CYCLES

Report On Lawsuit Following Its Conclusion

I am relieved to announce that
my lawsuit is finally, successfully concluded!


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Dysfunction Junction: Depositions Reveal Dysfunction in Hadley Government

At long last, I have new information to share about my lawsuit against the town of Hadley and some of its police officers and officials. Depositions were held in August 2011. I wrote this in January 2013.

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Strong Towns Are Just (As In Justice) Towns

During a trip to North Adams, Massachusetts last year, I had the opportunity to be interview by Chuck Marohn for the Strong Towns podcast, in which I spoke of my conflict with the Hadley, Massachusetts police department and the resulting lawsuit against them. Following the resolution of this lawsuit, I got the opportunity to appear by phone on the Strong Towns podcast again to tell the story. To hear that story, listen to Show 160: Eli Damon. Below are my follow-up comments on this interview.

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Biking Home In The Snow: Real Experiences, Despotic Streets, Binding Options Revisited

I spent the evening with friends from my Medieval music choir. It was snowing fairly heavily that evening. When it came time to leave, I was not at all looking forward to biking home. I was not desperate enough to actually ask someone to drive me home in their car, but I was secretly hoping that someone would offer. I could have slept at my parents' house, which was much closer, and gone home the next day, but I really wanted to be home. So I set off on what I expected to be a long, slow, difficult, late-night slog through the snow.

The experience was wonderful! It was not a slog at all but an engaging journey across a beautiful landscape. I'm so glad that I was not lewered into avoiding the experience. I would like to share some of the thought I had during that ride.

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Oracles And Amplifiers - The Role Of Experts In Society

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We, as a society, just don't seem to understand the proper role of experts. We treat experts as either oracles, proffering divine truth, or as amplifiers, adding volume but not content to a "debate". Our society's dysfunctional relationship with expertise continues to contribute to terrible decisions with devastating consequences. As laymen, we fail ourselves and our society through our misuse of experts, and as experts, we fail our professions and our society through our poor performance in the role of expert.

When legislators propose a new law or other legislative action, do we insist that they rigorously justify them? And do we listen carefully to their justification? What problem is it meant to solve? How can we be sure that the problem really exists and is severe enough to warrant the law or action? How can be sure that the proposed law or action will actually solve that problem? What side-effects might come from it? How do reporters help or hinder this interaction?

Supposed an economist makes a policy recommendation. How do they justify it? They might cite computer models or econometric data? How can be sure that the computer models represent real economic processes? How can we be sure that the econometric data faithfully reflect real economic conditions? How familiar is the economist with these real-world processes and conditions? How do we as ordinary citizens participate in the policy discussion? And how do reporters participate on our behalf? Do we listen carefully to the economist? Do we ask them pointed questions? Do they explain things in a way that we can understand? Do we challenge them when they say something that does not ring true?

When we visit our doctors about a serious problem, do we ask them to explain our symptoms? Or do we just ask them what to do about them? If we ask them to explain, how enthusiastically do they oblige. And how clear is their explanation? Do they refer us to other sources? How do insurance companies influence the doctor in their role as expert?

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I Am Traffic!

There is something exciting happening in the bike education world. ... << MORE >>

Partial But Definite Success Amending Easthampton Bicycle Ordinances

My efforts, along with the efforts of several other Easthampton cyclists, to amend the city's bicycle ordinances have been successful! The city council approved the amendments on 09/19/2012, and the mayor gave his approval on 09/20/2012. The amended ordinances are now posted on the city's home page.

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A More Luxurious Ghetto

A Troubling Theme Suggesting A Troubling Attitude

I have noticed a theme in local bike advocacy that is frustrating me. I have been hearing people urging that, for the benefit of cyclists, paved shoulders on roads should be widened, either by narrowing travel lanes or by widening the pavement. With all respect for these well-meaning people, in my opinion, this is a terrible idea. I have many practical reasons for beliving so, which I cover below. Furthermore, the proposal suggests a troubling attitude toward the role of cycling in our society. It is the attitude of a people confined to a ghetto who do not demand liberation but merely a more luxurious ghetto.

