Tuesday, July 7, 2009

More from the San Mateo County Sheriffs Dept

Hat tip to Richard Masoner who pointed to this article in the Woodside Almanac

"It's extremely important that we get people in vehicles doing less and paying attention to what they're doing," he added. "At the same time, it's dangerous to ride (a bicycle) around people who are multi-tasking."

Is Sergeant Denton implying I shouldn't be riding my bicycle in Woodside because of the inattentive multi-taskers? This is crap - it gives more credence to the (presumed) minority that claims that the roads are for cars and cars only - when the drivers of those cars are the creators of the danger.

OK, aside from his poorly worded statement, maybe he's saying that we need to crack down on the inattentive drivers who create dangerous conditions?

The deputies had help on July 1 from police departments in Menlo Park and Redwood City, which contributed two and four motorcycle officers, respectively, Sgt. Denton said. There were more cell phone citations on July 1 because it was a weekday with fewer cyclists out there, he said.

Interesting correllation. The distribution of cellphone citations had nothing to do with how many cellphone using drivers are out there - it had to do with how many cyclsists were out there. Perhaps with less cyclists around, the cops can focus on "lower priority issues" like talking on the cellphone. Of course, cellphone usage causes drivers to be inattentive, which the Sergeant claims is "extremely important" to get people to stop doing.

The year-old honor-the-stop campaign is the work of cyclist, triathlon coach and Daly City resident Marc Evans, who urges cyclists, drivers, equestrians, pedestrians, joggers, and motorcyclists to obey all traffic laws and symbolize that commitment by wearing a red and black wristband.

Evans was prompted to do this in response to the deaths of Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson, who were killed by an inattentive driver. Make that a sleeping driver. Who was also a Santa Clara County Deputy. This happened to them while not in the process of running a stopsign themselves. More appropriate tribute might be "honor your REM sleep". I cannot for the life of me figure out how the death of innocent victims prompts one to scold the victim class instead of at the class causing the mayhem.

If getting hit is inevitable, I might as well lay back and enjoy it.


Yokota Fritz said...

Evans whole "Honor the Stop" campaign is outrageous.

Curtis Corlew said...

I can only hope that you are crazy and missreporting the story. If you are even partly correct we've entered bizararo territory to an extent far beyond the normal levels of stupidity that I live with while cycling most days.

Krisjohn said...

This is an "enforcement blitz" (for want of a better phrase) on a pair of complimentary illegal behaviours that can result in serious injury to cyclists. Inattentiveness on the part of the drivers, and blowing through stop signs on the part of the cyclists.

As a frequent cyclist I'm sick of cyclists crying foul when existing laws are enforced. Just follow the road rules and make sure your bike has all the required safety equipment if you intend to ride on the road. Please.

murphstahoe said...

My problem with Krisjohn's comment - there is rarely if ever an "enforcement blitz" on motorist behavior. When was the last time there was a DUI check in Portola Valley - the intersection of 84 and Canada is home to 4 restaurants with liquor licenses and in walking distance of maybe a dozen homes.

And an "enforcement blitz" on cyclists taking a right at the Alpine/Portola intersection is just sort of silly. That behaviour is not going to result in any injury to anyone. This is the intersection that was involved in the "sting" on the organized century last week. It is at the top of the hill and many of those ticketed were probably approaching that intersection at 5 MPH gasping for breath at the top of the hill. Then, they were reaching for their ID's.

Selective enforcement of laws is part and parcel of a non-martial society. There are many residents of Portola Valley that just flat out do not want cyclists using their roads, period. Since they are wealthy they have marshalled their resources to put cyclists under the microscope, including Redwood City police officers, whose time could be put to much better use preventing real crime in their own jurisdiction.

This solely to intimidate and harrass the cyclists.

Ed W said...

We've had ramped up seat belt and speeding enforcements around Tulsa, usually when there's grant money offered. And we have the same complaints of cyclists running stop signs and being scofflaws. I've never heard a motorist complain about all those other drivers exceeding the speed limit and treating neighborhood stop signs as yields. Odd, isn't it?

