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« The ups and downs of cycling casualties | Main | Procrastination »

Guns are not a safety issue, bikes are

A group calling themselves, “Citizens for Safety Coalition of Iowa,” is asking people to sign a petition that asks the legislature to create a ballot initiative for the November 2010 election that would ban bicycles on "farm-to-market" roads in that state.

Farm to Market roads would be just about any rural road in the state.

The spokesman for the group is a Dan Jones of Van Meter, Iowa, and therein lays a strange twist of irony. Dan Jones just happens to be a gun dealer, and if ever there is an issue in the United States that is all about people’s rights it is “The Right to Bear Arms.”

One would think of all people Dan Jones would be a person to uphold the rights of others; the word hypocrite immediately springs to mind. It seems gun owners have rights but cyclists don’t.

This whole petition is under the pretense of safety. How many people own guns and accidentaly shoot themselves or others? No one talks of banning gun ownership for safety reasons.

And how many people are being killed by cyclists on Iowa roads? None probably, it is the other way round, cyclists killed by motor vehicles. It is the old blame the victim.

I wonder if someone was accidentally shot by one of Mr. Jones guns, he would say that person shouldn’t have been standing there when the gun went off.

This petition has nothing to do with safety, it is about hatred of a minority who choose to ride a bicycle on a public roads as is their right.

Update  Fri. 7th, Aug.

According to this article by Ed Wagner, who researched the story a little deeper than I did, this petition does not have any legal standing and will die a natural death.

All it does is show the hypocrisy and ignorance there is out there, and movements like these just stir up more anti cycling sentiment. I think is is best just to report the matter, but not be drawn into a debate where no one wins


References (1)

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Reader Comments (11)

Sounds like another amendment to the Constitution is in order: "The right to keep and ride a bicycle wherever you damn well please shall not be infringed."

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBikingBis

This wouldn't in some way be targeted at RAGBRAI and thus in some way against the Des Moines Register would it? Has the Des Moines Register done something to awaken the ire of Iowan gun owners?

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ Ake

I just checked the petition. At this moment there were 657 people signed. Wow! I thought all the redneck states were in the south.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn B

Weld a rifle to your bike. Problem solved, they can't take away your right to bear arms... That would actually solve a lot of problems that we cyclists have...

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDN

Roads came along and gave us ample shots to call one another ignorant then we figured out we could farm that.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkelly

It'll never fly. RAGBRAI brings more money into the state than that guy's taxes do.

And for the record, the biggest redneck I know is from Maine.

August 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterToddBS

I'm glad that drivers are concerned for cyclist's safety.

If they could maintain that concern and channel it into passing safely and driving safely around us, the world would be a better place.

August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn the Monkey

Looks like the repressive, regressive attitudes from the Bush years are still with us. As a rider, I am becoming more and more concerned that shortsighted, stupid movements such as this one will succeed and a "simple" minority of people will get together and be able to dictate where (and perhaps even when) I ride my bike.

In 20 years of riding I have learned to be assertive without being rude and to follow the rules of the road in order to avoid (thus far, knock on wood) any injury or mishap involving a motorist (though a few have tried their best - that includes the drunk guy in the back of a pickup who threw a full can of beer at me and missed and the older woman who tried to run me over and then back into me on a narrow country road; just kept riding and ignored their rude behavior).

I do love some of the comments on the petition website. "Self-righteous," said the pot to the kettle? I think we all go over the line when we begin to think of anything as a right. Most everything we hold dear is a privilge of some sort, one that can be taken away under certain circumstances. Perhaps we should be grateful that we can operate a contrivance of our choosing that will carry us to a destination without too much inconvenience. Instead we get an object lesson on how hateful and simple-minded certain groups can be.

August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTruman

This reminds me of when I was in college and we were given a perspective on the cyclist/motorist interface by one of my professors. He was a Physics prof and was German. He did not own a car (this in a very redneck part of the Lone Star State) and one day did not show up for class. We were later informed that he was the victim of a hit and run accident involving a pick-up truck. He suffered a broken pelvis and had to buy a car to get around (he bought a VW). Anyway, there was a recurrent theme on many of our exams for the remainder of the semester: A pick-up truck weighing 4000 lbs accelerating at "x" feet per second, struck a bicyclist traveling at "y" miles per hour.... An eye opener as to the forces generated and a miracle that he survived. (Would like to point out the physics application from the comment posted above by "Truman": take the weight of the can full of beer and the force generated once thrown from a vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour and see how far the can penetrates your ribs or helmet).

Stay safe riders! Look out for each other.

August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEJ

As an Iowa bicycle rider who has been riding county 'farm to market' roads for years, I'm a bit bewildered as to how I'm causing grave danger to my fellow motorists sharing the same roads.

For the most part, I ride paved county roads. On some routes, I'm lucky to see more than three vehicles during a 20 mile ride. Occasionally, I might see another cyclist on the road but for the most part I'm the only cyclist out riding. I'll occupy the right third of the lane on a two lane road. This leaves an entire lane of traffic, plus another two-thirds of a lane for a vehicle to pass.

As far as slow moving vehicles are concerned, the drivers in the petition have most likely been stuck behind slow moving tractors with equipment wider than a county road lane. Most farm tractors and similar vehicles are moving not much faster than the pace I ride. You would think these drivers through experience know these vehicles, moving 20 mph or less, regularly travel these roads. What makes sharing the road with bicyclists any different, other than the fact we take up much less space?

Someone also needs to inform the petitioners that all their cyclist neighbors living and working in the state pay road taxes in the form of property taxes. Most cyclists also own motor vehicles, for which we lawfully pay taxes, insurance, and license fees. Additionally, while cycling on the road I ride as safely as possible. I stay in my lane, stop, yield, and signal as I would if I were driving a motor vehicle. I want my fellow motorists to know my intentions, and as a courtesy try to be as predictable and visible as possible.

The issue here isn't safety at all, it's tolerance. And please don't judge all Iowans as 'rednecks' based on a few incomplete sentences written by shortsighted, misguided and misinformed folks who are seemingly inconvenienced by having to slow down or move over to left a bit to pass a cyclist.

I'd also like to say the vast majority of my fellow rural Iowa motorists are patient, polite and respectful to me as a cyclist on the road. I receive many many more waves, smiles, and thumbs up and rarely any negative comments or rude gestures while I'm riding.

Share the road, ride safely, and above all...be nice!

August 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDwight

Can't we boycot corn?

August 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfreakinutz
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