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Driving Speed: Traffic, Psychology, and Mathematics

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As a math teacher, I am familiar with many classes of problems in which intuition leads us astray. One such class, which came up in my recent interview with Chuck Marohn, relates to driving speed and trip time. Chuck pointed out that traffic engineers habitually work to maximize design speed rather than minimize trip time, and that they fail to recognize the substantial difference between them. They intuitively assume (like most people, I imagine) that the two are essentially the same, and so they fall back on the simpler of the two.

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Strong Towns interview with Chuck Marohn

Introduction


On Friday, 09/07/2012, I took a trip to North Adams, MA to meet up with Chuck Marohn. I had corresponded with Chuck online for a while, but had not met him in person before. While there, I had the honor of being interviewed by him for the Strong Towns podcast.

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UMass Amherst: Bicycle Friendly University?

A few weeks ago, I received an email message from a staffer at the League of American Bicyclists asking me to review to an application from The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst for an award from the League's Bicycle Friendly America program. I am a lifetime League member and a League Cycling Instructor. I also attended UMass Amherst from 2000 to 2008, where I received my Ph.D. in mathematics, so am quite familiar with the university. Despite all of this, I was surprised at the request, considering my open criticism of the Bicycle Friendly America program and the bitter conflict between myself and League directors and officers regarding my 2009 campaign to become a League director.

Given my reservations about the Bicycle Friendly America program, I felt conflicted about whether to review the university's application. In the end, I decided that there was no harm in giving feedback as a member of the public. I have no special influence over the award decision.

My only caveat was that I declined to answer the question, "What level would you consider awarding this institution?" I selected "None" on the form only because I was required to select something. I explained this choice in a comment, so that the judges would know that it was not a judgement on the university's bicycle-friendliness, but rather a judgement on the Bicycle Friendly America program.

Here is my survey response.

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Pioneers of Mobility

In The Story of CyclingSavvy Pioneer Valley, I wrote about my experience as a CyclingSavvy instructor and my effort to bring the CyclingSavvy program to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. I also mentioned that I was working on making a video about the class and its effect on the participants. That video is finally finished, and you can watch it here.

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He's back...and bigger and badder than ever before.

It has been more than a year (maybe closer to a year and a half)  since I made my last blog entry. First I was concerned about what legal hazards I would trigger with my pending lawsuit. Then I was dealing with too much other stuff to think about it. Then I was overwhelmed by the amount of material for the blog that I had to catch up on. But now here we go.

So what has happened over the past year or so?

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Please help me with my lawsuit.

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There have been some developments in the case over the past year but not as much as would seem reasonable, the courts being sssllllooooowwwwwww and unpredictable. There was an intial hearing before Magistrate Judge Kenneth Neiman. There has recently been some activity in the discovery phase of the case, and depositions are on the horizon for early July. I would like to share more details, but I am hesitant to do so while the lawsuit is pending because it imposes some legal hazards to making public statements about the case. My attorney is offering his services on contingency, but I am responsible for covering other costs, including depositions. So far, my out-of-pocket legal expenses have been in the hundreds-of-dollars range. However, the cost of depositions will be in thousands-of-dollars range. I do not have much money.

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The Story of CyclingSavvy Pioneer Valley

What is CyclingSavvy?

CyclingSavvy is a very exciting new cycling training program that promotes empowerment for unlimited travel. It was developed in Orlando, Florida in 2009, and it is turning out to be extremely successful. It has already spread to Texas, Missouri, Illinois, and Maine, and there are certified instructors in many other states working on starting up the program in their areas. Many who take the class find radically expanded possibilities for their lives. Even very experienced cyclists and cycling instructors gain valuable insights from it that improve their cycling experience and their teaching.

CyclingSavvy's literature describes the program like this.

CyclingSavvy is a new traffic cycling curriculum from Florida Bicycle Association (FBA). It was developed by former League Cycling InstructorsKeri Caffrey and Mighk Wilson.

... [F]ear of cycling in traffic is the greatest hindrance to cycling and bicycle transportation... [CyclingSavvy] is built upon an understanding of the needs of adult learners and the challenges of changing behavior that is strongly rooted in our traffic culture.
Keri and Mighk had a critical insight: that the greatest barrier to bicycle transportation is not kowledge or skill; it is belief. They put great effort into carefully and thoughtfully constructing an experience that could change people's belief about how traffic operates, and how cyclists fit into it.

