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Old 05-28-08, 01:00 PM   #1
Elkhound
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My ride with the Governor

I was asked to meet with the Governor for a photo op and brief ride. I was there ahead of the scheduled time and got interviewed by two local TV stations and the local paper. Then the Gov came out and spoke to the reporters and he and I rode around the campus. He then spoke to the press for a bit, and went in. They asked me a few more questions (some repeats of the same as before) and filmed me riding off 'into the sunset' as it were.
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Old 05-28-08, 01:07 PM   #2
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Pics, or it didn't happen

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Old 05-28-08, 01:30 PM   #3
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Pics, or it didn't happen

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When it gets into the paper, I'll post links.
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Old 05-28-08, 02:40 PM   #4
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There are 50 states, plus Puerto Rico. All have governors.

Which governor was this -- mine, or yours?
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Old 05-28-08, 02:46 PM   #5
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There are 50 states, plus Puerto Rico. All have governors.

Which governor was this -- mine, or yours?
It says under my name where I am located. But, to be specific, it was the Hon. Joseph Manchin, Governor of WV.
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Old 05-28-08, 02:57 PM   #6
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hoping not to be rude... but why were you chosen?
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Old 05-29-08, 07:17 AM   #7
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Letter to Local Paper

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Originally Posted by mmerner View Post
hoping not to be rude... but why were you chosen?
Because I am one of the few state employees at the Capitol complex who regularly (indeed, constantly) bike commutes. The Governor is a (recreational) cyclist himself and wants to encourage the practice.

I watched the 11:00 pm news last night to see if I was on it; unfortunately, I did not see it, but I was told that it was on another channel; what was on was a story about a man who was riding his bike on the sidewalk downtown (Lee Street, in front of the Marriot) and was struck and killed by a motorist coming out of the parking garage. This is the letter I sent to the local paper:

Quote:
I heard on the news last night that a man was killed while riding his bicycle on Lee Street at the Marriott when a motorist emerging from the parking garage struck him.

It may be counterintuitive, but numerous studies from both North America and Europe have shown that riding on the sidewalk is more dangerous than riding in the street, mostly because each driveway is an uncontrolled intersection; automobile drivers pulling out of driveways stop not at the sidewalk, but at the street--hence, unless the driver happens to be looking, she or he is unlikely to see a cyclist on the sidewalk.

This is why the Charleston City Code has this provision:

"Sec. 114-706. Riding on sidewalk.
No person shall ride any bicycle upon any sidewalk within the city except where, by ordinance, the council of the city has designated such sidewalk as an official bicycle route and has marked such sidewalk with appropriate signs to that effect. Notwithstanding the previous provision, riders of bicycles when dismounted may lead their bicycles along the sidewalk to stand on the sidewalk provided they are securely placed against a building or other fixed structure and cause no obstruction."

Many, if not most, city codes contain similar provisions.

In the words of John Forester, traffic engineer and, author of the book EFFECTIVE CYCLING: "Cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as drivers of vehicles." This is why the State Code has this provision:

"17C-11-2. Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles.
Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature can have no application."

The other 49 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have similar provisions.

In the majority of cases in which cyclists are struck and either killed or seriously injured by cars, the cyclist contributed significantly to it by unsafe behavior--turning without signalling, cycling against traffic, cycling on the sidewalk, cycling at night, and the like. In short, there are a great many people who know how to ride a bicycle who do not know how to drive one.

When you factor these out, cycling is not significantly more dangerous than driving; and according to the British Medical Association, the benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by a factor of twenty to one. Unfortunate incidents like yesterday's at the Marriott should not be used to exaggerate the dangers or to frighten those conisdering cycling away from this healthful and beneficial activity.

