Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vehicles vs. bikes

Wow. If you want a good debate, check out the comments on trucker charged with ramming cyclist.

The basic story taken from the police report: Bicycle rider and man in pickup are unsuccessfully sharing the road. At a stop, the cyclist throws water bottle at truck. Trucker allegedly rams cyclist with truck. Trucker charged.

But the good stuff is in the comments:

Reader wrote on Jun 29, 2010 11:33 AM:
" Why was the bicyclist not arrested for vandalizing the truck? "

Sherlock Homes wrote on Jun 29, 2010 11:35 AM:
" Read your rules of the road people, Bicycles have rights. It is quite scary when a vehicle (cage) crowds a bicycle on the road. The car/truck may get a scratch in the paint if they get too close, but, the bicyclist has no protection. If a car/truck hits them it could end up with a death. Think of how angry you will get, or how late you will be, spending years in prison for manslaughter for killing a bicyclist because you refuse to share the road. Which, by the way, is the Law in this State. It is simple, if you see pedestrians, Bicyclists, Police or Emergency vehicles, Give them room!!!! "

flyingdutchman wrote on Jun 29, 2010 11:47 AM:
" Clearly the pick up truck driver was in the wrong to ram this guy, but I can understand his frustration. Around our neighborhood these Lance Armstrong wannabes are a royal PITA. They are the ones who need to dust off there copy of the "Rules of the Road" They fly right through stop signs without even slowing down, and groups of them ride right in the middle of the road, blocking traffic. "

Schwing wrote on Jun 29, 2010 11:50 AM:
" RE Sherlock

You're correct. Bicycles have rights...the right to use the sidewalk. I'll get as close as I want to an ignorant moron on a bike who takes up the whole road. And I think you've fallen off your bike too many times without a helmet. Taking out you on a bike would be neg. homicide...not manslaughter. In fact, they would probably give me an award. "

dave the donger wrote on Jun 29, 2010 11:58 AM:
" I am a fairly serious cyclist and I have to agree with the dutchmen. There are definitely two types of cyclists--ones like me that are respectful and truly share the road, and the "Armstrong wannabes" who fly through every stop sign, weave in and out of traffic, etc. And they have the nerve to get aggressive when they almost get smacked? Crazy.

It really sounds like the driver crossed the line here, but I think in most cases, cyclists are asking for it--big time. "

cheif pontiac wrote on Jun 29, 2010 12:15 PM:
" There is a simple solution for both sides. It is called "complete streets". Complete Streets is a national movement advocating public streets that are designed to be safe for walkers, cyclists, public transit vehicles and riders and the disabled, as well as drivers. Our current Oakland County road commission is against this.

Bicyclists are citizens that pay taxes, just like everyone else. The only difference is when we decide to use the roads, there is always the chance we may come home a vegetable or not come home at all. I have witnessed this too many times in my 25 years of Cycling. Unless you have witnessed the ultimate rage and anger some drivers project towards cyclist, you would never understand the cyclist decision to throw his waterbottle. Imagine the frustrating situation to have a driver repeatedly honk their horn, yell out the window to get on the sidewalk and then give you the finger when you get to the Red light. Yes, we often get to the red light not long after the driver. Bicycling is a great mode of transportation.

More than half of the trips people make by car are under two miles. If just 5% of us rode a bike for these trips we would save Billions of barrels of oil.

For those that have had the pleasure of visiting places like Portland Oregon or Summit County Colorado, the painfully obvious solution of installing bike lanes is a wonderful breath of fresh air.

I am not happy that the cyclist lost his cool, I do understand. Please drivers, allow Bicyclist room and be patient, we are helping to keep your fuel cost under control. Please support "Complete Streets" it is the rationale option, the only option, to have safe roads for everyone. "

freedom35 wrote on Jun 29, 2010 12:23 PM:
" I'm all for cycling but most of these spandex wearing geeks are fools to challenge the poor skills & short tempers of the average motorist. "

duckhunter48377 wrote on Jun 29, 2010 12:40 PM:
" To think that you will not be run over evetually is foolish! Sooner or later it will happen. It will of course be unintentional. An accident. An old person, a distracted driver, a drunk, glare, or just veering into something someones eyes are focused on. I use the trails and or sidewalk and or off road. Good luck with the road lotto game.

