Partnering with Law Enforcement for a Better Community

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.

— George Bernard Shaw

Making Cycling Better in Lake County

3ftsign

The first step in advertising law enforcement support for cyclists in Lake County

The Lake County Bicycle Alliance was formed by a group of cyclists who had had enough. Many of us who enjoy riding in Lake County have seen an increase in hostility over the years, progressing from honking to buzzing to assault.

This spring, a coalition of recreational and commuting cyclists organized a meeting with Sheriff Borders to form a partnership to make Lake County a more civil and safe place to ride (once again).

I attended that meeting in Tavares and found the Sheriff to be receptive and concerned. I was equally impressed with the organization and presentation of the cyclists. They didn’t go there to complain. They went there to propose a partnership for economic development, civility, livability and the betterment of their communities. I think that has a lot to do with their success.

Their second community meeting was held last Monday and was attended by 14 law enforcement officers and ~40 cyclists.

The Sheriff’s office is now using mobile traffic signs to broadcast their intent to enforce the 3ft law. I’m not sure how they’re actually enforcing it, but regardless, the signs send a strong message of law enforcement support for cyclists. That’s significant.

On Friday, the Alliance cyclists took a reporter from the Daily Commercial for a bike ride. There will be a 2-part article on cycling at the beginning of this coming week. There are plans in the works for a bike ride with law enforcement officers, as well.

Also in the works is a billboard campaign featuring local business people who are cyclists.

When people get together with a positive goal and a well-considered strategy, they can make things happen!

7 replies
  1. Rantwick
    Rantwick says:

    “On Friday, the Alliance cyclists took a reporter from the Daily Commercial for a bike ride. There will be a 2-part article on cycling at the beginning of this coming week. There are plans in the works for a bike ride with law enforcement officers, as well.”

    We’ve talked about both of these things in the comments on previous posts; I think it is fantastic that anybody got them to happen. WTG, Lake County!

  2. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    So, how many people who throw things, buzz, etc. have been charged with assault with a weapon and jailed?

    Call me skeptical, but I believe that until serious, well-publicised jail time is handed out for these crimes of violence they are not going to stop.

  3. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    One more comment –

    In 40 years of riding my bike in Ontario I have never, ever had anything thrown at me from a motor vehicle. Rantwick can perhaps comment on whether this has ever happened to him in London.

    Why? One reason is that if this were to happen, the police would throughly investigate this serious crime of violence. If there was enough evidence to secure a conviction, the judge would hand down an appropriate sentence – and everyone knows it. An assault involving throwing something is good for up to 10 years in prison.

    From Canada’s Criminal Code:

    267. Every one who, in committing an assault,

    (a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof, or

    (b) causes bodily harm to the complainant,

    is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

    R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 267; 1994, c. 44, s. 17.

  4. Eric
    Eric says:

    I suppose this is progress. The fact that LEO showed up to the meetings at all is progress.

    The one, and only, time I had a beer bottle whiz past my ear at 60MPH happened in Lake County. I knew better than to complain to the Sheriff, since I knew my complaint would be viewed with skepticism. Why was I out on the road doing something so dangerous with my toy?

    So I took care of bidness myself. That’s the way we did things in Lake County back then. Sheriff Borders will have a long row to hoe to get me over my skepticism that my way wasn’t better. After all, could I prove that the car that tossed the bottle actually did it? How could I do that? But I recognized the car.

  5. Eric
    Eric says:

    I forgot to add that there were 6 kids in the car. How could I name all 6? And which one of the six let fly with the bottle? How would I prove that?

    For a criminal conviction, those are the things I would need to prove.

  6. Laura
    Laura says:

    Because Lake County has been listed by Bicycle Magazine and other publications as one of the best places to ride in the country, they have a vested interest in making sure it continues to be one of the best places to ride. It’s rolling hills and semi-rural character are very attractive to cyclists, but they won’t continue coming if they’re treated shabily.

    I’m glad to see the sherriff and cyclists come together to make things more civil. I think letting things slide in the last few years along with suburban sprawl has turned a lot of cyclists off of riding in Lake County.

    I commend the cyclists for bringing up reasons other than ‘safety’ to LEOs and the community as why cycling needs to be encouraged.

  7. Herman
    Herman says:

    Great quote from Bernard Shaw, Keri. My personal favorite is very similar.

    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
    — Mohandas Gandhi

    These are sentiments which seem to be lost to members of contemporary society. Many expect to have their solutions handed to them on a silver platter, without the blood and sweat of accomplishment derived from working for change themselves. Worse are those who fail to look inward, recognize their own contributions to the problem and strive to change or adapt themselves.

    The partnership you describe is an excellent example of working toward a cooperative solution.

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