On my way to work today, I was riding up Virginia Street towards the Capitol when a woman yelled,

"I saw you on the news last night! Keep up the good work! I'm gonna get me a bike!"
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Old 05-29-08, 07:35 AM   #8
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In the majority of cases in which cyclists are struck and either killed or seriously injured by cars, the cyclist contributed significantly to it by unsafe behavior--turning without signalling, cycling against traffic, cycling on the sidewalk, cycling at night, and the like. In short, there are a great many people who know how to ride a bicycle who do not know how to drive one.
I'm curious...is this your opinion or based on statistics? If the later can you cite the study/source?
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Old 05-29-08, 08:17 AM   #9
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I'm curious...is this your opinion or based on statistics? If the later can you cite the study/source?
It is based on conversations with police officers; I know most of the bike patrol here in Charleston, and that is what they have told me.
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Old 05-29-08, 09:08 AM   #10
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I'm curious...is this your opinion or based on statistics? If the later can you cite the study/source?
The state of North Carolina recently released a study involving bicycle/motor vehicle accidents. From what I gathered, the majority or plurality resulted directly and indirectly from riding on sidewalks. This thread discussed it: N.C. has 900-plus crashes of bikes, vehicles annually

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Old 05-29-08, 09:21 AM   #11
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It is based on conversations with police officers; I know most of the bike patrol here in Charleston, and that is what they have told me.
Polce officers believe that because police reports make those conclusions.

And police reports makes those conclusions because police officers show up at crash scenes believing that the majority of car-on-bike crashes are caused by cyclist behavior.

Nice how the police reports provide support for that belief.

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Old 05-29-08, 09:47 AM   #12
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Polce officers believe that because police reports make those conclusions.

And police reports makes those conclusions because police officers show up at crash scenes believing that the majority of car-on-bike crashes are caused by cyclist behavior.

Nice how the police reports provide support for that belief.

My conversations were with the bike patrol officers, who may be presumed not to have an anti-cycling bias, and their conclusions are congruent with my own observations.

Oh, here is a clip of my 15 minutes. http://www.wsaz.com/home/headlines/19340119.html#
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Old 05-29-08, 09:53 AM   #13
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My conversations were with the bike patrol officers, who may be presumed not to have an anti-cycling bias, and their conclusions are congruent with my own observations.

Oh, here is a clip of my 15 minutes. http://www.wsaz.com/home/headlines/19340119.html#
Confirmation bias is a great tool for selecting the data one wants to see.

Look, I don't disagree that sidewalk riding is unsafe (although I do take issue with the notion that cyclists are at fault by "riding at bight," unless they are also riding without lights), and maybe in your area, or at least downtown, people ride on the sidewalk a lot. What I am disagreeing with is the notion that cyclists are at fault in a majority of cases. That conclusion is based on police reports, and they are notoriously unreliable sources of data on crash liability.
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Old 05-29-08, 10:05 AM   #14
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Confirmation bias is a great tool for selecting the data one wants to see.

Look, I don't disagree that sidewalk riding is unsafe (although I do take issue with the notion that cyclists are at fault by "riding at bight," unless they are also riding without lights), and maybe in your area, or at least downtown, people ride on the sidewalk a lot. What I am disagreeing with is the notion that cyclists are at fault in a majority of cases. That conclusion is based on police reports, and they are notoriously unreliable sources of data on crash liability.
Yes, when I wrote 'riding at night' I meant 'riding at night without lights; and people do ride on sidewalks a lot here, and many people seem to be under the impression that they should ride against traffic and that stop lights/signs don't apply to cyclists. They also seem to think that they can swerve across lanes and/or turn without signalling. I submit that any cyclist who does something like that and gets creamed has brought it on him/herself, and further that such lawless and undisciplined behavior by cyclists causes, or at least contributes, to motorist hostility.
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Old 05-29-08, 11:11 AM   #15
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Watched the video and iot was a good story, so congrats on that and kudos for going car-free. Your comment about how commuting is possible for a lot more people than those who think it is is right on point.

