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Old 08-15-05, 09:07 PM   #1
N_C
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Instead of a new helmet ordinance hwo about if I work to change an existing ordinance

Currently in Sioux City there is a city ordinance that basically says of there is a trail that runs parrellal with a city street cyclists are to use the trail & not the street. I for one think this is an unfair ordinance not to mention impractical. For one it is never enforced, that is beside the point. One one street in particular it is actually safer to ride in the street. Here is what I mean:

The street is called Chris Larsen Road. It is parrellal with the Lewis & Clarck rec. trail. Both of these run parrellal with the Missouri River. Creatively enough this are is called the Sioux City River Front. Along the trail & Chris Larsen Road is the Argosy Casino. A very busy place. Traffic in & out all the time. Thankfully Chris Larsen Road is 25 mph for a speed limit. Along this part of the trail is shade trees & bushes. The people who visit the casino access the driveway/parking lot via Chris Larsen Road. Which means there is an intersection where each one of the driveways & the trail meet.

Because drivers are in a hurry to waste their money, or pissed off because they lost their money at the casino and because of the trees, etc it is hard for motorists to see people on the trail. In effect they either are not paying attention or the have a hard time seeing the trail users.

Thus it is a dangerous area for the cyclists who use the trail in this area. That is why I never do, which means I am breaking the law. I'd rather break the law & be safer then obey it & have an increased risk of being hit by a motorist.

Remember I said the cops do not enforce this ordinance. In fact I have ridden with an off duty officer on the street in this very section of Chris Larsen Road. I have encountered officers patrolling this area in their cruisers or on their bikes & have never been cited for it.

Never mind the fact that this ordinance is not enforced. I don't think that is really a reason to remove the ordinance. Let's just concentrate on the safety aspect of it.

From my own personal experience and the experiences of several other cyclists I have spoken with & ridden with about this, this is the only research I have to go on right now, it is safer to ride bike in the street then on the trail in this area.

So opposers & supporters of this new idea of mine please speak up. Keep it clean, keep it nice & I promise to as well.
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Old 08-15-05, 09:22 PM   #2
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Good idea. Bike trails are often not appropriate for high speed cyclists and commuters. Good luck with your efforts.
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Old 08-15-05, 09:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by N_C
Remember I said the cops do not enforce this ordinance. In fact I have ridden with an off duty officer on the street in this very section of Chris Larsen Road. I have encountered officers patrolling this area in their cruisers or on their bikes & have never been cited for it.
In which case I suggest a quick read of the wording of the law to see whether it says "bike lane" or "bike path" or "bike trail", and also to look for the words "if practicable".

The law in this part of the world (as in most places) clearly states "bike lane", which is not the same thing as a bike path, and clearly uses the words "if practicable", hence it is actually quite legal to "break" the law if using the road is more practical.
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Old 08-16-05, 06:16 AM   #4
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Sounds like this is like most blanket laws- they don't always work the way they were intended in all circumstances. I fully agree that recreational paths are more dangerous than riding on the streets due to the unpredictable nature of pedestrians (they can move in any direction instantly and without warning). A blind intersection with a non-vehicular road ups that risk for cyclists.

This law may be fully justified elsewhere in the city however, and but we don't have that information. If the law is overall effective and increases safety (doubtful) and this is an exception to the benefits of the law then perhaps you should work to get this specific instance exempted or the specific problems addresses. Traffic controls or a bypass may be an option if this is the only area of contention. If their are multiple problem areas fixes may be prohibitively expensive for the city. If, however, the law actually increases risk on the whole and you have the time and energy then by all means you should work to get the law repealed.
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Old 08-16-05, 06:20 AM   #5
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I didn't agree with the helmet ordinance but I agree with this. Either way, I think it is admirable when someone is willing to get involved with local politics in an attempt to make things better. Democracy in our country would work a lot better if more people got involved at the local level.
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Old 08-16-05, 06:24 AM   #6
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This is a liberalising approach - much better in my view - give people the choice to do what is sensible. I think your desire to get everyone in helmets is laudable too, I just think that trying to convince people is a better way than trying to get someone else to fine them.
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Old 08-16-05, 06:25 AM   #7
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Sounds like true cyclist advocacy. Just be prepared for the same kind of barage you got on the helmet idea.

Before proposing it widely, talk to the cops who have supported you. Ask them for help getting the poolice department to support you. If you have the cops on your side, you'll be half way there.

See if you can take pictures of the hazard you talk about. Also take pictures of hazards on the path, such as places robbers could hide, narrow points, areas with poor maintenance (especially after nasty storms), etc.
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Old 08-16-05, 08:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris L
In which case I suggest a quick read of the wording of the law to see whether it says "bike lane" or "bike path" or "bike trail", and also to look for the words "if practicable".

The law in this part of the world (as in most places) clearly states "bike lane", which is not the same thing as a bike path, and clearly uses the words "if practicable", hence it is actually quite legal to "break" the law if using the road is more practical.
The ordinance specifies a multi-use recreational trail, not just a bike lane or bike path. And the words "if practicable" are not in the verbage. The ordinance is quite clear on its intentions.
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Old 08-16-05, 08:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Trevor98
Sounds like this is like most blanket laws- they don't always work the way they were intended in all circumstances. I fully agree that recreational paths are more dangerous than riding on the streets due to the unpredictable nature of pedestrians (they can move in any direction instantly and without warning). A blind intersection with a non-vehicular road ups that risk for cyclists.

