Lance Armstrong has indeed commented, via Twitter:
That's ridiculous. I'm glad I was so "neglected". #thanksmom
Lance Armstrong has indeed commented, via Twitter:
That's ridiculous. I'm glad I was so "neglected". #thanksmom
Last edited by billhobbs; 08-30-11 at 09:50 PM. Reason: fix hyperlink
The chief of police LIED on a local television station, went against the report issued by the officer completely and totally...omg I am appalled. I do have to admit - if this wasn't so serious I would die laughing. I have an interview with the local newspaper tomorrow, and I believe a trip to my local library for a photocopy of the police report might be in order for her to have in cause he lies to her as well...
When I told him that cyclists did have the right to take the lane that is when he had threatened to "seize" my bike, as well as mentioning a cyclist by name who had racked up close to a hundred moving violations in about a 7 - 8 year span. Also when he had pulled me over he'd started out with "You and your riding clubs. . ." and trailed off I think that he started out that way as I was dressed in my cycling kit. He switched to how "tired he is of picking our brains, etc. up off of the road." Well IF he and his brothers and sisters in blue would do their job and enforce the existing traffic laws, then guess what, the roads would be safer for everyone. Do they do that? No, they don't instead they go after the most vulnerable road users acting all "father/mother knows best," and how they're doing what they're doing for "our protection."
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The fish are spread out between several tanks.
Since I live In Elizabethon, tn I can say with confidence the traffic density on the street in question is being grossly overstated. In addition Since the op first posted; the story coming from Chief Bailey's office has changed 4 times, none of which bear more than a passing relation to the police report. Sadly it appears that the epd has indeed declared war on a 10 yr old's right to bicycle to school rather than admit a mistake. Seem bizarre in the extreme doesn't it where did the days of kids not being at odds with cops go?
Regarding the school bus thing:
I just can't get over how the chief thinks he can get away with something like that when there is documented proof his officer was not concerned with any such incident. Hubris anyone? Is it possible that he has tried to turn a perfectly legal maneuver into an incident? If a school bus was parked in the street, and not letting children on or off, it would be perfectly legal for any vehicle to pass it. Moving into the oncoming lane to do so would also be legal, and safe as long as there was no oncoming traffic. My head hurts. I'm going back to watching Craig Ferguson.
2: On cycling the route in question there is one part that is a concern, but after contacting the op she has made arrangements with a homeowner to allow her child to use his property to avoid the spot. (a blind curve climbing a hill where even if the speed limit is observed it is hard to see anything coming in time to stop.)
3: as a cycling adult I have dealt with the 'bikes are toys' mentality that is prevalent in the majority of adults in this area, however our children are unable to defend their rights adequately to other adults, the op's decision to fight this for her daughter is spot on bravo!
4:for anyone interested there was an interview wth the police chief on the local news last night you can watch it here http://www2.tricities.com the reporter actually found the story on bikewalktenessee's blog site. The chief in this interview states that the child was impeding traffic in an unsafe manner this is the forth revision his statement has undergone in 48 hrs. Without having been there it is impossible to say what actually happened, op can only go on her past observation of the child.
finally I will say i would find this story absurd to the point of unbelievable even living here if not for my personal follow up with some of the parties directly involved. If you want to help more than just discuss please call your local advocacy orginazation and make them aware of this. If you are in the united states you can find a list on lab's website. also if you live in the U.S. contact you congressman or woman.
A couple of parting thoughts: remember the focus here is a ten yr old's RIGHT to use the roadway in a safe manner, not anger mongering or ax grinding please frame any action you choose to take within these guidelines.
The only to reliably change any society is to change the outlook of the children. If we alienate the police department so far that it creates and adversarial atmosphere between them and children over walking/riding we cannot do that. I know how easy it is to use any and all ammunition as it were to support a cause we are passionate about, but please remember children are NEVER pawns in any game. Children are our future we have an obligation to guard that.
I agree if the situation were no so serious I would find it laughable to see a local politician self destruct. however it is serious and there is a living breathing young lady at the end of this abstract argument.
Just put on your big boy pants and get over it!
Right turn only lanes are not bike lanes. I am not obligated to share narrow lanes. I am allowed to use the actual roadway, not just the shoulder. I do not need to register my vehicle. I do not need to always ride at the edge of the lane.
These are all simple things that the police I have encountered clearly did not know or refused to acknowledge. I can be patient but not with clueless authority figures who make me look like the idiot when they pull me over on a busy highway.
One day everything in America will be wrapped in bubble wrap and then we can all sleep safely.
