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« Accountability | Main | Deadly Weapon »
Monday
Jul042011

Monday Musings 


The 98th Tour de France is under way; that is well over a 100 years this event has been run because the only thing that stopped it was two World Wars.

Cindy Boren writing in the Washington Post seems to think there will be a void in this year’s event caused by the absence of Lance Armstrong.

That is hilarious. The Tour de France is a true international race, and one of the biggest sporting events in the world; larger than any one single rider, even one who has won the event a record seven times.

This is the problem with many American sports writers and pundits, they think if it isn’t an American sport, or there isn’t an American winning the event it isn’t worth considering.

The National Championships of some American sports are called “World” Series or “World” Championships. It is like saying we will call it a World Championship, but we will not invite other nations 'cos it's our ball, and our game, and they wouldn't win anyway.

Strangely Cindy Boren ignores the fact that there are other Americans riding in this year’s TDF, and two of them Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer (Above.) have the potential to do quite well.

But of course Cindy Boren like most Americans only knows of one cyclist... Lance Armstrong

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The next time you hear that tired old argument that cyclists should be licensed and bicycles should be taxed; ask this: Who will issue these licenses and collect these taxes?

The answer will probably be the DMV. That is the Department of Motor Vehicles; with the emphasis on “Motor.” However, a bicycle doesn’t have a motor. End of argument.

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The State of Tennessee is among the latest to bring in a 3 foot passing law for motor vehicles passing cyclists.

They have also gone one step further and brought in a “Due care” law.

This means a driver won’t be able to hit a cyclist or pedestrian and go, “Whoops, sorry I didn’t see them.” Penalties if someone dies include a $500 fine, just under a year in jail, and driver’s license suspended for a year.

Many will say this does not go far enough for the loss a human life, but it is a good start; more than some other states are doing.

One commenter on my last post suggested the “3 foot passing sign” should be added to the “Share the road” signs; I think that is an excellent idea, actually I think it should replace the Share the road sign.

“Share the road” is so wimpy, it is like asking “Pretty please, let me ride my bicycle on your road.” I notice too that the 3 ft. passing signs also say “Please,” in most cases..... Why? I agree it is nice to be polite, but we don’t have “Please” on speed limit signs.

If something is a law it is not an option. The words "Share" and "Please" imply that one can say "No." Drop the “Please,” and the sign will say “Cyclists have a right to be here, give them at least three feet when you pass because it is a law.”

 

                        

Reader Comments (8)

Good points on the signs.
Should be standard issue in every state/country to remind drivers that space and diligence in passing is required.

Slow change, but it appears to be coming.

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBig Mikey

I read somewhere that baseball's "World Series' was so named as it was originally sponsored by a news paper called "The Wolrd". Makes sense insofar as very few other countries play baseball at all, let a lone professionally.

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJW

I'm not a big supporter of "Share the road". It's a little better than nothing. Seems to me like it's throwing a bone to cyclists.

I'd rather see "Cyclists have full use of the lane" signs, and maybe some actual consequences for hitting or killing cyclists.

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSCPaul

Hi Dave, I agree that most American sports journalists have no clue how big cycling is in Europe and elsewhere. It's true that Lance Armstrong has really put cycling on the map here in the US. As someone who has spent a lifetime involved in the sport in one way or another, if it weren't for his accomplishments cycling would be just another "yawn" sport. It's only us bike "Nuts" who follow all the races, ride for health, sport or pleasure that seem to recognize the US involvement inthe TDF or other races whether here or abroad. The Amgen Tour of California is starting to pick up more spectators and fans and hopefully other big up and coming races will do the same. Lets here it for our competitors!!!! I agree with you and the others that the signs on the road are improvements, but leave off the politeness. Big signs, big fines and big enforcement will go a long way towards improving our safety on the road. The lack of these will only continue to allow ignorant, rude and rowdy drivers to continue to do as they damm well please. As others have stated, "It's a start."

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Even better than 3-feet signs (probably best in conjunction) would be more sharrows. I'm sure there's a good reason for this, but I wonder: why aren't ALL roads (that cyclists can use) marked with sharrows? I'm not certain that they actually do anything, but I gotta think something painted on the street catches the eye even better than a sign. Also not a fan of "Share the Road" for the reason you listed.

I'd also be in favor of permanently taking away the license of anyone who murders a cyclist (or a pedestrian, or another driver) but I've been told I'm fairly draconian on that.

July 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Stage 3 winner: Tyler Farrar

U.S.A.!
U.S.A.!
U.S.A.!

As a proud American, I agree that many Americans are self-concerned jerks. But they are OUR self-concerned jerks!

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMe!

So true about the Lance thing. Americans' knowledge of international sport is very poor. If it's not a money-maker for TV advertising then it does not really exist, as far as MSM in the USA is concerned. There are so many more sporting events that Americans could embrace and enjoy if they had better coverage and information about the numerous "other sports". There really is more to life than baseball, football and basketball.

July 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjeff simmons

I really dislike share the road. There is no sharing in the vehicle code. You have legal right of way or you don't have it. Bikes use full lane is much better and should be used with sharrows.
The down side of three foot laws, to me, is the inflexability. A large truck passing you at 50+ mph is way too close.

July 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRalph

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