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Give me a "high 5".

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I got my 3 foot passing law passed in the state of Tennessee. I wrote a proposed resolution that states a vehicle must pass a bicycle or such conveyance at a safe distance with a minimum of 3 feet clearance, and it passed, apparently with no negative votes. Not a new concept, but it is in this state. Now my job is to educate the public. Am I done?
"I'm just gettin warmed up".! I'll be back in Nashville on Monday!
post #2 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

I think that that law, if it is at all similar to the one proposed in California, is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of.

What good does a three foot pass do when the truck going by you is doing 75? Or if the person is talking on a phone? Or drunk? Or just plain not paying attention? More laws will simply give the cops another excuse to write more tickets, giving more money to the beaurocracy and saving absolutely no lives.

All they have to do is make it legal for drivers to cross a 'double yellow' in order to pass bicyclists. That would reduce some of the problems without having to ticket more drivers. It won't save any lives either, but perhaps it will end some of the pointless incidences of road rage.

I've had countless near-accidents, and been hit once. None of those would have been prevented by passing another law. Even simply having the right-of-way will not help you if you are hit by a vehicle that weighs 15 times more that you...
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeHueco
I think that that law, if it is at all similar to the one proposed in California, is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of.

What good does a three foot pass do when the truck going by you is doing 75? Or if the person is talking on a phone? Or drunk? Or just plain not paying attention? More laws will simply give the cops another excuse to write more tickets, giving more money to the beaurocracy and saving absolutely no lives.

All they have to do is make it legal for drivers to cross a 'double yellow' in order to pass bicyclists. That would reduce some of the problems without having to ticket more drivers. It won't save any lives either, but perhaps it will end some of the pointless incidences of road rage.

I've had countless near-accidents, and been hit once. None of those would have been prevented by passing another law. Even simply having the right-of-way will not help you if you are hit by a vehicle that weighs 15 times more that you...

The same logic as speed limit signs,stop signs,child molestation laws etc.
You want a perfect world ,I assume and people are not.
This law will be named for a cyclist that was killed.
Don't be so negative we can't cure all the worlds ills but we need to try and start somewhere.
post #4 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Indeed...kudos jhuskey!
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Quote:
Originally Posted by rule62
Indeed...kudos jhuskey!
Thanks,but that was the easy part. Now myself and others need to make a consolidated effort to educated the public.
Awareness is the key.
post #6 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Congratulations...one more step in the right direction.

FreeHueco, I can't see what harm comes from such a law, and the poster acknowledges that education is a huge part of the solution. Having a safety guideline like this on the books seems like a useful part of a larger plan to encourage safer road-sharing. I'm puzzled that you're so cynical about truckers, talkers, and drinkers driving unsafely, and yet believe that legalizing crossing the double-yellows will protect us from unsafe drivers. Laws about right-of-way, traffic signals, etc., formalize common expectations for everyone on the road. They're not a solution in themselves, but I think they do more good than harm. Laws like the new one in TN also formally acknowledge our right to be on the road, which I think is a Good Thing.

Ride safe and ride happy...
post #7 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeHueco
...I've had countless near-accidents, and been hit once...
I'd be guessing that the vehicle that hit you was inside of the 3' no-go zone(?) Exactly as JH said, laws against speeding etc, don't prevent people from doing the action, but they help to discourage it. Extending your argument would suggest that all laws should be removed, as they do not prevent people from breaking them.
Well done, JH.
post #8 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

The driver of the vehicle that hit me did not see me. What good would the 3-foot zone have done? This law will ONLY give the cops an excuse to write more tickets. People that are driving blind will still not see you. The law will not save you or anyone else.

Passing laws is just a feel-good response to a situation. Drivers that are paying attention will still (as they have always) properly yield the right-of-way to cyclists even without a new law on the books.

Realism is often confused with negativism, but don't let that stand in your way of being prideful of adding a new law to the books in your state. We need more laws after all, especially ones that will bring more money into the state coffers that they can use to reelect the damned politicians.
post #9 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeHueco
The driver of the vehicle that hit me did not see me. What good would the 3-foot zone have done?...
I think we realise that - the reference was facetious. I don't know what laws are in place where you live, but I do know many of those applying to where I live. The reason for placing legilation such as this in place is that many people, without being aware of it, are not able to make informed decisions on such a matter without guidance.
For example, where I live, legislation was enacted to reduce the speed limit in school crossing areas during the times around when children arrive at, or depart from, school. This has had a noticeable impact on the speed at which people (generally) travel through these areas (at least at the school my children attend). It hasn't slowed everybody, and it doesn't physically prevent anyone from going too fast, but it has reduced the speed of many people who previously thought they were fine to be traveling through there at open road speed.
If your argument holds water, it should be reasonable to abolish all laws, as they are merely means of filling government coffers. Anarchy has its place, but not in my back yard...
post #10 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

The state of California recently passed a law that says that you have to drive with your headlights on while it is raining. Guess what? A lot of people still don't turn their headlights when the rain starts falling. These are the same people who will not yield to cyclists. And guess what? They are the same people who won't change their driving behavior regardless of what laws are passed.

What's next? Are they going to start banning cyclists from the expressways because they are too dangerous for us? Should they relagate us to the sidewalks? Ban us from mountain roads? Make us install engines so we can keep up with traffic?

In California, cyclists have the same rights and obligations on the road as drivers. We are supposed to be equal in the eyes of the law. Passing a law that puts on a pedestal above the drivers is surely the first step in banning cyclists from the roads.