Here are some of my favorite CyclingSavvy link.

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On-bike Video Project

When I originally bought my Oregon Scientific ATC5K sport video camera, it was because I wanted capture footage of my bike rides for educational videos. I had seen videos from John Allen, Dan Guiterrez and Brian DeSousa, and Keri Caffrey and Mighk Wilson, and I wanted to do something like they had done. I wanted to show my community our local roads from a new perspective. I wanted to show them that there was no reason to be afriad of motor traffic on those roads, and wanted to show them the benefits of an assertive position, and the absence of the danger that many imagined.

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(UPDATED 08/23) Public Hearing on Easthampton Bicycle Ordinances

Easthampton Bicycle Ordinances
Public Hearing
09/19 at 6:00PM
50 Payson Ave.
Second Floor Meeting Room


(UPDATE 08/23) A public hearing on the Easthampton bicycle ordinances is scheduled during the city council meeting on Wednesday, 09/19, which begins at 6:00PM. The hearing was initially scheduled for the 07/11 meeting, and it did begin during the 07/11, but it was continued to the 08/01 meeting because of Salem Derby's absence. The hearing continued at the 08/01 meeting, but was continued to the 09/19 meeting again due to Salem Derby's absence, The agenda item was postponed for 90 days so that the ordinance committee could revise its recommendations. If you missed the hearing as initially scheduled you have another chance to speak your mind. Follow the links below to watch the previous sessions of the hearing.

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League Membership: To Renew or Not to Renew

Some members of the League of American Bicyclists are frustrated and disillusioned with the League due to its recent policies and actions, and are considering allowing their membership to expire. Ian Cooper and Mark Sauerwald are two such members. Each of them expressed their feeling in a letter to the League's Director of Membership, Scott Williams. I am publishing these letters below, with the authors' permission. (I have made a few minor corrections.)

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Letter to Big Y Regarding Bike Parking and Bikes in Stores

I submitted this letter to Big Y through the "Contact Us" form on their website. It concerns their bicycle parking facilities and their policy of prohibiting bicycles in their stores.

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A Candidate's Experience

Since the start of my campaign with the Coalition to Reform LAB (LAB Reform) to become a director of the League of American Bicyclists, I have found the League to be more desperately in need of reform than I had previously suspected. I knew that the League's directors and officers were consistently unresponsive and uncommunicative, which had frustrated me earlier. I knew that the League often put out messages that seemed to undermine its mission. But, during my campaign, I discovered, beyond these problems, that the League's governance, which is nominally democratic, was quite dysfunctionally undemocratic in reality. The problems came in several forms:
  • unreasonable bylaws
  • other unreasonable policies, written and unwritten, generally involving the withholding of information;
  • deviations from bylaws and other written policies;
  • nonsensical interpretations of bylaws and written policies by directors and officers;
  • directors failing to perform their duties.
In this article, I document my experience of the League's governance during the campaign.

CONTENTS

  1. A Note on the Writing Process
  2. Bylaws, Policies, and Deviations Thereof
    1. Bylaws
    2. Policies
    3. Deviations
  3. My Correspondence with Directors and Officers
    1. The Petition Process
    2. "Written" Correspondence
    3. A Message to the Members
    4. Petition Signing Eligibility
  4. What Now?
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Charges Dismissed

Good News

On 09/14/2010, I received an email from my lawyer regarding the hearing that had been held on 09/08/2010. It included this page from Judge John Payne, indicating that he was allowing my motion to dismiss the criminal charges. (It is totally illegible but trust me; that is what it says.) The charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful wiretapping have been dismissed. The judge did not dismiss the traffic ticket. However, the traffic ticket was dismissed at a hearing on 10/05/2010 before a magistrate.

Yay! 


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Help Me Become a Director of the League of American Bicyclists. Sign the Petition!

I hereby officially announce my candidacy for a director position at the League of American Bicyclists. I am running in partnership with fellow candidates Bill Hoffman, John Brooking, and Khalil Spencer on behalf of the Coalition to Reform LAB (LAB Reform). Also see this statement from John and this statement from Khalil.

Please sign the online petition to nominate me, John, and Khalil.