This law may be fully justified elsewhere in the city however, and but we don't have that information. If the law is overall effective and increases safety (doubtful) and this is an exception to the benefits of the law then perhaps you should work to get this specific instance exempted or the specific problems addresses. Traffic controls or a bypass may be an option if this is the only area of contention. If their are multiple problem areas fixes may be prohibitively expensive for the city. If, however, the law actually increases risk on the whole and you have the time and energy then by all means you should work to get the law repealed.

A law like this is not justified anywhere. A while ago some jackass senator decided to try to save cyclists from themselves & tried to get a bill passed into law that says anywhere a highway parallels a trail cyclists have to use the trail. Well cyclists from across the state banded together & said we don't think so. In fact there were so many provisions made to the original bill that would have required a lot of tax dollars for bicycle facilities that it was voted out. Out of this whole fiasco was born the new Iowa Bicycle Coalition. Some of you may remember reading about this. The bill was called Senate File 2032. Do a google search on it.

It was shortly after this Senate File 2032 thing that I looked into the ordinances here in Sioux City & found the local ordinance that we have regarding trails that parallel road ways. This is part of why I want to have the ordinance removed.
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Old 08-16-05, 08:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Daily Commute
Sounds like true cyclist advocacy. Just be prepared for the same kind of barage you got on the helmet idea.

Before proposing it widely, talk to the cops who have supported you. Ask them for help getting the poolice department to support you. If you have the cops on your side, you'll be half way there.

See if you can take pictures of the hazard you talk about. Also take pictures of hazards on the path, such as places robbers could hide, narrow points, areas with poor maintenance (especially after nasty storms), etc.
The same kind of barage from whom? You & the others who hated my idea about the helmet law? If that is the case why have'nt you started yet? If you're going to do it, bring it on! Because on this issue I won't back down! You'll one hell of a fight on your hands if you challenge me on this! Now if you do not mean you & the others from the forum here, then who are you speaking of?
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Old 08-16-05, 08:55 PM   #11
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The only hazards in this section of the the trail are the more then needed drivway entrances for the casino. Like I said the drivers are usually too distracted to notice anyone on the trail which makes it dangerous. Granted cyclists are the only ones this ordinance will impact. pedestrians, roller bladders, etc. will still use the trail because for them it is to dangerous in the street. But for everyone except cyclists I think it will be easier to respond to a motor vehicle entering or exiting the casino parking lots.

One other option I might try is to get the city to force the casino to move. I have no problem with casinos or gambling, hell I play the state lottery once a week not to mention scratch tickets. The only reason I want the casino away from anywhere there could ever be a rec. trail is because of the danger the motor vehicle traffic causes for cyclists who use the trails. But I doubt the city will try to convince the casino to move as it does donate a lot of money to the city.

Along the rest of the trail there are no major problems. There has never been any crime on the trail as far as I've ever heard.

The Siouxland Trails Foundation which I am a part of is trying to do things to make the trail system safer. One of our projects is painting STAY RIGHT, in both english & spanish, on the trail in key areas that need it, like the blind curves, etc.

Chris Larsen Road where Hamilton Blvd begins & goes north. So it does not parellel the trail for very far. After the road ends it is only the trail which is sandwhiched between the river & Interstate 29. The trails ends in Riverside Park.
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Old 08-17-05, 02:46 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by N_C
The same kind of barage from whom? You & the others who hated my idea about the helmet law? If that is the case why have'nt you started yet? If you're going to do it, bring it on! Because on this issue I won't back down! You'll one hell of a fight on your hands if you challenge me on this! Now if you do not mean you & the others from the forum here, then who are you speaking of?
The barage would come from traffic officials and drivers who want the cyclists out of the way. The "bring it on" attitude will hurt you here. I think it's better to work for consensus--start with the cops you know, get the police on your side, demonstrate the hazards of the trail, explain why cyclists would actually prefer the road.

Look, I don't question your motives, but I thought the mandatory helmet law was a boneheaded idea. There's no proven benefit to cyclists, and it would just give cops another reason to hassle us. This idea, by contrast, should make cycling safer and more efficient.
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Old 08-17-05, 06:28 PM   #13
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I am with you on this one N_C. Changing this law may help to reduce the myth that bike paths are safer than the roads. It may convince some cyclist to move to the road in this particular area (once they understand the issue as you do). The other benefit of dropping this bad law is that if a cyclist did get hit on the road, some lawyer will not be able to blame the cyclist because the cyclist broke the law. This bad law could cost the cyclist just compensation for medical & material damages.
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Old 08-18-05, 08:03 AM   #14
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The same kind of barage from whom? You & the others who hated my idea about the helmet law? If that is the case why have'nt you started yet? If you're going to do it, bring it on! Because on this issue I won't back down! You'll one hell of a fight on your hands if you challenge me on this! Now if you do not mean you & the others from the forum here, then who are you speaking of?
N.C. chill out my friend. I know that we kind of gave you a hard time on the Great Helmet Debate However I think that most of us admire you for sticking up for what you believe in. (albeit crazy belief). It appears to me that you are willing to comprimise, and work for a solution. I think most of us are willing to listen to you, if you just give us a chance. G'luck
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Old 08-23-05, 08:36 PM   #15
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N_C

you ran away from the helmet thread that you started. I suggest if you still have things to say on that topic. You take them back to that Topic and stop creating new threads to carry on and continue to beat a dead horse.
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