You're not alone in seeing those 'blame the victim' posts. A motorist killed two cyclist riding on the shoulder of a roadway recently and the predictable complaints of scofflaw cyclists popped up in the newspaper. But an odd thing happened within a day or two. People began to place the responsibility for those deaths squarely on the motorist. They roundly condemned drunk/drugged driving. And it seems to have developed some staying power. More recent stories about cyclist have brought out much more favorable responses. Sure, there are still some butt-heads, but they'll ALWAYS be butt-heads.

Unknown said...

I would like to clarify some misconceptions about the Honor the Stop program addressed in the article and some of the comments herein:

1) It is NOT accurate to say these institutions “took over the idea”…I’ve spent hundreds of hours in meetings, handing out bands, attending town meetings etc at my own expense, working with the officers (CHP, Sheriff, Police, CalTrans etc) in the field showing them how to pledge, and paying for the wristbands. We have personally pledges a few thousand individuals (cyclist, pedestrians, motorcyclist and mortorists alike). Honor the Stop is for all roadway users.

2) And it was my idea to organize the enforcement scheme which was implemented. It is accurate that I was not informed of the specific date(s), but it was discussed at length a few months ago. The wristbands were donated to sheriff’s office from the Town of Woodside who purchased 5000 bands.

3)The idea for the wristband began a year before Kristy and Matt were killed. There was an article in the San Jose Mercury News about a concept I had be thinking of for some time with regards to the increasing tension among cyclists and motorist. As a coach, I have always required full compliance in obeying the roadways laws. And every client I've worked with knows my insistance on this is not casual. The deaths of Kristy and Matt caused me to take the action of creating Honor the Stop.

4) The Honor the Stop program is a simple message for all roadway users. And unfortunately, many people attempt to categorize the program as anti-cyclist and a power play by the law enforcement agencies. The truth is the Town of Woodside and surrounding areas are a magnet for cyclists of all skill levels. It is however, my goal that everyone who uses the roadways display respect for one another by obeying the roadway laws. Cyclists for a vasy majority do not obey the laws and perhaps, no more or less than motorists, but it is my concern for their safety that I advocate obeying all roadway laws.

I would like to offer to the pelotons for the locat bike clubs, teams and other groups of individuals who do not obey the laws a respectful challenge. That is, STOP and OBEY the laws and I believe we will all eventually find a way to share the roadways with courtesy for all users. The clubs, teams and groups of cyclists who regularly disregard the stop signs are setting a poor example for others and creating a environment whereby mortorist do not know whether you are going to stop or not. If the team, groups, and clubs agree to stop at ALL signs and lights then the not so fast riders will not not so inclinded to run the sign to bridge the gap to the peloton.

Again, Honor the Stop is a simple message and if children who I've pledged "get it" then, perhaps there's a chance adults will too.

I hope people will come together to obey the laws not matter what mode of transportation they use. Honor the Stop is NOT a divisive program, but rather an opportunity for everyone to respectfully share the roadways.

All the best,

Marc Evans

Founder, Honor The Stop

Gardnerville, Nevada

djconnel said...


Please docuement how many people in the greater Bay area have been killed by cyclists who slowed but otherwise failed to come to a complete stop when crossing T intersections such as the one on Canada Road at Jefferson or at Portola and Alpine, both targets of this police action. Or how many have been killed by cyclists riding to the right of the roadway but not in the shoulder, another target. Then document how many have been killed by speeding drivers, drunk drivers, drivers using suspended licenses, drivers talking on cell phones, drivers under the influence of medication and just for fun excessively fatigued drivers falling asleep at the wheel. Now based on your results please make recommendations on how enforecement resources should be allocated to promote the public safety.

I look forward to your results.

JimAtLaw said...

"Cyclists for a vasy [sic] majority do not obey the laws"

Please provide some evidence for this outrageous assertion, or are you just on an anti-bicycle campaign and justifying it with a smear campaign by labeling "the vast majority" of cyclists as scofflaws?

Why not campaign instead against the "vast majority" of motorists who, empirically, do not obey the speed limit? Perhaps because this was never about safety or equal enforcement but instead about taking bicycles off the road?