Of Blog Posts That Begin with ‘Of’

OK, so I have been riding a bicycle as basic transportation (which means every day there is not ice or snow) in Springfield for nine years. And I swear the number of bicyclists just keeps growing. There is almost never a moment these days, while riding in the urban core, that I do not see two or three other bicyclists always in view.

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So take a look at this picture. That’s the city rack near the Patton Alley Pub. I was there for happy hour yesterday. You don’t see my bicycle there, do you? I had to park a block away. A whole freaking block! Away! From the bar! I mean, geeeez! What the hell is going on? Who are all these people?

Note: Here’s proof from KSPR that I was indeed drinking beer yesterday. Although they failed to adequately explain the kind of “driving” I was doing ;-)

A-hem, well, OK, yeah, I am happy to see all these bicycles even if I have to park farther from the beer. And despite my protestations to the (nuanced) contrary, I am happy to see more people riding bicycles — I’m simply not willing to do anything (e.g. put novices in danger) to achieve this.

So I guess what I’m saying is: I was kinda happy to ride another block then walk another block because so many people had parked at this rack.

In case you’re wondering what the headline is all about — read my last two headlines :-)

 

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Comments 18

  1. Khal Spencer wrote:

    two beers is also my limit when I am out away from home.

    Posted 15 May 2013 at 5:17 pm
  2. Andy Cline wrote:

    Khal … Oh, yeah. You can kill yourself on a bicycle after drinking too much as easily as you can driving a car under the influence.

    Posted 15 May 2013 at 5:19 pm
  3. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    I like the odd beer (or six), but I have become much more strict with my alcohol use since becoming a dad. In my 20s and 30s I used to drink and then ride home. Now if I start drinking, it’s only after I’m sure I’m not going to be on the road at all for the remainder of the day.

    Posted 15 May 2013 at 6:09 pm
  4. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Agreed. But rarely pulled over.

    Back in graduate school, I once was at a party at another grad student house. Had way more than was safe or legal. Halfway home, I became aware of my surroundings and realized that I had been riding my bicycle down the wrong side of a four lane 55 mph highway, NY 347 on Long Island. Fortunately, it was 4 a.m. and no one else was on the road. I think that is as close as I have ever come to voluntarily killing myself on a bicycle. Scared the crap out of me.

    Posted 15 May 2013 at 6:14 pm
  5. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    My only drinking and driving story happened to my best friend in the UK back in ’89. He was driving and I was a passenger and he got pulled over by a police officer. Officer asked him how many he’d had, my friend said “One or two”, officer breathalyzed him, looked at the bag, said “More like 10 or 12″ and arrested him.

    His first offense, my friend was fined 400 pounds, his license was revoked and he was banned from driving for a year. That would never happen in the US. Here in Maryland, a first offense ‘may’ get you an ignition interlock – that’s it. 2nd offense gets you jail time and a third offense ‘may’ get you a one year license suspension.

    If it were up to me, a first DUI offense would come with a lifetime driving ban. End of story.

    In my opinion, drivers here get away with murder, both figuratively and literally.

    Posted 15 May 2013 at 6:33 pm
  6. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Here in NM, stiff penalties may not make a difference. So many of the DWI arrests are the tenth time someone has been busted. Usually, they are driving without a license, it having been revoked. I think the harsh reality is that to get these zeroes off the road, we need a Three Stikes Yer Out law that applies to convicted DWIs. Harsh? Maybe. But these losers kill people as effectively as armed robbers.

    Posted 15 May 2013 at 8:05 pm
  7. Khal Spencer wrote:

    The point being, a lifetime ban is worthless since they drive with or without a license. One needs to put them away for a long time for the sake of the rest of us.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/us/new-mexico-alcohol-sales-dwi-convicts.html?_r=0

    Posted 15 May 2013 at 8:08 pm
  8. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    I agree. But a lifetime ban is effective if you back it up with serious jail time if they’re caught driving again.

    Posted 16 May 2013 at 1:57 am
  9. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Serious jail time is an option. With some of these folks, I wonder if they consider jail to be a good way to get a cot and three squares.

    Posted 16 May 2013 at 10:50 am
  10. Kevin Love wrote:

    I count a not-so-whopping total of six parked bikes. Looks like there needs to be more parking.

    There seems to be plenty of space available. Re purposing the area in the background currently occupied by a cancer machine is certainly one option.

    Posted 16 May 2013 at 11:34 pm
  11. Khal Spencer wrote:

    In our new City Hall, there is yet another Nimitz Class aircraft carrier size parking lot and a few bike parking spaces thrown in as sop. BFD; am I impressed or not?

