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Old 10-23-05, 04:38 PM   #1
BarePaw
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I tried.

I lived in Pullman, WA for 6 years. During that time I spent 3 years as a student representative on the WSU University Health and Safety Committee. The chief of the campus police chaired the committee and its membership included the fire chief, and many department heads. During my first year on the committee, a wheelchair bound man came before the group and complained of cyclists on campus and asked what could be done to slow them down. He seemed reasonable and didnt call for an outright ban or anything. I offered my assistance to the Police Chief saying that Id seen many different methods for smoothing out cyclist/pedestrian interaction at other universities that could be implemented at WSU. I gave him my contact information, but never heard about it again.
The following year, a student on campus tried to get a coalition of cyclists together to start protests advocating cyclist rights. I again offered my assistance to the Chief stating that my position as student representative to the committee put me in an ideal position to facilitate positive change in this matter. Again, I was ignored.
During my third and last year on the committee, the campus newspaper ran a commentary criticizing bicycles on campus. I brought a couple of friends that commuted to campus on bicycle (one rode 17 miles each way every day) and had them speak before the committee. Each of us asked for some sort of improvements to help cyclists get through traffic. I found out that the Chief was actually working on changing the laws regarding scooters on campus and asked if he could write in some laws about cyclist/car interactions. Id heard that some states have a three foot passing law and suggested this. He referred me to the campus trails committee. The trails committee chair told me that they tried to get bike lanes put in when the main road through campus was remodeled. They were told that a median with trees was more in the interest of public safety than a bike lane would be. The median won out and now nobody can turn left on that road. The trees are hiding pedestrians from the view of the drivers and it is only a matter of time before one is hit. Many members of the trails committee commuted to campus and said that they had already tried everything that I was trying.
I am no longer a member of the committee. I have exhausted all the proper channels to no avail. I now live in Spokane (which is no more cyclist friendly than Pullman). I have given up on beaurocracy and am wondering if there are any critical mass events in Eastern Washington? If so, does anybody know how to get in on it? It has become apparent that events like Critical Mass are the only way to get the attention of the man. Thanks.
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Old 10-23-05, 05:48 PM   #2
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I pretty much surrendered years and years ago. I get to ride in the countryside almost entirely now. Previously I rode how I needed to ride, which seems like everyone pretty much does. VC when effective, non-VC when required. That approach and the ability to escape from police pursuit without much effort always seemed to work well.

An approach I haven't tried is civil disobedience and law suits. I'd try it now if I needed to, since I magically turned into an attorney.
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Old 10-23-05, 06:28 PM   #3
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As long as non cyclists are all that are in place in the beaurocracies you wont get a damn thing done. Remember they are nice and safe and comfy in their bmws jetas jags etc. So why should they worry about things that dont effect them like cyclists safty or rights?

As for crytical mass etc that just does more harm than good the fat cats just have people to point at (the vocal minority) and say

"see theres what cyclists are realy like. They are loud mouthed morons who dotn belong on the road."

There are much better ways to get the word out and get things done. Instead of screaming at death people get in to politics and make the changes from the inside.
Sitting on a commity (thats mostly just a group of figure heads) isnt going to do you any good. Your voice will still fall on death ears. These commities are nothing but show. A way for the politions to show they care even when they dont. Obviously you found this out on your own.

The people you want to get involved with are the park rangers.Most metro park rangers are cops doign some time as park rangers. Others are retired cops while others choose to be rangers from the start. Most are rangers because they enjoy the out doors. Many are cyclists or hikers.
Get with your local park rangers make friends with them. They have a louder voice when it comes to advocacy than you do. You talk to them about your concerns and they will bring those concerns up and they will be heard.
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Old 10-23-05, 08:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarePaw
Many members of the trails committee commuted to campus and said that they had already tried everything that I was trying.
...any critical mass events in Eastern Washington? If so, does anybody know how to get in on it?
--- Seems to me you have passed the first stage of effective advocacy: Learning what doesn't work. Take time to fall back and regroup. These links are not specific to Eastern Washington but are a couple of the many sources that can help you advance bicycle advocacy:
www.bikeleague.org/educenter/index.html
www.bikesbelong.org/site/page.cfm?PageID=25

And thanks for your efforts.
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Last edited by 77Univega; 10-23-05 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 10-26-05, 08:39 AM   #5
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Plan your protests for when they are showing prospective students the campus. Usually summer. Universities have been going hog wild building new gym facilities because that is what the new students are looking for.
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Old 10-26-05, 11:45 AM   #6
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The constitution gives us the right to petition government, including public universites. If they don't listen to your petitions, shout a little louder. Plan some peaceful, non-disruptive protests, like informational pickets. Get as much media coverage as you can. Be patient and persistent.

If they still don't listen, ramp it up. Move into civil disobedience, such as CM.
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Old 10-26-05, 12:06 PM   #7
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If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That's the point of vehicular cycling advocacy. The U.S. is not Denmark. We're many times bigger, not nearly as flat, and don't have the practical advantages of a small/flat/old country with tiny streets and little parking that is too crowded for car travel to be effective in many situations.

What is much more practical in the U.S. than hopelessly trying to convert it to another Denmark, is to works towards popularizing acceptance of vehicular cycling, including cyclists learning how to ride effectively, safely and enjoyably with vehicular traffic, rather than separated from it, and getting the public at large to accept doing so as the appropriate way to operate a bicycle on roads where slow moving vehicles are not prohibited.

See the VC Puzzler threads for a couple of examples of what I'm talking about.
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Old 10-26-05, 12:46 PM   #8
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Kill the freeways and a lot is possible...
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Old 10-26-05, 12:54 PM   #9
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Why kill freeways? What problems do they cause?
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Old 10-27-05, 11:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Why kill freeways? What problems do they cause?
Don't get me started! But that issue is probably off-topic here. Check out the "Living Car-free" subforum if you're interested.
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