but I know to look out for a 1993 golden tan Oldsmobile Supreme, Ohio license plate number GXB 2759, swinging a white Mizuno aluminum baseball bat with black lettering. I would like to add that had it not been for the Garmin Varia alerting me and having the riding skills I have been taught, this could have easily had a different ending. I would love to see that incidents like this and similar taken more serious by the courts and my rights and life protected.
AUTHOR: David Cox
As a former instructor of Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido, I taught my students that the first rule of self-dense was "don't be there". My experience has been that most conflicts escalate primarily because egos do not allow combatants to disengage and just walk away when the opportunity to do so was available. We see all too often how many conflicts that could have been avoided by walking away end with tragic consequences. You have to be careful which battles you choose to fight.
This should not be confused with the notion that we should avoid any activity or location where the possibility of conflict exists. Heck, if we did that, we could never leave the house (and I know if I never left the house there would DEFINITELY be some conflict!). We have to make calculated decisions as to the level of risk we take. Cycling on the roadways is an inherently more risky activity than most things many people do in any given day. We do things to ameliorate the risks of riding - assertive riding, hi-viz clothing, radar, lights, etc. But no matter what we do, we may have the chance encounter with the belligerent motorist.
Cycling Respect is about educating motorists and cyclists regarding proper and safe joint use of our roads. Unfortunately, not all motorists care what our rights are even if they are aware of those law. If you ride the road for any length of time you will more than likely encounter the belligerent driver who buzzes you with the 'punishment pass', curses you, throws an object at you, or worse. So, what do you do?
When this happens, here's when the rule comes into play: if you have the opportunity to continue on your way (hopefully, getting pertinent information to report to law enforcement), do it. You get to go home. Your ego will survive the encounter. I understand the urge to respond with a single-finger wave, a shout, or whatever. I get it. I've done it and you've probably done it. We're human. But understand this will only serve to escalate the conflict and you have to be prepared to deal with those consequences. I was climbing Oregonia Rd and had a guy in a Chevy Blazer pass me laying on the horn, cut in front of me, lock up the brakes and scream at me through the open passenger window and the white smoke coming out from the fender wells. I had a choice: return 'fire' or just turn and go back down the hill. As a 4th degree black belt, I sized the driver up pretty quick and felt good about my chances if the encounter were to turn into a physical confrontation. I'm also smart enough to know that on any given day, things may not go as planned and it wouldn't really accomplish anything anyway. You need to understand that from a legal standpoint I would have a hard time justifying a physical assault as self-defense. I've got a family and a few shekels I would prefer not to be separated from. I didn't say a word but gave him a big Cheshire Cat grin and when I turned to go down the hill I chuckled imagining how his blood pressure probably hit the roof because I didn't give him the satisfaction of a response.
It is in the heat of the moment that I try to remember Paul's words in Romans: "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:17-18) However, if you are not afforded the opportunity to continue on your way without an immediate threat to your personal safety, then and only then, are you justified in GOING TO WORK TO PROTECT YOUR REAL ESTATE. Once you do, stop only if the attacker is unwilling or unable to continue.
Not your circus. Not your monkeys.
People only have the power over you that you give them. If a motorist is being a horse's rear-end and isn't presenting a threat to your safety, let them be angry all the way to their destination. They'll gripe about the incident to the next ten people they come in contact with while you will have the opportunity to chalk it up to another self-absorbed soul with more issues than a subscription to TIME magazine who may never experience the sheer joy that comes from riding a bicycle. Sure, there may be some you could have a reasonable conversation with and educate them. My guess is that it will be a low percentage and may not be worth the risk to find out.
We had an amazing turnout at our first #Ride4Respect event. A huge thank you to everyone for supporting our cause! #ShareTheRoad #OutdoorCycling #RespectTheBike #MayUseFullLane #DontTreadOnMe #3Feet #Space4Cycling
6:00 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016
Former professional cyclist and nine-time Tour de France competitor Frankie Andreu will participate in the upcoming Ride for Respect. CONTRIBUTEDLocal cyclist advocacy group Cycling Respect is hosting a proactive “Ride for Respect” on Nov. 12 in an effort to raise awareness about cyclists’ rights on the roadways and educate motorists about the laws governing those interactions. The 13-mile free ride will run through Centerville, Springboro and Miamisburg.
The local group will have some star power at the event as Frankie Andreu, a nine-time Tour de France competitor and two-time Olympian, will join the group for the ride.
“The issue is important to me because as cycling continues to grow exponentially in the United States, it’s important to keep in mind the safety and laws that protect our right to ride on the road,” Andreu said. “The Ride for Respect is an event to promote the safe environment for everyone who participates in cycling on our local roadways.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicyclist injuries climbed to 50,000 in 2014 – up from 48,000 in 2013. And 726 people lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes – approximately two people every day of the year in the United States.
RIDE FOR RESPECT
What: Proactive 13-mile ride sponsored by local bicycle safety advocacy group Cycling Respect.
When: Saturday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m. (rain or shine)
Where: Route begins at LOGIK, 1547 Lyons Road, Centerville and will run through Centerville, Springboro and Miamisburg