Friday, September 23, 2011

Big Changes Start With Small Steps...

Last week, at the end of my post, I hinted that this week's post would be about helmets.  Well, sorry.  It will not be.

Now that it is darker later in the morning and earlier at night, I had to dig out the bike lights for my road bike, check the batteries, and attach.  As I rode mile after mile looking at another rider's rear red blinking light in front of me, I could not help but think back to an older blog entry I posted: "The Hours of Darkness."

In that entry, I discussed the rules regarding lights and reflectors on bicycles, such as where those items should be located on a bike and when the lights need to be turned on.  What baffled me was that the law stated, "a lamp emitting a red or flashing amber light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to but not in lieu of the red reflector."  Thus, if you only emitted a red light from a rear lamp, and had no red reflector attached to the rear of your bike, you were in violation of the law.

What!?  According to the law, a reflector, which only reflects light if light is produced upon the reflector, is better than a bright blinking (or steady) red light.  Ah yes, that does make absolutely perfect nonsense.  However, just like having to signal turns with only your left hand  (which if you ride in a group you know is a big no no), these laws are throw backs to older times when drivers had to stick their arms out of automobiles to signal to other drivers that a turn was imminent and batteries and red rear lamps did not exist (I think, not sure on the batteries and am not going to research for sake of this entry).

So, I came in to work today intent on writing a piece on why some laws for cyclists should change to reflect changes in society and innovation.  And then I opened the Off the Couch blog on JSOnline and found out that the Bike Fed already has a legislative effort in place to change these laws: to let cyclists signal with either hand, and dispense with the red reflector if a red rear light is used, among some other changes. YAY!

So I will not wax poetic today dear readers.  Instead, I have included the following links for you to read about this issue (don't worry, the articles are short and worth looking at).

Next week... maybe helmets.

Have a great, safe weekend.  And if you are a Tosa Spokesmen riding to Madison on Saturday- good luck, stay safe, and enjoy the beer at the end!

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