Bike Safety Paramount
I am a recent victim, luckily uninjured, of a truck-on-bike road rage incident. This letter is a reminder to cyclists about defensive riding and an education for drivers sharing the roads. I also learned what information is needed to enforce the 3-foot bike lane law.
As I biked along a four-lane road, I edged the car lane because the bike lane was uneven and littered with debris. I ride with a rearview mirror and keep as far right as safely possible. The only vehicle behind me, a pickup truck, had taken the far lane.
Typical of cycling any road, my attention was divided between speed, debris, vehicles and obstacles. Without warning, the pickup was in the near lane about to hit me from behind. I instinctively braced for the impact, but it passed within a foot of me. The wind pushed me to the right. A less experienced rider or less room in the bike lane would have meant a crash. There was no reason for the driver to change lanes.
A police officer took my complaint, including a license plate number, but said without more information he could not ticket the driver for a 3-foot lane law violation. I pointed out that getting many details is difficult. He explained this is the reality of enforcing the law. You need:
Incident description, day, location
Vehicle description, license plate number
Driver description, enough to identify in a court of law
Evidence of willful intent, e.g. honking, swerving
I accept cycling’s risks, obey traffic laws and ride defensively. But, many drivers seem to misunderstand how cyclists must ride to maximize safety. Aggressive drivers commit attempted murder when they use their vehicle against a cyclist. Fellow cyclists and drivers ¬¬— report aggressive drivers to the authorities before someone gets killed.
— Brandon Vail, Longmont
Public Not Served At Congresswoman Markey’s Town Hall
I attended Congresswoman Betsy Markey’s Town Hall in Longmont on Thursday, Aug. 20. A line formed at 2 p.m. and grew to at least 200 folks for the 3 o’clock meeting. We were being admitted in small groups to meet with Congresswoman Markey. It was almost 4 p.m. when I got up to the outside door. I saw three senior gentlemen being helped out of the sun and into the building. One of those men had fallen down.
I got into the meeting room a bit after 4 p.m. I could see the remaining folks outside the window and they stayed there for maybe another 30 minutes. I think they all went into a volleyball court after that to wait for the Congresswoman.
Congresswoman Markey took about six questions, one after the other, and finally said she would answer after the next one. She spoke in general terms about the health care/insurance reform plans as she answered the questions, skipping the last one because she “couldn’t read her own handwriting.” She then asked for another set of questions, and this cycle repeated about four times.
It was a very favorable audience for the pure-public plan and single-payer. Everyone was polite. But there was very little give and take, no real dialog.
Congresswoman Markey told us that health care reform will take $2 billion to start up, but after that it will be self-supporting through tier-adjusted premiums based on ability to pay. She said that billions of dollars will be realized through savings in cleaning up Medicare waste and fraud.
The pro-public option questions from my small group left me with the idea that most of these folks do not want hospitals and pharmaceutical companies making profits. They don’t want the drug companies wasting billions on research that will only benefit a few. They strongly feel that insurance company executives are raking off the dollars from their premiums. They want the French or German plan. They want it to be free.
In line while waiting to get in, the one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that we should get away from employee sponsored health care plans.
There are serious questions about the controlling rising cost of individual health insurance premiums, and making allowances for those with pre-existing conditions. But I don’t trust government. Better time would be spent fixing Social Security and recovering those billions on Medicare waste and fraud.
Congresswoman Markey should hold her town hall meetings so that everyone can attend the full session, and answer questions right away and to the point.
— Steve Hutchinson, Berthoud