Remember roads were built for cars! "

jackrandcroft wrote on Jun 29, 2010 12:55 PM:
" No, duckhunter48377, roads were not built just for cars. Read the law, it is clear, except for the freeways, bicycles have as much right to the road as cars. Steer clear of bicycles people. The doctor in California that hit a bicyclist intentionally is in the state pen right now for a long time. This culure continues to fight each other instead of getting along. "

E.J.Smith wrote on Jun 29, 2010 1:01 PM:
" Both are at fault. The driver for being ridiculously stupid by assaulting the biker with his vehicle and the biker for confronting the driver.

As a bicyclist myself, I recognize that local roads in their present state are simply not designed so that bicyclists and autos can safely coexist. Bicyclists who self-righteously claim otherwise are simply denying reality.

duckhunter is 100% on the money. Consequently, I use the sidewalk, side-streets and the county rails-to-trail system. If, out of necessity, I happen to ride on a main road, I recognize and assume that drivers may not and sometimes cannot see me so I play by their rules.

Personally, it drives me nuts when I'm in my car in rush-hour traffic on Inkster, Middlebelt or a similar road that's being slowed to a crawl by a biker who's two feet into the lane. It's common sense, folks. "

hsc wrote on Jun 29, 2010 1:38 PM:
" As a cyclist, the last place I want to be is on a busy road like Inkster trying to stay out of the way of traffic. Some of these people on bikes seem to want to prove a point. Yes, cyclists have the same rights as drivers, but we also have the same responsibilities. Bike snobs seem to forget that part. Huntington Woods is very bike friendly, light traffic, and a show of consideration to the motorists there, like yielding the right of way when they are first to an intersection, results in you getting waved through 99% of the time. Remember, it's you and your bike against 3000 pounds of car. Not really worth trying to make some kind of pointless statement. Guys like this pickup driver are why it's simply stupid to try to prove some kind of point. "

Tac Agent wrote on Jun 29, 2010 1:53 PM:
" The driver should not have hit him with the truck. that's pretty serious.

However I hate it when bicyclists ride right in the middle of the lane impeding traffic like they own the road. "

2921 wrote on Jun 29, 2010 1:58 PM:
" As a Cyclist, I always try to stay away from busy roads. I find routes that have larger shoulders and roads with smooth surfaces. There are many benefits to riding bikes more and driving cars less. I can not understand why Americans are so averse to exercise and environmental awareness. The fact that someone would not only act aggressive towards a cyclists, but physically try to harm puts shows how messed up we are.....I hope the driver is punished to fullest extent of the law!!!! "

ccblogger wrote on Jun 29, 2010 2:36 PM:
" I stay on the bike path when I ride, but even there I have to be cautious. A lot of drivers are inconsiderate and will pull into the bike path or block the crosswalk at intersections. They don't seem to care that they are creating a hazard. The drivers who pull up to intersections to make right turns are the worst; they will roll right through the crosswalk without looking out for bicyclists and pedestrians. I yell at one or two motorists every week but I would never go so far as to try to put a dent in their vehicle. "

Where is the LOVE wrote on Jun 29, 2010 3:18 PM:
" The question is WHAT? What do I think? I think the driver should do time. The guy on the bike got crowded and said something to the driver of the vehicle. What is the problem? Bad language? Wrong words? Racial statements? What? The facts listed show that there was no damage from the water bottle. The broken ankle is the result of an attempt to use the vehicle as a weapon. What is the problem? I am tired of seeing people try to change or interpret the law differently in order let some get away with BREAKING THE LAW. If the driver behind the wheel moved his truck without looking, he is at fault. If he was looking, he is is most surely at fault. What does the law say about HIS action? Can HIS bank account get him out of this one? I hope not. That is what I think. "

