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one less bike...

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one less bike...

Postby dubmango » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:41 pm

I live downtown and work just west of campus on university. it is next to impossible for me to ride my bike safely to work, but i do it anyway because i want to do something good for myself, for my wallet, and for the environment.

However, I regret to inform the world that I think I will not be biking any more in Madison. On Tuesday, I received a ticket from a bike cop for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign at the end of State street, where it meets Lake. I was turning right and signaled, but did not come to a complete stop. I ride hard and fast, so losing all momentum is less than ideal. There were no cars stopped at this intersection and really not many pedestrians around, so I felt I would just take the turn and keep going. I was running a little late so yes, I took some liberties. I am constantly aware of what is going on around me when I am biking, especially because of these liberties that I take (which does not include riding stupidly in a way that gives all bikers a bad rap).

The bike officer was less than pleased with me (probably because he had to chase me for 3 blocks). I told him I couldnt afford the 60 dollar ticket. He told me he has to give everyone an actual citation, not just a warning, because it is so easy for offenders to go to court and then take the bike safety class. When I informed him that I would only be in Madison for one more month, he was less than sympathetic. He told me that I could call the court and they would be more than happy to reschedule my court date for a day earlier than July 27th (I am leaving Madison on July 20th). When I called, they told me I couldnt even reschedule until two weeks before my court date, at least over the phone. I emailed the court and they told me there were no bike classes before July 27th, and that I could appear in court over the phone if I would be out of town. This leaves me with the choices of pay the 63.60 or leave Madison without doing it.

Perhaps if I felt the money would go towards bike safety, I would feel okay paying it. However, I have never in my past 7 years in Madison felt so unsafe riding as I have this summer. It is nearly impossible for me to get to where I need to go without doing something illegal (like riding on the sidewalk, or riding the wrong way down a one way street... Lake street by the union coming from the lakeshore path is impossible. I have to ride through the hoofers area by the lake, ride on the sidewalk, or ride the wrong way down the now one-way Lake street). I am simply so frustrated by this whole situation that I am just going to drive my car from now on. I dont want to feel unsafe and I dont want to risk getting another ticket (since the police officer told me they received a grant to increase bike safety and therefore there would be more bike cops on patrol). Its a sad choice that I make, but one that I felt I had to share with others because I think this whole situation is outrageous.
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Re: one less bike...

Postby Galoot » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:45 pm

Oh boo hoo, we're supposed to feel sorry for you, when you broke the law and got caught?

"I'm going to take my bike and go home, and start driving all the time, and all you Madisonians should rise up in righteous anger to support me!" Is that really what you are looking for?
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Re: one less bike...

Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:47 pm

If there was no one around, then you had all the time in the world to ride legally.

If you're leaving Madison, why are you so concerned about what future bike cops will do on patrol?

If you can afford a car, why can't you afford the ticket?
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Re: one less bike...

Postby green union terrace chair » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:49 pm

I pull California Stops on my bike all the time. I know sooner or later I'll get caught and when I do, I'll pay the ticket, because yes, that's breaking the law.

dubmango wrote:The bike officer was less than pleased with me (probably because he had to chase me for 3 blocks).

How did he pull you over? Did he ride up abreast and verbally tell you to pull over, or does he have a little bike siren?
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Re: one less bike...

Postby Brainraid » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:52 pm

Riding on the sidewalk is not illegal in most cases in the city. Only when posted or when the sidewalk abuts a building.
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Re: one less bike...

Postby jjoyce » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:32 pm

I suppose that with programs like Bike to Work Week, this city (and others) run this risk of perpetuating the notion that riding one's bike is benefiting society at large and, therefore, simple laws can be ignored.

Is this not the same as saying the guy who volunteers to build houses for Habitat for Humanity ought to be able to run red lights when no one is around, provided he's on his way to the job site? Or the Meals on Wheels people ought to be able to go 10 mph over the speed limit? Ridiculous.

What are we doing by handing out all these accolades to those who ride their bikes all the time? Isn't the act itself the best reward? You're saving money, getting exercise and seeing the city from a better perspective. So we're good, 'kay?

Plus there's this: It's not exactly a secret that cops camp out on State ready to bust scofflaw bikers ( ... icle=29241). Happens all the time, and for good reason: State St. has a high concentration of buses and pedestrians, both of whom often complain about bicyclists who run stop signs and red lights.

The complaint about this being a horrible summer for riding in downtown Madison is, however, an excellent one, particularly as the mayor and others pat themselves on the back for opening a bike bridge and establishing these bike boxes. The construction in general is horrible this year. The city looks horrible and thanks to the coordinator who scheduled major projects on the Beltline and University Ave., good luck getting west after work.