The board of directors did not appoint or nominate us, so we are petitioning the members for nomination. Fellow reform candidate and current director Bill Hoffman was nominated by the board and we (me, John, and Khalil) hope to meet him on the ballot. If you prefer, you can print this signature form and either submit it by mail, or scan it and submit it by email. If you are not currently a member, you must join the League before you can sign. Family memberships count for two votes. You can use the online form to pay by credit card, or print the form and mail it to the League office with a check or money order. As soon as you join online, you will see a confirmation page. Your membership number (an eight-digit number beginning with "5") will be shown following the word "Password". We greatly appreciate your support of our work to reform the League of American Bicyclists. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions about the campaign. Read on.

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Letter to Frederick, Maryland State Senator Alex Mooney and Delegate Charles Jenkins

Inspired by a visit with my cousins in Frederick, Maryland, I wrote a letter to their state delegate (i.e. congressman), Charles Jenkins, and senator, Alex Mooney, regarding the state's laws relating to cycling, and sent it, along with a cover letter from my cousin, David.
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District Attorney Race: URGENT (for residents of Franklin and Hampshire Counties and Athol, Massachusetts)

I ask you, as my friends, for a favor: to read this article. I acknowledge that you might not find the topic so engaging, but the article is short, and the topic is important to me. It might not be obvious, but this does concern my saga that began over a year ago, when I was stopped by Hadley police officer Mitchell Kuc. This is only relevant to residents of of Franklin and Hampshire Counties and Athol, Massachusetts.

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Letter to Editors of "Living on Earth" Regarding its Piece "It's No Copenhagen"

I sent this letter to the editors of the radio show Living on Earth, from Public Radio International, about their piece It's No Copenhagen, about cycling advocacy in Los Angeles, which aired on 09/03/2010.
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Persecution, Abandonment, and Betrayal: Comments on the Reed Bates Saga

The Situation

Reed Bates's troubles began only a week and half after mine did and followed a very similar pattern. For almost a year, Reed (also known as ChipSeal; formerly of Ennis (Ellis County), Texas; currently of Dallas, Texas) has been terrorized by the Ennis Police Department and the department of Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown because they disapprove of his assertive cycling technique. His technique accords with both Texas law and well-established principles of cycling safety and furthermore constitutes the safest and most efficient possible cycling behavior. Not only have they repeatedly harassed him by stopping and detaining him without cause while he was traveling, and not only have they they issued him citations for violating non-existent regulations, they have gone so far as to arrest him and hold him in jail on three occasions for a total of three weeks and to charge him with the crime of reckless driving, a charge that is extremely rare even in cases where a collision occurs.

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My Encounter with Eric Perkins and Adam Bartlett

In a comment on my recent article "Case Update: A Distant End in Sight, or at Least a Middle", Mike asked, "What is all this about Eric Perkins? I have been following your saga, but do not recall reference to an alleged altercation with someone. Is he a motorist?" Here is the story.

On 03/30/2007, I was riding East on Route 9 in Hadley approaching the Amherst border. A pickup truck driver, who turned out to be Eric Perkins, the owner of Amherst Motel, began tailgating me and laying on the horn. When I got near Dominos, he moved into the passing lane, passed me, and turned into the Dominos driveway. I naively thought that I might confront him and calmly discuss the conflict, so I followed into the driveway. ...<< MORE >>

Case Update: A Distant End in Sight, or at Least a Middle

Since the arraignment, I have had three hearings, Pretty much nothing happened at any of them. Now it seems that something might finally happen at the next hearing, on 09/08/2010.

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Undue Process of Law

Through my recent experiences with the police and the criminal justice system I have reached some disturbing realizations about the institutional dynamics of the criminal justice system. Rather than mete out justice, it seems to often serve as a mechanism of retaliation for corrupt police officers against those they dislike. Rather than assign punishment to the guilty, it serves as a form of punishment in itself to many people who end up caught in it.

