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  1. #1
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    Please edit my "letter to the editor"

    Hi everyone, I've been told too many times by the guards that I need to walk my bike off the base, and then magically try to re-join perpendicular traffic from the sidewalk. The guards are just doing their job, it's the base instruction on bicycle operation that is the problem (which the guards are unfortunately familiar with). Will you take a look at my letter and help me make it as effective as possible? Keep in mind it needs to be short! Thanks,
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    There are two rules in CFAY Instruction 5800.9K that seriously jeopardize the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. First, the instruction states, “bicyclists shall walk bikes through Gridley Tunnel, and when entering and/or leaving the base.” When leaving the base, it is neither legal nor safe to re-enter the road from the sidewalk. The only legal and safe way to enter the road is by starting from an already established lane, such as the lane used by vehicles leaving the base. Additionally, many bicyclists wear shoes that are not suitable for walking even a short distance on the sidewalk. This could lead to a slip or fall, which could cut and bruise a nearby pedestrian.
    Second, the instruction states, “bicyclists shall not exceed 30 kph at any time.” When a bicyclist is not allowed to travel at the same speed as cars, it encourages drivers to pass the bicyclist. Many drivers are too impatient to wait for a safe time to pass a bicyclist traveling under the speed limit. Every passing maneuver is a chance for an accident to occur.
    Throughout Japan and the US (except on prohibited expressways), a bicyclist is treated as a motor vehicle. Why is this not the same on the base?
    Steve

  2. #2
    Senior Member LCI_Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sestivers
    Second, the instruction states, “bicyclists shall not exceed 30 kph at any time.” When a bicyclist is not allowed to travel at the same speed as cars, it encourages drivers to pass the bicyclist. Many drivers are too impatient to wait for a safe time to pass a bicyclist traveling under the speed limit. Every passing maneuver is a chance for an accident to occur.
    Maybe you could instead mention that there is no compelling reason why a bicycle speed limit should be set lower than the speed limit for the roadway.

  3. #3
    Senior Member va_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sestivers
    Additionally, many bicyclists wear shoes that are not suitable for walking even a short distance on the sidewalk. This could lead to a slip or fall, which could cut and bruise a nearby pedestrian.
    I think the danger to the shoe wearer is greater than to nearby pedestrians. You might emphasize that cleated shoes are considered by many to be a necessary piece of cycling equipment -- the way it's currently worded it sounds more like a fashion choice.

  4. #4
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! I'll give this a day or two, then publish the final product.
    Steve

  5. #5
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Is the base a joint JDF and US base and which US service controls the base? A JDF connection may have contributed to the bad rules.

    I would recommend checking the Base Safety Office and find out when the Traffic Safety committee meets. Make a presentation to them (does not have to be a big production). Show your clipless shoes and if you can get a few sizes from other cyclist, let the committee members try and walk in them. Explain your positions and hand out a point paper.

    Offer your services through your command to sit on the base Traffic Safety committee as the knowledgeable bicycling member.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    - even better:

    find the regs/directive, then submit a revision of pertinent sections so no one has to do any work... don't forget the promulgation directive, cover letter, or memo, along with distribution!

    :-)

  7. #7
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    Here's what I submitted, I left out the part about the speed since I've never been stopped for speeding. I'll be looking into presenting a cyclists perspective at the traffic council or whatever they have.

    CFAY Instruction 5800.9K seriously jeopardizes the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. Specifically, the instruction states, “bicyclists shall walk bikes ... when ... leaving the base.” It is neither legal nor safe for a bicyclist to enter Route 16 from the sidewalk. The only legal and safe way to enter Rt 16 is by starting from the vehicle exit lane and utilizing the traffic light. Additionally, many bicyclists wear shoes specifically designed for cycling that are not suitable for walking even a short distance on the sidewalk. This could lead to a slip or fall, which could cut and bruise a nearby pedestrian.
    Throughout Japan and the US (except on prohibited expressways), a bicyclist is treated as a motor vehicle. Why is this not the same in the vicinity of the gates on the base?
    Steve

  8. #8
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    Devil's advocate time....
    Quote Originally Posted by sestivers
    When leaving the base, it is neither legal nor safe to re-enter the road from the sidewalk. The only legal and safe way to enter the road is by starting from an already established lane, such as the lane used by vehicles leaving the base.
    Maybe it's illegal to enter the road except off another road. But you shouldn't tell that to anyone who has a driveway! How are you supposed to get on the road in the first place? Duh...

