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Above the Law

Posted by Bruce Hildenbrand on Jan 14, 2009 10:32:39 AM

Steven Segal made only one good movie and it wasn't 'Above the Law'. 'Under Siege' is still a first rate action flick, unlike his latter body of work where he had gained so much weight he had no mobility so he had to confine his trademark martial arts moves to a bunch of face slapping reminiscent of the old Three Stooges movies.


But, this blog isn't about a guy who let Kelly LeBrock slip through his fingers, this is about cyclists who ride as if the traffic laws don't apply to them. Today, during my ride, I slowed to a halt at a stop sign, put my foot down so that the car turning left coming from the opposite direction could proceed. At that very instant, the Palo Alto Noon Ride, about 30-40 riders strong, blew the stop sign and continued on its 'racy' ways.


It might be a bit strong to say that I hate the Palo Alto Noon Ride, but it's close.  I don't have any respect for a bunch of riders who put their selfish needs ahead of the laws of the state. But, more importantly, their selfish actions create a whole lot of negative sentiment towards cyclists. And that sentiment spills over to affect me.


More than once, I have stopped a police officer to report an illegal action by a car towards me while I was out riding only to have the officer tell me, "you guys who do the noon ride don't follow the laws either." Now, it can be argued that the problem with the officer's response is a result of the officer's bias and not the action of the riders on the Noon Ride, but if the Noon Ride actually obeyed the law, this wouldn't be a problem.


Where I live in Silicon Valley, it is not just the Noon Ride which acts as if the laws don't apply to them. The ride goes at noon five days a week which is a lot of law breaking, but there is also the Wednesday night Valley Ride and the Saturday morning Spectrum Ride which basically take over the roads and create a lot of bad feelings on a regular basis.


Nothing is going to change because of this blog. Racers and racer-wannabees will continue to act selfish and put their needs ahead of the law. And the fact that their actions are going to make it harder for me to ride my bike is also not going to change.


The former manager of the Palo Alto Bike Shop once told me that one of the racers who they sponsor asked for some extra compensation, because in his words, "I am out there riding my bike wearing your jersey getting you a lot of publicity."  The manager replied, "I just got off the phone with an irate car driver who said that a cyclist wearing our jersey made an illegal left turn, cut him off,, and almost caused a traffic accident."


You make the call.



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