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Posted by on Feb 26, 2010 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

Thoughts on delay while stuck in traffic

I have no excuse but pure laziness. Yesterday evening was beautiful and the wind had even calmed down, but I didn’t feel like riding. So I dragged my feet until time dictated I use the car. Or so I thought. What I forgot about is rush hour traffic.

When I got to General Rees & Glenridge, the traffic was at a standstill. It took eleven minutes to go from General Rees to Lakemont — that’s 3/4 of a mile at a breathtaking speed of 4mph (at the speed limit it would have taken a little over a minute). Between that and looking for a parking space, the trip took me about 5 minutes longer by car than it usually does by bike.

But these were my thoughts while I sat in that traffic jam:

In the history of the world, has a cyclist ever caused a ten-minute delay to a motorist? Critical Mass doesn’t even cause a ten-minute delay! My friend ChipSeal was convicted by a jury of motorists (not his peers) of impeding traffic on a 4-lane Texas highway because he had the audacity to make them change lanes. If they were paying attention to the roadway well ahead of them, they would not have even had to take a foot off the gas pedal to change lanes. He broke no laws and not a single driver’s trip time was affected by his presence, yet they not only cited him, they arrested him!

The precedent set is that cyclists should be relegated to an inconsistent, debris-filled shoulder to avoid making motorists slow down for a fraction of a minute, at most… while motorists delay each other for fractions of hours.

A fund is being set up for ChipSeal’s appeal. I will post details when they are available. In the meantime, if you’d like to get involved, contact PM Summer.

3 Comments

  1. Makes me glad I have the copy of Florida Bicycle Law Enforcement Guide and Florida Bicycle Street Smarts. :|

    A “jury of motorists…” That gave me a laugh.

  2. Way to raise the profile of this case, Keri. I hope everybody who reads about it and is concerned spreads the word that something bad has gone down, because it isn’t over for him or any of us.

  3. Actually, to be more precise, the motorists convicted Chip of three separate charges of impeding traffic. What’s more, there is a fourth charge, in another jurisdiction, still pending. Chip has not actually found out what the roulette wheel of charges has stopped upon on the last charge. It’s changed at least three times so far, from the original one of “riding a bicycle on the road.”

    One thing I found inspirational is that there was one professional driver in the arrest cam videos. An 18 wheeler that passed Chip in the rain, on the scary highway without any hint of drama or brake action of any kind, though I’m sure it looked very scary to the jury. Myself, I wanted to stand up and cheer at the smooth action of a professional on the job. I was just a spectator and maintained decorum. I’ll take riding with the big rigs over the hybrids any day of the week.