This has nothing to do with anarchy, but everything to do with common sense. Anarchy has no place here either, people just need to wake up and take some sort of responsibility for their own actions.
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Accountability is the word that I believe fits and I agree that it is a high time that the individual is held accountable for his or her actions and the results of those actions.
The guidelines need to be in place for those individuals.
post #12 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeHueco
...people just need to wake up and take some sort of responsibility for their own actions.
I think some of us see laws like this as a means of communicating the expectation that people take responsibility for their actions. I'm curious, though, if not these laws, what other methods might be effective at achieving changes in behavior?
post #13 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Quote:
Originally Posted by SEAcarlessTTLE
I think some of us see laws like this as a means of communicating the expectation that people take responsibility for their actions. I'm curious, though, if not these laws, what other methods might be effective at achieving changes in behavior?
Part of the equation is dealing with human nature. A portion of my work involves control of 100+ employees and subcontractor employees in West Africa. When we make suggestions of how to behave (in the broadest sense) in order to make things run smoothly, a few will listen. When we put rules in place for how to behave, most will listen. There always seem to be some who do not listen, and there are consequences that arise from that.
The large benefit of the rules comes not from being able to sanction those who break them, but from being able to educate those who don't by putting a standard in place which is not open to interpretation. Rightly or wrongly, people believe that rules arise out of research, and tend to place more credence in advice that uses a rule as a reference point, than otherwise.
The following relates to where I live, so may not be universal, but serves as an example - Not very long ago, the use of handheld mobile phones whilst driving was considered an acceptable practice. There was advice out there that suggested it was not, but few (including myself) paid any attention to that advice.
Through research and lobbying, it became illegal to use handheld telephones whilst driving. It took some time (and some coffer-filling fines), but such use is now an exception, rather than a norm. Without any prompting from me, I notice my children pointing out when they see someone driving whilst using a mobile phone, and stating that the action is "wrong".
It would be nice if people could be guided by education-alone, but laws help to pick up those who are not reached by reason alone. Laws don't prevent people from breaking them, but they encourage people not to. If that removes 10% of the behaviour, that is a positive outcome.
post #14 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeHueco
The state of California recently passed a law that says that you have to drive with your headlights on while it is raining. Guess what? A lot of people still don't turn their headlights when the rain starts falling...
...But, presumably there are people who now do turn their headlights on, who didn't do so prior to the law being enacted. Whether this is a 'good' law or not, it still has an effect on human behaviour:
1)-Some people will turn their headlights on because they have reasoned from the available evidence that it is a sensible thing to do.
2)-Some people will turn their headlights on because it's just such a fun and wildly exciting thing to do.
3)-Some people will turn their headlights on because there is a law that says they should.
4)-Some people will not turn their headlights on initially, but will start to do so after an attack or two on their wallet.
5)-Some people will not turn their headlights on initially, but will start to do so once they see 'everybody else' doing so (resulting from the above behaviours).
6)-Some people will not turn their headlights on - "They'll have to prise this light switch from my cold, dead hands...".

The law will not alter the behaviour of groups 1, 2 and 6, but it will alter the behaviour of groups 3 & 4, and will have a flow-on effect to group 5.
The end question - Is a greater proportion of the driving public in California using their headlights when raining than prior to the law's enactment? If "Yes", then the law has probably had an effect on driving behaviour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeHueco
...In California, cyclists have the same rights and obligations on the road as drivers. We are supposed to be equal in the eyes of the law. Passing a law that puts on a pedestal above the drivers is surely the first step in banning cyclists from the roads...
I understand your point, that distinguishing legislation can be the thin end of the wedge, in a move that sees bicycles relegated to cyclepaths. This may well be true, but consider this - It may well be that there already is no equality in the eyes of the law, nor in practice. Aren't motorcycle riders required to wear helmets in California? Presumably car drivers are not. This would suggest that these two groups are not being treated as equal in the eyes of the law, but rather as being equivalent. If they were equal, the same rules would apply to all.
Whilst laws may serve well to fill the coffers, that is seldom (at least where I come from) the prime reason for their enactment. It is, rather, a byproduct. If people choose to contribute to the coffer fund, so be it. If they don't wish to contribute, the easy way for them to gain exemption is for them to modify their behaviour. In the process, perhaps there will be one less person having a close encounter of the nature that you and I have experienced (my last one being getting t-boned by a taxi in Kuala Lumpur - for a short period, I found I could fly...).

Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeHueco
...This has nothing to do with anarchy, but everything to do with common sense. Anarchy has no place here either, people just need to wake up and take some sort of responsibility for their own actions.
Acknowledged, and I agree. It's just that some people are either incapable, or unwilling, to wake up of their own accord.
post #15 of 37

Re: Give me a "high 5".

Indeed, motorcycle drivers are required to wear helmets. And I think that bicyclists should be required to use them as well (and not just the kids). Having a helmet destroyed while you are wearing it would make anyone never want to go without one... The equivalent for the cars is that drivers are required to wear seatbelts.

Another issue that I was thinking about whilst out riding home tonight...

If drivers are required to yield three feet to cyclists, why aren't cyclists required to yield three feet to cars? Surely there can't be any situations where it would be safe to pass that close? Oh wait, I do it all the time. And this is where the slippery slope begins. It's only a small leap from, 'hey, why don't the cyclists have to obey that law?' to 'they have to obey that law as well'. When you get there, your entire advantage in city traffic has disappeared because you can't dart through holes in traffic anymore. Can we live without the joy of passing cars with less than a foot of clearance?
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