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Letter to John Hook at radio station KTAR in Phoenix Arizona

I was given a link to a recording from a radio show on KTAR in Phoenix Arizona in which the host, John Hook, expressed some typical misconceptions and offensive attitudes about cycling. The recording was posted by the Southwest Bicycles Cycling Club (SWBCC) along with a letter that the Club had sent to KTAR at <valleyvoices@ktar.com> in response to this segment. I combined parts from my letter to Maureen , who commented on my entry The Third Hadley Encounter: Relapse, with parts from my letter to Umbra Fisk to create the letter below, which I sent to John Hook at <valleyvoices@ktar.com> and copied to the Southwest Bicycles Cycling Club at <Info@SWBCC.org>.

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Editorial Policy

I have been accused of suppressing comments that express opinions that are contrary to mine. These accusations are false. To clarify my policy, I approve all comments except for spam and personal attacks, regardless of the opinions they express. I suppress comments that include spam or personal attacks, regardless of whether I sympathize with the attacker. I do insist that discussions remain civil and rational and I suppress all and only those comments that fail to be civil and rational.

Some people do not understand or appreciate the difference between a civil, rational argument and verbal abuse. This is unfortunate because the distinction is crucial to a healthy and peaceful society. The best rule of thumb I can offer to these people is this. Imagine that we are college students engaged in a classroom discussion and imagine that what you type you are saying out loud in this discussion. Ask yourself if what you intend to say would be appropriate in this imagined scenerio.

Letter to Umbra Fisk, host of Ask Umbra on GristTV

Umbra Fisk writes the advice column Ask Umbra for Grist magazine and hosts the associated video podcast Ask Umbra for GristTV. The magazine, based in Seattle, is focused on environmental news and, through her column and podcast, Umbra Fisk gives tips for people on reducing their environmental impact.

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The Arraignment

On the morning of 04/27/2010 I went to the courthouse in Belchertown, as summoned, to be arraigned on charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful wiretapping. Naturally, I was extremely nervous and it was much more educational than I would have liked but the outcome was quite good, due in large part to the help I received from a number of people.

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Delays in Comments being Posted

I just discovered that, while many comments on my blog were posted automatically, some were flagged by the server and not posted. I have gone through all of the flagged comments and approved those that were not spam or personal attacks. I apologize to those of you whose comments were delayed in being posted. I will be sure to check for flagged comments regularly from now on.

Response to Racerx's Comment

This is a response to the following comment made by Racerx on my post The Third Hadley Encounter: Relapse,
A Hadley cop is messing with me now, a charge of something like Corruption, and he is flat out fabricating words that he attributes to me. Is there a website or a group anywhere that is a watchdog on this corruption of Democracy?
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Charged with Disorderly Conduct and Unlawful Wiretapping

Stemming from the encounter on Saturday, 03/20/2010, with three Hadley police officers, during which I was given a traffic ticket, my camera was seized, and the threat of arrest was renewed, I found a notice in my mailbox on Thursday, 04/01/2010, summoning me to the courthouse in Belchertown on Tuesday, 04/27/2010, to be arraigned on charges of disorderly conduct (M.G.L., c. 272 §53) and unlawful wiretapping (M.G.L., c. 272 §99). A few observations on the summons:

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Letter to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood

After reading the recent article in Wired magazine, I was inspired to send the following letter to Ray LaHood, the United States secretary of transportation.
Dear Secretary LaHood:

I recently read an article from Wired magazine that talked about how you recently made a declaration that you had committed your department to ensuring that travel on foot and by bicycle be treated as legitimate and valuable and that pedestrians and cyclists be given equal access to the roads. As someone who cycles as a primary mode of transportation I, as well as a cycling educator and advocate, I share these goals and values. However, my enthusiasm at reading about your declaration was constrained by my concern that you misunderstood the barriers to cycling and that your misunderstanding will lead to policies and actions that undermine the goal enabling people to do more their traveling by bicycle.

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Response to Maureen's Comment

Dear Maureen:

I thank you for participating in this discussion with me. This opportunity to engage in a civil and rational argument is extremely refreshing. Brandon already expressed some of my thoughts (Thank you, Brandon.) but I put a lot of effort into writing this response so I will leave it complete, even if redundant. Including the links, there is a lot of material here and I hope you have the patience to look at it all. However, I urge you to watch the two short videos at the links below. For the benefit of other readers I am including your most recent comment on my post The Third Hadley Encounter: Relapse, which this letter is in response to.