Tim in Auburn Hills wrote on Jun 29, 2010 3:22 PM:
" It's is scary to be crowded when riding a bike, but what is the rule? how much space (by law) do we have to give them? Because whatever it is, then give it to them. The law is the law. "

craven wrote on Jun 29, 2010 3:28 PM:
" The driver was wrong to tap the guy with his truck. A good right cross to the nose would have been better. "

blackpantherexpress wrote on Jun 29, 2010 3:34 PM:
" It is absolutely appalling to read the ignorant comments coming from some people on here. How could anyone even remotely threaten someone over riding their bike lawfully on a public road? Would these people pick up a gun and point it at someone for calling them a bad name? God, I hope not. So why is it justified to injure or kill someone over a 10ft wide piece of concrete? Because the bicyclist cost you 5 minutes of your life? Or less than most likely?

More people should bike. Michigan was just named the 10th fattest state in the country. A bunch of fatties riding around in SUV's, running late to get to Dairy Queen before they close to pacify their screaming fat depressed children playing video games in the backseat, telling their parents what to do.

I am happy to see some comments in support of bicyclists, the right to life in general, and respect to law and our society.

Just remember, some bicyclists might lean towards the right side of things. They might be legally carrying a firearm and just might be willing to use it to defend their life if threatened by a motorist.

I hope the 61 yr old does a couple of years. No probation for this kind of behvior! "

Sherlock Homes wrote on Jun 29, 2010 3:56 PM:
" Look, Im not saying that bicyclists should Hog the whole street, but if you approach them just give em a foot or two as you pass. Michigan Law says to share the road with cyclists. a lot of sidewalks are too crowded or posted not for Bicycles, a lot of areas ( like Inkster ) dont have sidewalks. (I grew up in that area ) A cyclist on the sidewalk can be a hazard to pedestrian traffic ( depending on the area and how busy the sidewalk is) All I am saying is if you see a bike, dont intimidate them by swooping close to them, give a little space... be courteous... unfortunately courtesy seems to be extinct in todays culture. "

Sherlock Homes wrote on Jun 29, 2010 4:00 PM:
" Oh and Schwing? Just keep talking, you are just showing your arrogance, selfishness,and rudeness. "

EJ Levy wrote on Jun 29, 2010 4:40 PM:
" Well citizens, what wasn't reported and no doubt happened is that the driver passed the rider and damn near hit him. The rider no doubt was upset and mentioned to the driver that he nearly had killed the rider in his effort to get to a red light. Then the driver no doubt had something less than intellectually precise in response, further upsetting the rider causing him to react by slapping the mirror. So first the driver assaults the rider putting him in great bodily harm and then verbally responded to the notion that someone was going to tell him what to do and how to do it. Most bike riders would agree that this is the likely scenario. Now, the rider, presumably a reasonably intelligent person did perhaps the stupidest thing in his entire life by getting in front of the truck. Oh my gosh. This was too ripe for the driver who is further agitated and he rams him. This is obviously criminal. My point is that the original act, passing close by was as well. So bike riders, and general public who show disdain for riders despite the fact riders are legally allowed on the road (and in fact in some areas NOT legally allowed on the sidewalks), be careful. Give the riders "safe distance" which is our standard in Michigan. That is certainly NOT "one or two feet" and not even the "three feet" standard initiated in some states including Colorado. You are not going to "teach a rider a lesson" if you try to scare him. You are committing a crime and the police need to enforce it.

So, for those of you who don't think riders should be on the roads, I will note for you that most hassles we get are on roads when there is no oncoming traffic and no impedence to driver's time in their car is taking place. In addition, if you have issue, support bike lanes, write the Road Commission of Oakland County and urge them to build the roads with at least a minimum of road width and darn it, stop thinking it is just about you. Be civil, share the road. Oakland County, at least not long ago was the fourth most affluent county in the country yet our roads are poor. (This prior to the downturn in the economy.) Roads have been built without shoulders when they could easily have been built to a safer specification. Let the Road Commission know you want the roads to tolerate riders so when you are on your way home you don't have to slow down a bit for your neighbor
Now I'm wondering from a journalistic point of view, why were the names of the two individuals involved not mentioned in the article? I know our papers protect minors and rape victims but those don't fit here.


