Who knows the rules of the road?

Motorists don’t understand the laws

The Oakland Press ran an article on Keith Riege, owner of the Paint Creek Bicycles in Lake Orion. The Oakland Press’ focus on bicycle safety certainly isn’t going to help bike sales. The words “death”, “killed”, and “hit” appear a total of 14 times.

“People drive by, yell, swing their car door open, throw bottles or come up right behind you, put their car in neutral and gun their engine to scare you,” said Riege. “People don’t think bikes should be in the road at all.”

Riege said he rides on the side of the road because all of his near-death experiences have occurred on sidewalks.

“I was almost killed last summer. I got to the entrance of the senior center, and I went to go across the sidewalk. A car turned right in. How could they not see me? They were traveling the same direction I was,” he said. “My life flashed before my eyes, and the vehicle just kept going.”

Riege said, when he talks to anybody who rides a bike on a regular basis, “most everyone has been hit.”

Bill Gilboe, a mechanic at Paint Creek Bicycles, said he has been hit about seven times while riding his bicycle.

This article inaccurately paints cycling as a great way to get hit, if not killed.

Bicyclists don’t follow the laws

The Detroit News printed a half-baked letter to the editor on bicycles.

I agree with the bumper stickers I saw last year, depicting cars and bicycles that said: “Same road, same rules.”

Yes, they are the same rules. Under Michigan law, use of a vehicle negates the “pedestrian” right of way. In other words, if you choose to ride a bike in the road, you have to obey the rules of the road. Such rules are seldom followed by anyone other than the “professional” bike riders (the ones with reflectors, helmets and even electronic signals), and I’ve never seen the laws enforced by police.

Huh? Bicycles are not vehicles in Michigan. Bicycles are not pedestrians.  And bicyclists “seldom” follow the rules other than professionals with electronic signals? Really!

And please, can we stop using those incorrect “same roads” bumper stickers from the out-dated vehicular cycling movement?

From turn signaling to vulnerable user legislation, we want different rules. Rules that make bicycling more efficient and safe. We want to see the Idaho rolling stop law in Michigan as well, which Mia Birk recently wrote about. It’s time for new stickers.

American’s don’t know the rules of the road

According to a CNN Money report:

More than one in five Americans — some 36.9 million — are not fit to drive and would fail a driving test if asked to take one today, according to a new survey of the nation’s drivers.

According to GMAC Insurance, which conducted the survey, the results mean that a great number of people on the road still lack basic driving knowledge, an ignorance that leads to dangerous driving habits.

For example, a full 85% of those surveyed could not identify the correct action to take when approaching a steady yellow traffic light.

Michigan ranked 20th among states with an average of 78.3% correct answers, just a slight bit higher than the 77.9% national average.

If this survey is accurate, why are twenty-some percent of Michigan drivers still on the road? Is GMAC Insurance denying coverage to this failing group?

Or is real life more like the “Mayhem” commercials from Allstate Insurance where you can drive distracted, make poor decisions, and if you crash, the other policy holders have you covered.

Google knows the rules of the road

Google is continuing their research on self-driving cars. They are lobbying for legislation in Nevada to make self-driving cars legal.

While the concept sounds scary at first, imagine cars that didn’t speed or run you off the road? With Google’s vow to do no evil, this might not be a bad idea.

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One Response to “Who knows the rules of the road?”

  1. Dave Says:

    Impact of Article

    While this isn’t exactly a widely circulated periodical, so I’m not overly concerned with this article having a wide impact on the overall perception and opinions of riding a bicycle, more so in the road, I also question just how representative these accounts are of cycling are on average, throughout Metro Detroit.

    Other Points On the Article

    “People are afraid for their safety. The amount of people getting killed is starting to get scary. It shouldn’t be something you read about every month.” I’d like to know where people are getting killed, and other statistics as well:

    -What were the lighting conditions?

    -Was there alcohol involved in these accidents by the driver/cyclist? (for example, why is it that “it’s not known if alcohol was a factor in the accident” I’m not well informed on this field, but can’t they do a simple analysis? I doubt they do an autopsy in an accident like this, and maybe trying to verify if alcohol was in one’s system was not obtainable for whatever reason. Maybe the death wasn’t instant and the alcohol was out of their system by the time they deceased after trying to save their life.

    -Which direction was the bicyclist traveling in regards to traffic flow?

    -Where was the cyclist riding? On the street? The sidewalk? A bike lane?

    oMy best guess is none of these accidents have occurred on bike lanes.

    Even this article doesn’t give that many details. It doesn’t say where either cyclist was riding their bike with a great amount of certainty.

    “Eric didn’t get hit in a crosswalk. I’m assuming he went blasting across the street and didn’t see the police officer.”

    The street or the sidewalk? And this is supposed to be an article on safety, that even mentions the laws of riding. Why is it that he is “assuming he went blasting across the street”? What is that supposed to mean?

    I’m also just being skeptical here, but what is there lose, and to gain, depending on who is mostly at fault, as far as the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is concerned given that there was an officer involved, who is an employee of a city?

    Also, is there a bias when investigating a crash that has involved a bicycle and a car, placing less value or emphasis on it, in terms of investigation and/or sentencing? Or is it that it’s harder to investigate a car-bicycle crash? The article doesn’t mention who had the green light.

    I also agree that as a motorist, there is almost a sense of urgency. I don’t like driving. But I get a little ancy, almost as if being in something that moves fast, starts to create expectations that I’ll continue moving at a relatively fast rate, especially in regards to the speed limit when it’s under 55. Fifty-five and over, I keep it at the minimum, around 55-65, as I’ve read that is a more fuel-efficient speed.

    And a bit of extra info, FYI (based on what I’ve read–http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/drivehabits.shtml), those people whizzing by at 70-80 MPH are saving time, but wasting gas. Being spread out is definitely a contributing factor as well, having to travel longer distances, and stop at signs and lights.

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