    Safety-wise, that's argument's a wash. How do you enter the road? Well, you:
    1) walk to the edge of the sidewalk.
    2) place bike in road (not any more dangerous than simply coming to a stop)
    3) Mount bike
    4) Wait for suitable gap in traffic
    5) ride bike

    If you were really law abiding you could probably only enter the road at a crosswalk (or a driveway, perhaps)

    I know you know that. You know you know that. What you REALLY mean to say is "I don't _like_ doing taht" or "that isn't what I'm used to doing" or "that's slow" or something else. But calling it a pure safety issue is a tad silly.

    Quote Originally Posted by sestivers
    Additionally, many bicyclists wear shoes that are not suitable for walking even a short distance on the sidewalk. This could lead to a slip or fall, which could cut and bruise a nearby pedestrian.
    Well, I don't. I use MB shoes. Seems to me that you can't expect others to arrange THEIR world for you just because YOU choose to buy shoes that you can't walk in. It's not as if they're saying "please only use bicycles that can be carried up ladders".... expecting you to be able to walk without injury is pretty normal, don't you think?

    Solution:
    1) buy MB shoes
    2) buy commuter shoes (like sneakers)
    3) ride platform pedals
    4) change shoes next to the road.

    See? You can solve your problems on your own!

    Quote Originally Posted by sestivers
    Second, the instruction states, “bicyclists shall not exceed 30 kph at any time.” When a bicyclist is not allowed to travel at the same speed as cars, it encourages drivers to pass the bicyclist. Many drivers are too impatient to wait for a safe time to pass a bicyclist traveling under the speed limit. Every passing maneuver is a chance for an accident to occur.
    Well, you can go as fast as you want off base, of course. Can you really not guess even one possible explanatio nfor this? here's one. Hell, here's more than one:
    1) Bikes are 'expected' on normal open roads. They are not expected in a military base, so they need to be going more slowly to be seen and reacted to.
    2) it is far easier to pass a slower vehicle than one going a speed similar to yours. Passing slower vehicles is safer for all concerned: less time in the opposing lane means less likelihood of running you off the road in terror. Nothing's harder than wanting to pass a moped giong 27mph in a 35 mph zone where you don't have lots of room. Which leads to...
    3) lots of traffic on the base is probably more important than you and your bike. Judging from your letter, i'm guessing you're not the type of cyclist to say 'hey, there are 5 cars behind me; better hit the shoilder and let them move on' (if I am, i apologize). Which is to say, you're getting passed for good reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by sestivers
    Throughout Japan and the US (except on prohibited expressways), a bicyclist is treated as a motor vehicle. Why is this not the same on the base?
    Probably because throughout Japan and the US--at least as far as I know--there aren't tanks on the road, for example. It's not military property off base (liability is different). And so on. You can see the difference, I hope.

  9. #9
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    I agree with most of your comments. You're right that for the most part, these rules are a pain in my ass and I don't want to comply with them because of that. However, I'll point out some differences in opinion.

    1. This is Japan. There is never a break in traffic, and the traffic on the road I'm talking about is usually traveling 25-35 mph. I can't merge with that volume of cars traveling at that speed without the benefit of a shoulder. If I waited for a traffic light to have a gap, I would be contending with the traffic crossing the intersection. I could use crosswalks, but due to the layout (there is no such thing as civil engineering here) I would have to cross three crosswalks to use the method you suggested. It's a bigger PITA than I think is reasonable.

    2. No issues with the shoe comments. It just wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for issue #1.

    3. I took out the comment about the speed limit. First, most of the bicycles cannot even attain 30 kph. Additionally, there is always room to pass and bicycles here never hold up traffic. I just wanted to put out some advocacy for motorists to consider when passing bicycles. Unfortunately, almost all the Japanese people and the less skilled bicyclists ride on the sidewalk and drivers get the idea that it is okay for them to do that. Lastly, the highest speed limit on the base is 40 kph. Most places are 25 kph (15 mph). So for the most part, a vehicle that is following the speed limit should not really ever need to pass a bicycle.

    4. This is a Navy base, so there aren't any tanks or other unusual traffic. Just cars that are supposed to go a maximum of 40 kph. I also made an edit that I was really only concerned with the rules in the vicinity of the gates.
    Steve

  10. #10
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    'which could cut and bruise a nearby pedestrian' could read:
    'could result in harm to cyclist and/or other persons.'

  11. #11
    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Throughout Japan and the US (except on prohibited expressways), a bicyclist is treated as a motor vehicle.
    For future reference, treating a bicyclist as a motor vehicle would be pretty demeaning, since motor vehicles are insentient and void of intelligence.

    I think what you meant was that a bicyclist is treated as a driver of a motor vehicle.
    Last edited by Helmet Head; 07-14-05 at 05:19 PM.

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