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Completely Human
177 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Smitty Report

Thou Shalt NOT!…

A few days ago I was working in the front yard, minding my own business, raking up palm fronds and branches knocked down last from the rain storm, when I heard a buzzing in the distance.
The sound was like that of an RC plane and I thought for moment that someone s flying or driving an RC toy. I walked out to the road to see what was going on but before I could get to the curb a cyclist on a steel framed bicycle went blowing by, propelled by a two cycle engine. He blew by quite fast, at least 20 miles an hour, leaving a blue-grey haze stretching for a block behind him. The problem I had with this rider was the fact that he was under power at 20 miles an hour, in the bike lane, going in the wrong direction! That’s right, this guy was flying down the street, and quite a busy street, in the wrong direction! To make matters worse he was weaving in and out of the bike lane to the sidewalk avoiding on coming cars and he was performing these maneuvers against traffic and common sense without a helmet. I just shook my head and went back to work.

I make a trip to the grocery store twice a week on my bicycle. This trip is something I look forward to and it helps keep my Fiancé and me in shape and gives us time together pursuing something we both love to do (bicycling not eating). Three times now while pedaling to the store we have literally been run off the road by a guy on a three wheel bicycle that is propelled by a two cycle engine. Each time we were forced off the pathway as he rode straight down the center of the bike path refusing to yield, I mean this guy simply will not budge. I told my Fiancé that the next time I encounter this guy I am gonna park my bike straddling the path to force HIM off the road I mean why should a human powered cyclist be forced into the underbrush in deference to an three wheeler with a gas engine? Seems kind of “bassackwards” to me!

My Fiancé and I also practice alternative parking when we are forced to go into town to shop or pay bills. We intentionally park our car in the center of multiple destinations and walk to all the destinations from that parking spot. We have found that we seldom walk more than a quarter mile to any one destination and usually can get a nice, safe walk of a mile or two by practicing this “alternative”. We also park in the farthest available spot when visiting the mall or any individual shop and walk to the door. In the past few months my Fiancé and I have been pushed off the road by, you guessed it, motorized bicycles belching blue smoke. Often time these riders just zoom past us with less than a foot or two to spare at 20 miles an hour or more, on the sidewalk! One evening while walking from the book store to the drugstore a “pack” of motorized riders blew by us so fast and so suddenly that my girl and I were forced to actually step into the street to avoid harm. The riders flew by so fast that a wind blew our hair around and I yelled, “SLOW DOWN” to which I received the customary "driving finger" display from three of the riders.

Now don’t get me wrong I have no problems with motorized bicycles, in fact I am building an electric “pusher” trailer even now, but I do have a problem with arrogance and ignorance. In the state of Florida it is illegal to operate a “motorized vehicle” on a sidewalk or bike path, in fact the law states,

“(Section 316.2065(10) and (11), F.S.)

A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

Comment: Sidewalks are not designed for bicycle speeds, but a bicycle propelled by human power may be used except where prohibited by local ordinance (e.g. in the central business districts of many cities). No bicycle may be propelled by other than human power on a sidewalk. Although a cyclist riding on a sidewalk has the rights and duties of a pedestrian, he is still a "bicycle rider" and his bicycle is still a "bicycle". Consequently, laws that pertain to required equipment and to carriage of passengers (see above) are still applicable.

Since a cyclist riding on a sidewalk does not have the duties (or rights) of a driver, he may ride in either direction. (However, it is safer to ride in the direction of traffic, since drivers do not expect cyclists to come from the other direction at driveways and crosswalks. Crash risk is 3 to 4 times as great for sidewalk riders who ride facing roadway traffic as for sidewalk riders who ride in the direction of traffic.)

At a signalized intersection, a sidewalk rider must obey the instructions of any applicable pedestrian control signal. That is, he may start to cross a roadway in a crosswalk only during a steady Walk phase, if one is displayed. If no pedestrian signal is provided, the cyclist may proceed in accordance with the signal indications for the parallel roadway traffic flow (Section 316.075, F.S.).

A person propelling a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian”

“ No person shall drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway. (Section 316.1995, F.S.)”

And there is quite literally NO law in the world required to make a reasonable and prudent person understand the complete lunacy of riding in the street against traffic!

The recent availability of cheap electric, two and four cycle power plants for retrofitting to a bicycle has been a boon to economical local transportation, but this boon has come with unintended consequences. The unintentional effects come from people not educating themselves as to the laws involved with any modification of their bicycle to a semi-motor powered device. These laws and ordinances are put in place to maintain safe and injury free use of public resources for every user.

In the real world it is very simple to understand that a vehicles traveling at speeds in excess of 15 miles an hour is extremely dangerous to pedestrians, hell even vehicle traveling at speeds under 15 miles an hour are dangerous but a bicycle flying along at 20 miles an hour or faster with a 180 pound rider and 50 pounds of equipment is potentially deadly. As if this velocity and mass were not enough, a collision with another rider in the opposing direction, traveling at 10 to 15 miles an hour, now takes us into the category of being hit by a small car traveling in excess of 30 miles an hour! Not many bodies can survive this type of collision unprotected.

I know this essay is just a rant but I really cannot stress enough the need for every rider to familiarize themselves with local and state regulations concerning the operation of bicycles and motorized bicycles. What is even of more importance is the need to familiarize yourself with the physics involved in any potential crash.

As our economy and oil supplies force us to find more and more economical choices for local transportation we will see many more motorized cyclists on the road. As bicyclists it is all of our responsibilities to know the law and to educate each other about the law, what is more it is important to employ as much common sense as we can muster when riding and navigating our streets, paths and walkways, if not only to avoid injury to others and ourselves.

The consequences of not following the law and causing personal injury or damage are obvious but the possible legislative reactions are not so obvious. Should people continue to act so recklessly and cause personal injury and damage with motorized bicycles the next logical and prudent step for lawmakers would be to require registration and vehicular insurance for all vehicle operators in order to control and curtail injuries and damage, and NONE of us want that.

This means that we must speak up when we see other cyclist being careless and even more so when another cyclist places him / her self or others in danger. This also means that we should endeavor to report the most dangerous activity and attempt to correct it.

Please read and understand your local ordinances and laws regarding motorized bicycling BEFORE you get on the road with yours and ALWAYS use common sense when operating bicycles, motorized or not.

13 Posts
Be patient and bide your time. These nitwits will inevitably incapacitate their respective machines, hopefully not incurring death or serious injury to themselves or others. But hopefully just enough to turn on the "light bulb".

DX's Biggest Member
793 Posts
Next time you and the fiance' ride that way and encounter Mr. Three-Wheeler, string some fishline between your seat clamps -- it'll snap before you get pulled off your line if you just lightly attach it, but it will get Stupid's attention!

I just love to screw with stupid people... their lack of comprehension makes it 2x the fun.
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