craven wrote on Jun 29, 2010 6:08 PM:
" Or another scenario is the truck is trying to pass, giving the bicyclists plenty of room, but the cyclist, busy texting while riding, veers over nearly causing the truck to hit him. When they get to the light, the cyclist pulls around the truck to get near the driver to hassle him for something he caused himself. After an exchange of profanity, the chicken blank biker throws his water bottle at the driver. He misses but hits the truck mirror. When the driver is alarmed and starts to leave, believing he is in danger, the biker follows, and suddenly cuts in front of the truck, giving the driver no room to stop. The biker should be the one arrested. "

citygirl wrote on Jun 29, 2010 6:13 PM:
" Cyclists on the road scare me. I really thing they need to be on the sidewalk or I love the idea of Complete streets. Given the fact that Michigan roads need to be done every year or two , we should implement this. There are times when there is much oncoming traffic and the bicyclist is so far out that I'm concerned about hitting them or hitting an oncoming driver. I wait , traffic behind me gets backed up until the oncoming traffic is gone . The biker doesn't even move closer to the side. It is an accident waiting to happen as we see with this article. "

ridiculous wrote on Jun 29, 2010 6:34 PM:
" This law should be rescinded!!!! No bicyclist should have rights over cars on the road. There are plenty of trails, parks and sidewalks. These spandex geeks, which there are too many of, riding down a 50 mph road three at a time at rush hour. What the heck??? Are they asking for it or what? A huge group of 20-30 the other day, 5 pm, taking up the whole road. You can't peddle at 50 mph up an incline....get out of the way!!! Idiots!!! Plain and simple idiots!!! I definitely understand the man's frustration. "

hsc wrote on Jun 29, 2010 7:08 PM:
" The driver is in the wrong here for sure. But stories like this make me wonder what kind of pleasure any cyclist would get riding busy roads when there are plenty of low traffic side streets around. Cycling for me is for excercise, thus relieving stress. Riding in traffic would only increase stress for me. I bike about 170 miles a week. That would be alot of stress on a busy road, and I probably wouldn't even bother. To each their own I guess. "

Cosmo wrote on Jun 30, 2010 7:39 AM:
" Just move over for the bikers, there will be alot more of them. As money is being siphoned out of the public, into the east coast, more and more folks will turn to alternative transport. "

craven wrote on Jun 30, 2010 9:20 AM:
" Seriously folks, aren't you a little suspicious about the story when the bicycle is "rammed" TWICE by the truck, but there is no damage? "

skatefast wrote on Jun 30, 2010 10:16 AM:
" I bike because it is a great form of transportation. I bike on busy roads when necessary to get where I'm going. I know how vulnerable I feel when I bike, so when I am driving and encounter bikes I give them plenty of room. I do not pass them until it is safe to pass.

Motorists, please do not look at cycleists as competition. We are vulnerable. If the mirror on the side of your car taps our shoulder we could end up dead. You could be arrested for man-slaughter. Is your frustration worth that? Just be aware that any aggressive action on your part could result is a cycleists death. Don't honk your horn (we know you are there). Our scences are busy avoiding pot holes, grates, gravel and other hazards. When one vehicle passes another, it is the responsibility of the passing vehicle to make a safe pass.

Please support "The Complete Street bills" "

mrgumby wrote on Jun 30, 2010 1:06 PM:
" To Craven.

Did you read the article? It states that witnesses at the scene back the cyclists story. That wipes out all of your irrelevant suppositions.

Dave "

antonio wrote on Jun 30, 2010 3:43 PM:
" It worries me that there are motorists who are, "scared" by cyclists. There will always be good and bad drivers and cyclists. Let's not over generalize about either party...I've seen lots respectful drivers on both sides.

Sad to see that some justify road rage against an unprotected cyclist. Best move by the cyclist was to just call the cops and move on. "

hsc wrote on Jun 30, 2010 4:44 PM:
" EJ Levy sounds like a guy looking for an ambulance to chase. Nice wordy post...snake. If I was on that bike, and got hurt, and you tried to hook onto me, I'd spit in your face. "

bobmom wrote on Jun 30, 2010 5:36 PM:
" After 50 years of solitary bicycling to stores, work, and family (W/O spandex), I've had some brushes with motorist involved accidents which were sometimes due to my carelessness and sometimes their's. Hey, accidents happen! Stupid people make mistakes, but they have rights too.