If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=
I would like to stop and sum all portions of this thread:
On August 25th the officer brought my daughter home stating that in his judgement it was unsafe for her to ride a mile to school and home once again. During his visit he noted to me "if she continued to ride, there will be problems" and that "I am the adult, I have to put my foot down and not allow her to ride". I admit I was defensive with the officer, however not aggressive. The officer stated she was not violating any laws, was not riding in an unsafe manner. This was his judgement.
[I]*Note to this...it was also his judgement that I could walk 20 feet from my home leaving 4 kids ranging in age from 7-10 unattended in my home to talk..2 of these children are special needs without even asking me if my children were ok to be alone in the home, or asking if there was an adult/older sibling capable of watching them so we could talk. I guess he expected my 10 year old (the one who shouldn't ride her bike[ to watch them. Or perhaps it was only because it was a few minutes, or we were only a few feet away. Yep I should definitely respect this mans judgement after that. NOT!/I]
I called Major Verran from the EPD and spoke with him regarding the situation. He once again advised the officer made a judgement call concerning the situation and indeed although no laws had been broken and she was riding in a safe manner, the officer believed given the age and route of the child, she was unsafe. I advised Major Verran that CPS had previously been to my home, and did not see a problem with my child riding to school. Major Verran advised me he would call me back later in the day.
I called CPS and spoke with whoever answered the phone. I asked if there were specific policies regarding children riding a bike to school. Slightly confused I was advised there are no specific policies that it is dealt with on a case by case basis. She did request the age and distance the child was riding. I advised 10 and 1 mile. The answer received "there shouldn't be an issue"
Major Verran did return my call advising me that he had spoken with the DA who advised him if I continue to allow my child to ride until CPS has made a ruling I could be arrested for child neglect. I advised Major Verran what CPS had advised me on the phone. He said the choice is mine he is only advising me to what the DA had advised him.
Note: during this call I attempted to resolve this issue by inquiring about a different route. I was advised this was not the issue, that the child could not be riding unsupervised a mile to and from school. The ride each direction is 7-9 minutes from when she leaves school property. The bus stop is a 4-6 (appropriately) minute walk home from the moment she leaves the bus.
I posted in this forum, requesting help from fellow cyclists who directed me to LAB. Upon contacting LAB I was directed to Bike-Walk Tennessee. Bike walk Tennessee put me in contact with our safe route to school coordinator and various other individuals and posted a blog regarding the situation.
From here it breathed life.
One post included pertinent information to the city officials. On August 29th BillHobbs called the police chief conducting an interview with regard to the situation. That interview is located at the above link.
Between the time of the blog posting and August 30th the story had changed to "This article upset me and I called the police department (I remembered how I rode my bike as a 10 year old) They told me that there was no threat of arrest, no threat of child protective service. They said there was an issue of the girl riding unsafely. Something about going against traffic to get around a school bus. (Perhaps giving her a ticket would have been appropriate, but the officer was being nice).
The chief sounded very aware of bike issues, did not seem anti-bike in any way and said this had nothing to do with telling the parent the child could not be biking.
Frankly, I regret having called. I am reminded that with this sort of thing we often do not get the whole story and as outsiders it's difficult to know what's really going on. I have on several occasions been part of a news story and have known the real story which has had very little relationship with the public story that was reported. " (posted by Christopher Parker)
*Note* the official police report includes this statement
On 8/25/11 I was monitoring traffic on Cedar Avenue when I observed a young female riding her bicycle southbound on cedar avenue. I observed that vehicles had to slow and negotiate around the the bicyclist. I stopped and spoke with her at the intersection of Bradley Street and Cedar Avenue at which time I identified her as (her name) 10 years of age of (my address)..."In my opinion this section of the roadway is not a safe place for a child of her to be riding unsupervised. I escorted the child to her residence at which time spoke with her mother Teresa Tryon." (again the report is in the forenamed link)
I called CPS and spoke with Pamela Winters and advised her of the situation. She said to fax a copy of the report and they would follow up on the report. I advised her of the details at which time she asked if there was bus service to the residence. I advised there was and she stated the situation would be taken care of."
August 31rst I receive a visit from my local news station, requesting to interview me regarding this. The video is located here: http://www2.tricities.com/news/2011/...e--ar-1275159/
The chief states:
BAILEY: "The child goes into oncoming traffic, and goes around the school bus, and around his vehicle."
Chief Matt Bailey says the officer watched a car stop to avoid running her over. The next day, the officer saw that girl again.
