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The Coloradoan reports that Sheriff Alderden will be meeting with Bicycle Colorado and state legislators soon:
The Coloradoan also reports that the county commissioners are considering a revision of county policy that would prohibit county employees (including the sheriff) from expressing their personal views on a county-funded web site:
The latest edition of the Bull-Sheet includes the following comment:
Boy oh boy! Did I ever learn my lesson! I doubt if Ill ever use the B word or C word again in a Bulls-eye. (Take your minds out of the gutter: Boulder and Cyclists.)
Thanks for the links Dave.
Interesting that the commissioners are considering taking the blog down or policing what the police say. I would rather have the Sheriff be right up front with his opinion, than have him tell us what he thinks we want to hear - and then do something else. I agree that I don't want to read the Sheriff's blathering on issues not related to his job as a Sheriff - but I do want to know his personal views about his interpretation of the law and how to enforce it.
If more public officials were open about their views and actions related to their jobs - it would likely influence the voting population.
Just so this thread will have a complete record, here are a couple more links.
First, one from the Coloradoan, reporting the meeting between Alderden and the cycling advocates: http://www.coloradoan.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008806110314
Second, an update from Bicycle Colorado: http://bicyclecolo.org/page.cfm?PageID=893
Third, another column on the subject from Bob Mionske at VeloNews: http://www.velonews.com/article/77477/legally-speaking-with-bob-mionske---talking-in-dodge
I'll just make one comment. It seems that Alderden was unconvinced that his interpretation of the law is incorrect in spite of the fact that the author of the law was at the meeting to tell him what it meant. That seems a bit strange to me.
I don't envy riders in that area where this particular sheriff presides but this type of thinking, or rather lack there of, in combination with what is no doubt a cavalier mindset that is indifferent to even the safety issues at hand should not surprise any of us. We can be as cordial as we like and diplomatic as we can be and keep working diligently for change but the mindset of this particular "public servant" and many of his cohorts is rooted in pre-war Germany. We have not come all that far and while this email seems jaded for someone who is active in lobbying for safer roads, and has had dealings with police in my region, it is the rare officer or police officials who are sensitive to bike rider's needs. An exception here is Farmington Hills, Michigan, where they will pursue drivers who are overly agressive but the courts then have to back them up.
The bottom line is that the automobile community is going to learn that since the law enforcement folks are indifferent to our needs for safety and the rights of the road then they will be too and make no bones about it, PEOPLE WILL DIE AS A RESULT of their casual indifference. While I'm not surprised, I'm, obviously, still angry about it. So much for any benefits of the RIDE OF SILENCE
So, boycott that county. Contact the bike shops there and tell them why you won't ride there anymore as a destination. Let the commissioners know why you are doing so. Place an add in the local papers telling the locals how the sheriff is in effect running you out of town and your money with you. Do something as it is easy to complain. Thank Mr. Newman for his efforts and good luck to you and all of us.
When I was hit two years ago by a taxi, the officer who wrote the accident report actually indicated that there was a "bike path" to the north of the road. Insinuating that I should have been on the "bike path" and not the road. He didn't even ticket the taxi that hit me!!! I was driving with the flow of traffic, as close to the shoulder as practicable. He was in the opposite lane with oncoming traffic and got into the turning lane to turn off the road. The sun was in his eyes and he didn't see me. Evidently, this meant he didn't break any laws. I'll bet if he'd hit a car, he would've gotten a ticket.
I saw the officer three weeks later. He wasn't in uniform. Minus the uniform I found myself much more bold than normal. I began to lecture him on the law. I happen to keep a copy of it in my wallet (and on my bike). After showing it to him and explaining that the supposed "bike path" was really a pedestrian path that bikes could go on as long as they didn't exceed 20mph (which I was exceeding by 5 mph when hit) then I could've "chosen" to ride on it, but was not required to. He frankly told me he didn't believe I had a right to be on the road. I was flabbergasted. I called the police switcboard and lodged a complaint, called my city councilman, my county commissioner, etc. . . . all to no avail.
HOWEVER!!!! While picking up my replacement bike a couple of weeks later, I happened upon a great strategy for any officer you are having a problem with, even if the sheriff, or commissioner doesn't. (although I don't think it would help in CO) The sargent in charge of the bike patrol came in to have his rear derailleur adjusted. He saw my bike (Trek TTX) whistled, and then wanted to talk about it. I smiled and said, "want to hear the story of how I came to buy this new bike?" When I was done, he asked me for the name of the officer, which I freely shared. He then leaned real close to me and said, "don't worry about him anymore, I'll set him straight first time I see him." Bike patrol officers are sometime our greatest advocates when it comes to informing their co-workers as to the law. If you have a problem, seek one out, it can't hurt. Many of them get hooked and become avid roadies themselves.
Point well made... I'm so glad you survived to be able to buy a new bike and I concur that the bike patrol officers may be our last best hope!
We must keep seeking whatever avenues that we might to educate. As we all know, having laws is one step but getting them enforced is the crucial next step. We are constantly lobbying here in Michigan to improve the standard of the law, for example, to get bicyclists protected as highway workers are and the subsequent addition of police and fire officers and even farm workers on tractors for example which we have here.
The League of Michigan Bicyclists is working on a website that will be geared toward the police in the state to learn the laws. A good first move that other states might emulate.
Hope the TTX is working out.
Thanks for all the great update links. It is interesting/troubling that Alderen still argues the correct interpretation in spite of the author telling him exactly the intent.
I think this issue will continue to be a work in progress. There is a need for public education on rules of the road, how to behave as a cyclist and how to behave toward cyclists as a motorist. When I write "public" I mean on television and newspapers - not the websites that cater to specific groups. A cycling-specific site will not help the two adults I saw riding in the bike lane against traffic (they should have been in the other bike lane on the opposite side of the street, going with traffic). For subscribers to the Alderen School of Thought, they will not get a balanced view of proper cycling and motorist behaviors.
Perhaps wishful thinking, but I'm hoping there is more of a state-wide educational initiative on this matter - if not nation-wide.