BUT assaulting a bicyclist is NOT an accident. I've literally been run into by these bullies before. They have similar characteristics - aging boys with anger problems driving pick up trucks and SUV's who believe it's their God-given right to get those phony bikers off of "their" road by teaching them a lesson. Put those really wide side view mirrors on their gas hogs and let those weenies take their chances with a real truck drivin' man.

And when they're caught the coward comes out in them "Ohh..I felt I was in danger! I had to protect myself against that terrifying Schwinn driver on his 20 pound bike. "

Dr. Who? wrote on Jun 30, 2010 6:09 PM:
" Cyclists do indeed have a right to ride on public roads. The truck driver was wrong in ramming him, but the cyclist was wrong to throw his bottle at the truck. A clear case of two wrongs making things "wronger." However, if someone is NUTS enough to ride their bike at totally inappropriate times on totally bike-inappropriate roads, they should expect the worse. The cyclist should be happy all he did was get a little crowded and not run off the road completely (or worse). I crowded a guy the other day because I had no choice in the matter. It was rush hour on Adams Rd. with barely any shoulder and the miles long line of oncoming traffic certainly didn't care (or probably see) the cyclist in the shade on my side of the road. It was crowd him, plow him or slam on the brakes and get rear ended. frankly, I was not about to risk my family's necks because some fool decided to disregard sanity and take to the street at rush hour when a bike path was a whole 6' away. Cyclists, wise up or get wiped up! "

Early retirement for Michigan educators

The story with the most hits on our on Wednesday, June 30 was:

While the Clarkston Community Schools Board of Education passed a budget with a $5 million deficit at its Monday meeting, the district’s former superintendent, Al Roberts, will be looking at cost efficiencies and reductions in his new job as superintendent of an Illinois elementary district.

Roberts announced his retirement from Clarkston Community Schools on May 24 and received a $40,000 retirement incentive.

The story is interesting because it is one more top Oakland County educator taking advantage of the recently passed early retirement incentives passed by the Michigan Legislature.

During the debate over that incentive package, the expected results were that experienced, highly paid teachers would take the deal and be replaced by recent grads at a lower pay rate. I don't remember ever hearing about how the incentives would be particularly attractive to top school administrators who, because of their higher pay rate, would also get higher retirement incentives.

But, as we have seen, that is what is happening. What's more, those administrators take the early retirement paid by our tax dollars and simply take another job, either here or somewhere else, at a rate of pay made acceptable by Michigan's retirement package. And, of course, the local schools cannot hire a recent grad to become their new administrators. They will either have to promote from within or recruit (at competitive salaries) from without.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chevy rules

Hot debate rages today is over whether GM should change the marketing focus of Chevrolet away from "Chevy."
Various news sources are reporting that GM on Tuesday distributed a memo to Detroit employees urging them to use Chevrolet, rather than Chevy to push for "consistency" in the brand.
The memo was signed by Alan Batey, vice president for Chevrolet sales and service, and Jim Campbell, the GM division’s vice president for marketing.
GM is attuned to the uproar this suggestion is creating and issued their own statement Thursday:
"Today’s emotional debate over a poorly worded memo on our use of the Chevrolet brand is a good reminder of how passionately people feel about Chevrolet. It is a passion we share and one we do not take for granted.
We love Chevy. In no way are we discouraging customers or fans from using the name. We deeply appreciate the emotional connections that millions of people have for Chevrolet and its products.
In global markets, we are establishing a significant presence for Chevrolet, and need to move toward a consistent brand name for advertising and marketing purposes. The memo in question was one step in that process.
We hope people around the world will continue to fall in love with Chevrolets and smile when they call their favorite car, truck or crossover a “Chevy.”

The debate is already raging on Twitter. And you should weigh in with your own thoughts. Likely, most of you have owned a Chevy, or at least have sat in one. What do you think?

Should you "Drive your Chevrolet to the levee" or stick with Chevy?