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Comments on AASHTO Draft

I have set up this page for the purpose of collecting comments on the draft of the AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Bicycle Facilities since Google Groups is not letting me set up a page on the bicycledriving group.

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The Third Hadley Encounter: Relapse

On Saturday, 03/20/2010, at about 10:45AM, I was traveling Weston Route 9 in Hadley, just East of Bay Road, when I heard a siren behind me. I had been recording video of my trip with camera attached to the side of my helmet. I looked back, saw a police patrol car, and pulled over. Mitchell Kuc, whose name I found out is pronounced like"cook", emerged from the patrol car. Due to imperfect memory some events might be out of order in my recounting of the encounter.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Bicycle Driving

I wrote this in collaboration with other members of the the bicycle driving email discussion group.

Questions

  1. What is bicycle driving? Why do you call it "bicycle driving"?
  2. Why would you want to drive a bicycle rather than ride a bicycle in some other manner?
  3. Isn't it dangerous to ride a bicycle in traffic? Won't I get hit by a car?
  4. Isn't it safer to stay out of the way of cars as much as possible?
  5. Bicycledriving might be okay where you live but it would never work around here. The other drivers are crazy and drive too fast.
  6. Bicycle driving might be okay for a skilled athlete like you but I could never do it.
  7. Your arguments in favor of bicycle driving make sense in principle but the notion terrifies me nonetheless.
  8. Is bicycle driving legal?
  9. Is bicycle driving the same thing as obeying the law?
  10. Are you opposed to all bicycling that is not bicycle driving?
  11. Are you saying that I should ride my bike just like I would drive a car?
  12. Are you saying that bicycle drivers should always drive in the middle of the lane? What is an appropriate position for a bicycle driver to takeon the road?
  13. Is road positioning for bicycle drivers as important as it is for motorcycle drivers?
  14. Does riding on a shoulder count as bicycle driving?
  15. Does riding in a bike lane count as bicycle driving?
  16. Are you opposed to bike lanes?
  17. Shouldn't we support bike lanes because they help promote bicycling?
  18. Are you opposed to bike paths/trails?
  19. How can I promote bicycling in a manner that is consistent with bicycle driving?
  20. Where can I learn more about bicycle driving?

Questions and Answers

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Cyclists and Motorist: Same Roads, Same Rules, Same Responsibilities

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Dear Captain Gundersen:

I had hoped to talk to you in person but I supposed you have enough to deal with already so I will just send you what I have. I would like to address the pamphlet “Cyclists and Motorists: Same Roads, Same Rules, Same Responsibilities”, which came to my attention a few weeks ago. As I mentioned during our short phone conversation, I am a cycling instructor, certified by the League of American Bicyclists. The mantra of the League's cycling education program is: “Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles.” I attempt to teach cyclists that they can travel with astounding safety, reliability, efficiency, flexibility, and freedom by assertively following the Rules of the Road. I believe that the idea of this pamphlet has great potential for educating both cyclists and motorists about the Rules of the Road and I congratulate you on having initiated it.

I would like to share some ideas with you that I believe can bring the pamphlet much closer achieving its full potential. I have attached my comments on the current version of the pamphlet and a sample revision of the pamphlet that implements many of my suggestions. I hope that you will consider my suggestions. I also hope that you will continue to consult me on this project. I believe that I can be helpful not only in refining the design but also in distributing the pamphlet once it reaches a sufficient level of refinement.

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Bicycle Top Tube Mounting Bracket

Problem
: Wavering headlight beam
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As you ride a bicycle, you must constantly turn the handlebar back and forth to maintain balance. If you mount a headlight on the handlebar (the typical place to mount it) then the beam of the headlight will waver. The unsteady beam makes objects you approach less noticeable and makes you less conspicuous to drivers approaching from the front and sides. If you mount a video camera on the handlebar the camera image will waver as well.

Solution: Mount the headlight (or video camera) on a bracket that is rigidly attached to the bicycle's top tube.