    Posted 17 May 2013 at 7:15 am
  12. Andy Cline wrote:

    Kevin… Springfield has many bicycle parking areas such as this one scattered throughout downtown. Plus we have a bicycle corral at the intersection at the heart of downtown. While six might not seem like much, that’s a ton here — also considering that all the other racks have bicycles on them theses days.

    Posted 17 May 2013 at 9:50 am
  13. Michael wrote:

    I’ve enjoyed the last couple posts, especially the one about stasis. I think they sum up a lot of what I’ve been thinking and feeling lately. I’m sick of the politicalization of everything and I just want to ride my bike, eat good locally grown food, drink good locally brewed beer, and have none of this be part of any larger political advocacy or statement.

    Posted 17 May 2013 at 1:15 pm
  14. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    I’m getting sick of the politicization of cycling too – the demonization of folks who are honestly trying to find where the risks are on the road and mitigate them is really starting to make me think that certain advocates (elsewhere, not here) have no decency whatsoever.

    I try to distance myself from some of the worst offenders and the worst websites (naming no names), but somehow I often seem to end up being pulled back in.

    Fortunately, Andy seems to have created an oasis of calm and rational advocacy here, so this is usually where I can come to find some soothing vibes and lowered blood pressure.

    Posted 17 May 2013 at 2:26 pm
  15. Khal Spencer wrote:

    Agree with Ian. Seems to me the League of American Bicyclists is planting itself firmly on the political left. Not that I have anything against the left, where I firmly reside on some issues, but I don’t think bicycling should be hostage to those sorts of politics, at least in today’s toxic D.C. political environment.

    Posted 18 May 2013 at 6:28 am
  16. Kevin Love wrote:

    In Canada, the central government has set .08% as the limit for Criminal Code charges of Impaired Driving.

    At the same time, the Province of Ontario has set .05 to .08 as the “Warn Zone.” Driving is a privilege, not a right. So there is no trial or appeal for suspensions of drivers licences or placing conditions upon driving. Which is exactly what happens to drivers caught in the Warn Zone.

    Ontario police have roadside breath test units which regularly set up roadblocks for spot checks in which all of the drivers are checked 100% for impaired driving.

    While going through the roadblock and being questioned and examined is an inconvenience, drivers are strongly advised not to try to turn around if they see one in the distance. That’s fleeing from police and they can (and do!) search your car and mechanically examine it as well as taking a breath sample to test for impaired driving.

    While not illegal, drivers in the .05 to .08 Warn Zone will have their drivers licence suspended on-the-spot at the roadside by the police officer.

    The duration of the drivers licence suspension is from three days for the first time to 30 days for the third and subsequent times.

    Since the roadside suspension takes effect immediately, the car will be towed away unless there is a passenger legally qualified to take over as driver. This tow is, of course, at the car owner’s expense.

    There is also an administrative fee of $150 to get the driver’s licence back after the suspension is over.

    Third and any subsequent times also require a mandatory medical examination to determine if the driver has medical issues regarding addiction or substance abuse. Failure of the driver to convince the medical doctor that he does not have any psychological or other medical issue means an indefinite suspension of the drivers licence until he can be medically cleared as fit to drive. Good luck with that.

    If the driver can convince the doctor that he does not have a medical or psychological problem with addiction or substance abuse, third time also means a mandatory ignition interlock as a condition of getting the drivers licence back. The cost to the car owner is approximately $1,300.

    Please note that none of these are criminal penalties. Driving is a privilege, not a right. These procedures are all applied automatically and there is no right to a trial or means to hold one.

    If someone believes that the police have treated him unjustly, there is a police complaints procedure.

    The government has printed a handy little chart that may be found here:

    http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/impaired/penalties.shtml

    Posted 18 May 2013 at 10:52 am
  17. Kevin Love wrote:

    Here is another handy fact sheet from the government about the .05 to .08 Warn Zone and what happens to car drivers caught there.

    http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/impaired/fact-sheet.shtml#adls

    Posted 18 May 2013 at 11:34 am
  18. Kevin Love wrote:

    What do you know. I see from today’s newspaper that the Toronto police just handed a three-day driver’s licence suspension to a member of Toronto City Council.

    He was stopped at a roadblock (along with all the other car drivers) and blew into the “Warn” zone of the breathalyzer. Rather embarrassing for this politician.

    Details at:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/2013/05/23/paul_ainslie_roadside_check_leads_to_3day_licence_suspension_for_city_councillor.html

    Posted 23 May 2013 at 10:11 pm