Here's my question: Are there any incentives for finishing up these profit-sucking projects before deadline, as they did in Milwaukee for their huge project a couple years ago?
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Re: one less bike...

Postby CoffeeJones » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:39 pm

dubmango wrote:I am constantly aware of what is going on around me when I am biking,

Apparently not aware enough to see the bike cop.

dubmango wrote:...especially because of these liberties that I take (which does not include riding stupidly in a way that gives all bikers a bad rap).

Of course, running a stop just so you didn't have to give up momentum couldn't possibly be considered riding stupidly. Especially since your Spidey sense keeps you aware of all things except your arch-nemesis, the bike cop. Gotta say, I am personally glad to have you gone in a month.
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Re: one less bike...

Postby ArturoBandini » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:49 pm

Regarding the construction - riding a bike is a great way to avoid that crap. I've been riding on Dayton St. to get East-West in the campus area.

What is the legal definition of a proper stop on a bike? One foot down? At a stop sign, I would never put a foot down if there were no opposing traffic, but I generally slow down to a walking pace. One can also yank the bike backwards enough so that the wheels actually stop turning, but if you time it right, you can let go of the brakes while your body still has momentum and regain most of your pre-stop speed - the cycle/cyclist's center of mass never stopped moving.
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Re: one less bike...

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:39 pm

Even with all the construction, I have not found this summer to be particularly bad. Maybe it's the route I take. There are so many smaller roads and ways to avoid the construction that I think there is a way around it.

dubmango wrote:However, I regret to inform the world that I think I will not be biking any more in Madison.

And to you I also say boo fucking hoo. I generally try to come to a complete stop at signs and especially for signals. I will say it's not always the case. Much like I see cars who make rolling stops, I too do that on my bike. One thing I do in both my car and bike, is look for traffic and look for cops. I don't always like the laws, but I know the consequences.

dubmango wrote:I told him I couldnt afford the 60 dollar

This is just a laughable excuse. Do you think anyone who gets a ticket wants to pay it or can afford it. Most people on bikes don't get tickets. You were one of the unfortunate ones. Since you don't even know you CAN ride on sidewalks if it's necessary(or legal on that walk) then you aren't one of the best cyclist around. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
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Re: one less bike...

Postby rabble » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:01 pm

dubmango wrote:I ride hard and fast

Sorry, you lost me at that point. I appreciate your being honest about it and I think sixty bucks is a little high for that offense but the truth is that I prefer you not being around to ride hard and fast around the bike lanes I use. Too many walkers and kids and what all. I've had to stop to let some "hard and fast" rider zip past me going the other way at some tight intersections, too many times.

There's nothing wrong with riding hard and fast, except that the people who do it seem to think they should be allowed to ride like that everywhere and every time.
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Re: one less bike...

Postby CocoaPuffBrown » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:03 pm

Where can I find the MPD's public documents section? I'd like to verify if the original post is internet performance drama or a real incident.
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Re: one less bike...

Postby WestSideYuppie » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:11 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:What is the legal definition of a proper stop on a bike?

Wobbly track stand with ass way up in the air. :roll:
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Re: one less bike...

Postby boston_jeff » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:53 am

Either way, its kind of sad that cops are wasting their time on this shit...all I read about are cops busting bikers for running red lights, fining hammockers for stringing up on State Street, and undercover cops walking across crosswalks to entrap drivers who may not stop. Must be exciting to be a police officer in this town...

As a cyclist who often traverses that intersection, I rarely come to a complete stop if there are no cars or peds. And if there are peds and I can easily maneuver around them, I don't full stop. And neither would you. Unless you were a cop.
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Re: one less bike...

Postby ArturoBandini » Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:18 am

WestSideYuppie wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:What is the legal definition of a proper stop on a bike?

Wobbly track stand with ass way up in the air. :roll:

Haha, yeah. While I admit that I am not able to trackstand on either fixed gear or coasting bikes, I am baffled at why anyone would want to do a trackstand in the first place. If the track-stander is just practicing their bike handling skills, that is fine, but they are crazy think that it's actually more efficient to spaz out for 60 seconds while waiting at the light (instead of just calmly putting a foot down like a normal person).
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Re: one less bike...

Postby roadkill bill » Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:24 pm

I have to admit to audibly laughing (and almost falling over myself) when I saw a guy attempt a track stand and fall over sideways. Doofus.

If you only have a second or two until the light turns green, fine. But don't go wobbling all over the road, or riding in circles - and generally being unpredictable - if the light isn't going to change anytime soon.

Put your foot down. It won't kill you, and we promise we won't deduct any points from your coolness score.
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