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Eli's Rules of (Email) Order

Recipients

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Subject Lines

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Special Formatting

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Temporal References

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Links

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Quoting

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Attachments

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Proofreading

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The Right to be Naked

This note was inspired by the piece The Right to be Naked (08/08/2009) (alternate link) on the radio show The State We're In (podcast) produced by Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

This is an aspect of the broader issue of whether it is acceptable to restrict people's liberties because certain acts make a large number of people uncomfortable or offended. My answer is emphatically "No." Here are my thoughts:

I feel uncomfortable around people when either I am or they are naked (unless I am or I anticipate having sex with them). I consider this a weakness in my character. If I encountered naked people more often, I would probably overcome my discomfort.

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Requirements for a Religion to be Legitimate

  • It must tolerate any question or challenge to its legitimacy and must not dictate suppressing such questions and challenges.
  • It must encourage everyone to learn its entire nature and must not dictate that any of its nature be kept secret or revealed only at the discretion of a ministerial authority.
  • It must only declare metaphysical entities that are both self-consistent and consistent with all observed facts.
  • It must allow for the possibility of being practiced by everyone for a time period of arbitrary duration.
  • It must not dictate the extinction of its followers.
  • It must be independent of any particular residential region, religious community, or ministerial leader.
  • It must not grant any special rights or obligations to its ministers.
  • It must grant all people the same opportunity to practice and minister.
  • It must accept those who practice other religions and those who do not practice any religion and grant them the same status and the same rights and obligations as it grants its own followers.
  • It must make it a major goal of its teachings to maximize peace and minimize suffering throughout the world.
  • It must praise compassion, generosity, and honesty and condemn hatred, greed, and dishonesty in some manner.
  • It must allow its followers to be concerned with their own health and happiness.
  • It must only dictate ritual practices that are sufficiently flexible that they can be adapted so as to be appropriate and meaningful under the circumstances of its followers.
  • It must only dictate moral obligations that are in accord with the subtlety and complexity of human nature and social interactions and must allow conflicts between different moral principles to be resolved in a balanced manner that takes into account the details specific to each situation.

The Right to Travel

I sent some letters to Radio Netherlands Worldwide concerning the right to travel as a possible topic for their show The State We're In (podcast), and received responses from editor Greg Kelly and content coordinator Michele Ernsting. Unfortunately, they have not followed up on the issue despite the interest they expressed. The two episodes of the show mentioned are "The Right to Freedom of Movement" (01/10/2009) (alternate link) and "The Right to Bike" (08/01/2009) (alternate link). The second of these episodes has a discussion page. I have inserted some content, highlighted in blue. I have made minor correction and added formatting and hyperlinks without comment.

Eli

Hello.

A human right that concerns me deeply is the right to travel freely. I believe that you have already discussed this in some aspects. For example, I remember you discussing the severe travel restrictions imposed by Israel on Palestinians. While I feel complete sympathy for the Palestinians and complete indignation at their treatment, I think that you should also consider how the right to travel is restricted in the United States.

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Bound with Options

"Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker." - character Jules from the movie Pulp Fiction

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Other Comments from the Facebook Note "my legal troubles".

I originally posted my saga in a note on my Facebook profile titled "my legal troubles". I included many of the comments that were made on the note in Questions and Answers on Vecular Cycling / Bicycle Driving. I thought that some of the other comments were valuable enough to be worth preserving so I have included those comments here.

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Advice for Cyclists when Stopped by the Police

League Cycling Instructor Keri Caffrey contacted me and we had the following exchange. I have made a few changes to my part of the exchange for the benefit of other readers.

Keri

Eli,

I'm contemplating a post on the effect of cultural bias on law enforcement, cyclists who have been victims of this and strategies for dealing with improper demands from officers.

Is your story published online where I can link to it?

Do you have any advice or observations from your experience to help other cyclists?

I'm also using ChipSeal's story (link attached if you haven't seen it yet)

Thanks
Keri
The story of Chip Seal that Keri refers to can be found at <http://chipsea.blogspot.com/2010/01/while-minding-my-own-business.html>

Eli

Hi Keri. What I have written is in my Facebook note "my legal troubles". The pages of the police report that it refers to are in my Photos section. I assume you want a link to a generally accessible location so I uploaded it to the BicycleDriving discussion group's Files section. Go to <http://groups.google.com/group/bicycledriving/files> and then select "The Eli Damon Saga.txt".

As for advice, I will be able to offer more advice once this thing is resolved but, for now, this is what I can offer.

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