I wish there were a good study (without the confirmation bias that exists merely from reviewing police reports) that would confirm or ebut the opinion experesed by the officers you talked with. If I were to bet, I would guess that by a small margin the majority of accidents are caused by improper cyclist behavior rather than motorist error. Far too many cyclists behave like pedestrians rather than like vehicles, and ride on the sidewalk, cut through traffic, and ignore traffic control, resulting in accidents. Drivers, of course, are far too inattentive as well. As I have told my children for years, you can only control your own behavior, not other's.
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Old 05-29-08, 11:57 AM   #16
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While I do not discount what is said about police officers in general, I know these men and do not think that they would lie to me. Several of them are lodge brothers; if one cannot trust one's fellow-Freemasons, whom can one trust?
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Old 05-29-08, 01:16 PM   #17
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from the clip:

"there's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing".

that's a keeper!
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Old 05-29-08, 01:26 PM   #18
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from the clip:

"there's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing".

that's a keeper!
Not original with me. I think it is a translation of a Finnish proverb; I remember it from my days growing up in Minnesota.
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Old 05-29-08, 05:18 PM   #19
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Congrats, Elkhound.

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Old 05-30-08, 08:13 AM   #20
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Congrats, Elkhound.

Thanks.
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Old 05-30-08, 08:17 AM   #21
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a mason and a chainguarder riding with the governor of WV. OHBOY looks like WV is going down the tubes to a very low bike modal share.....

congrats on getting to ride with your guv and on tv to talk bike commuting. every little bit helps.
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Old 05-30-08, 09:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
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I wish there were a good study (without the confirmation bias that exists merely from reviewing police reports) that would confirm or ebut the opinion experesed by the officers you talked with.
Your wish is my command:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...49#post6628149

Even with "the confirmation bias that exists merely from reviewing police reports" motorists are about 20% more likely to be at fault in a collision with a cyclist than the cyclist.

I don't doubt the officers are sincere in their beliefs, but they are wrong.
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Old 05-30-08, 11:29 PM   #23
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It is based on conversations with police officers; I know most of the bike patrol here in Charleston, and that is what they have told me.

LOL!
Ya... there's an unbiased opinion!

Exactly how did these officers of the law come to that conclusion?
By interviewing the surviving driver?
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Old 05-30-08, 11:56 PM   #24
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For god's sake...any time someone who rides says ANYthing negative about cyclist behavior, people come out in DROVES, demanding scientific proof. The 'sainted bike rider' cannot POSSIBLY be at fault -- after all, he's riding a bike, the most enlightened activity mankind can engage in!

Let me tell you something (BTW, Elkhound, good presentation here): not every bike rider is a cyclist! Every amateur nut who rides in the street against traffic needs to be cuffed upside the head; maybe it's just the part of town I live in, but the worst offenders I see on that are: a.) teen thug wanna-be's on wal-mart bmx's; and b.)old black men on cruisers. Don't jump to conclusions -- my wallet-sized family portrait will tell you I'm not racist; the facts are the facts, and this is what I see. I see almost NO women on bikes, and no one who has a greater-than-wal-mart-sales-clerk income will ride one, either. At least not for commuting.

Riding at night without lights is stupid; come on, now. I've been nearly hit WITH lights! Crosswalks/driveways are a problem, I'll grant, and both users have to share the blame. There are places where sidewalk riding is legal, but the problems remain, and they are that neither user group thinks to look out!

There ARE quite a few people who don't know the rules of the road on a bike, and really believe that they can -- and are even entitled to -- ignore laws and traffic because they don't need a driver's license or a plate for a bike. Sorry, but BOTH sides need to learn the lesson: you do NOT have ANY rights that override the next guy!

I miss the old PSA's:"Watch out for the other guy", with the sounds of screeching tires and crashing metal in the background....
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Old 05-31-08, 01:12 AM   #25
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For god's sake...any time someone who rides says ANYthing negative about cyclist behavior, people come out in DROVES, demanding scientific proof. The 'sainted bike rider' cannot POSSIBLY be at fault -- after all, he's riding a bike, the most enlightened activity mankind can engage in!
I don't cut idiots on bikes any slack. Now explain why should I cut biased, inaccurate police reports any slack?
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