BAILEY: "He sees the child crest the hill, she starts over the top of the hill on Cedar Avenue, a car comes from behind her and has to swerve over."
This is after his interview with Bill Hobbs and in complete conflict with the police report I received regarding this issue. So now suddenly I am this horrific mother who is placing her child in severe danger. Safety versus risk I keep hearing. Well here is safety versus risk to me.
Safety - I only allow her to ride during daylight hours with a properly secured helmet. She had completed a safety course and the route has been ridden with her on many occasions to ensure she is safe. The route is an unmarked Avenue with sufficient room to pass for motorists. She does ride as far right as is safely possible in her judgement at all times. At the end of the street she goes across a grass knoll with permission from the land owner and into a park located within our complex.
-Yes the school has a bike rack and has worked with me so she has a place to safely leave her bicycle helmet
- my daughter is equipped and knowledgeable to fix minor emergencies including a chain break, a loose seat/sandbars and/or a low tire. The distance is not such that at absolutely worse case scenario she could not walk her bike home.
- She wears bright colors and a reflective helmet (in addition to bike reflectors)
- her ride is on a residential street in a town of 22,000 people. On average from my experience during school rush hour that once you are outside of a block from the school (obviously where the heaviest traffic is) you will see 7-10 cars total in North and South traffic.
Bikemomtn I think you are an awesome mom and your daughter is lucky. I would be absolutely furious if I was you. That conversation is wrong on so many levels. Police apparently thing that cars "Have to swerve" and that kids have to ride on sidewalks. Unbelievable. Why wasn't the driver of the car who "had to swerve" given a ticket for an unsafe pass?
If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=
If I sent my child out the door to the bus stop and she is hit by a car - will I miss her less? No. If I send my child to the bus stop and by random chance she is shot would I miss her less? No. If she rides the bus and is the victim of bullies and is emotionally scarred-would I be any less angry? No. You are absolutely correct in the variables Jeff, I will not dispute this. But these same variables occur to riding the bus as a child who walks or rides to school. Several years back a school bus here in Elizabethton struck a telephone pole. What about the children who walked or rode to school that day escaping injury? Or perhaps we should say statically speaking plane travel is safer then car travel therefore we should fly our children to school
This approach provides the cyclist several advantages. First, "active listening" gives the officer a feeling of rapport, making him more likely to listen to and consider whatever you say later. Second, the cyclist can better identify the weak links in the officer's thinking, and any prejudices or misconceptions that may be driving it. Third, it provides the opportunity to ask the officer to go on the record on a particular point,especially an agreement of the details of where you were and what you were doing, and why he pulled you over, which can be useful later.
After gathering this information, the cyclist is in a better position to decide whether to (1) invite the officer to discuss the matters with which you have a different opinion, (2) invite the officer to give you a well documented written warning, which you can use in a follow-up with the department, or (3) just say "thanks for your concern" and leave it alone.
The bottom line issue here is simple: in a free society, who gets to decide if your child rides his or her bike to school? Whose judgment gets to control the decision?
Your busybody neighbors - who don't know your kid as well as you do nor, frankly, love them as much as you do?
A well-meaning police officer - who doesn't know your kid as well as you do nor, frankly, love them as much as you do?
A passing motorist who doesn't like having to pass kids on bikes - and who doesn't know your kid as well as you do nor, frankly, love them as much as you do?
Child Protective Services - who don't know your kid as well as you do nor, frankly, love them as much as you do?
The DA - who doesn't know your kid as well as you do nor, frankly, love them as much as you do?
Last edited by belfast-biker; 08-31-11 at 11:49 AM. Reason: i spel gud.
Fat man trying to reform. slowly. :)
Really interesting thread here!
Brings up some great issues of advocacy. But It's sad to see the OP having to explain herself over and over again in this thread. It would be great if BF's was a place where someone like BikeMomTn could expect a certain level of understanding and support from all fellow cyclists- not just another opportunity for typical A&S bickering.
That the basic right of a child riding a bike a mile to and from school can become such an issue of contention is a sad commentary on our society and where we have placed our values not a reason to blame the person who stands up for that right. BikeMomTn was absolutely correct to stand her ground and to continue to do so.
I can't help wondering if there is a touch of gender bias around this as well. Had it been a ten year old boy on his bike and was brought home to his father would this cop have done everything the same way? Maybe. Maybe not.
In any case, any cop that pulls a 10 year old kid legally riding their bike on the roadway instead of the driver of the car that was driving in such a manner that they had to "swerve" around them is not doing their job.