"Where I disagree with Alex - but only slightly, because I definitely understand his point - is that it's still wrong to ride through a red light, even after stopping completely and with no traffic around or in the pouring rain. "
There is a significant difference between "wrong" and "illegal". Blowing a red light at an empty intersection is illegal, not wrong. Furthermore, these archaic, ineffective traffic laws that are indiscriminately applied to cyclists are slowly being phased out across the country. If the act of blowing a red light at an empty intersection gives a person cause to hate on cyclists, odds are they were looking for an excuse to justify an existing negative bias in the first place.
Those are the types of people that shouldn't be licensed to operate a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, critical thinking and reason isn't a prerequisite to obtain a license.
As someone who lives downtown and is an all season cyclist, I really don't see this working out at all. Don't get me wrong, it's a great idea, but there are so many other issues that need to be tackled first. I'll list some of my concerns below.
- For starters, bicycles are meant to be ridden IN the road with traffic, not against it. I've lost count how many people I've seen riding either in the sidewalk or (even worse), riding AGAINST traffic. Not only are both of these actions illegal (not that RPD enforces these law at all), they're unbelievably unsafe. There are a bunch of groups in Rochester attempting to alleviate this problem through education, but I think a lot of people default to riding in the sidewalk or against traffic because they don't feel safe otherwise, which leads me to...
- Driver education. There are far too many idiots (notably, from the suburbs) driving two ton metal death machines that think bicycles are supposed to "get in the sidewalk" and that it is perfectly okay to lay on their horn while riding a cyclist's ass. I have video from last week of some douchebag in his mid-20s that did exactly this to me. He ended up getting stuck at a red light after passing me and I caught him at the light, telling me that I should be in the sidewalk. Unfortunately, it's a mindset that a good portion of drivers seem to have. These drivers need education more than they need a ticket, which is the only recourse currently.
- Infrastructure. Okay, so the city/county has been trying to make some progress on this, putting in bike lanes and sharrows, opening new bike trails, publicizing bike week in mid-May, etc. However, this is only going to make a difference if they're utilized properly. Nearly every time I go out riding, I see someone using the bike lane on Monroe as another lane to pass someone turning left. Not only is this illegal, I've been nearly hit about a half dozen times by people doing this because they're not even checking for cyclists. Silly idea, right? Who would think to check a bike lane for a cyclist before illegally driving into it? Moreover, I see people, parking, walking, skateboarding, or biking in the wrong direction in these bike lanes on a semi-regular basis. Until people are ticketed by RPD patrols for parking or passing in the bike lanes (and pedestrians spoken to and/or ticketed), there's really no point in having them. I've been out to Montreal and the some of the side streets have concrete barriers separating the bike lanes from the road, with directional arrows. More importantly, the SPVM (Montreal Police) ACTIVELY enforce proper use of these bike lanes.
- Enforcement. I've already mentioned this a few times above, but what I really want to rip on is RPD's selective enforcement of inane laws requiring lights and bells on a bicycle, especially the latter. I'm hesitant to open Pandora's box by drawing attention to this. Anyone biking at night should have some kind of lights, but at the same time, bicycles are seen as a cheap, efficient alternative to driving a car. Giving someone a $25 - $100 ticket for riding a bike without a light at night (especially when they can't afford it) is on par with giving the motorist I mentioned above a ticket instead of education. As far as not having a bell goes, it's a ancient law that should be removed from the books. However, it takes an unnecessarily amount of political power to get a law removed and in the meantime, it's used by our local police department to stop anyone "suspicious" on a bike or charge any cyclist that has brought forth the ire of a police officer for whatever reason.
- Urban cyclists. I couldn't think of a better word for this paragraph, but it's a lesser issue involving a relatively small group of cyclists in the city that mindlessly bomb red lights, weave in and out of traffic, cut in front of cars, and generally piss off motorists, giving people a bad perception of cyclists or reinforcing an already hostile one. Don't take me wrong, I'm all for blowing a red light or stop sign IF there isn't any oncoming traffic (this article does a good job of explaining my thoughts on this http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/po…), but this isn't what they're doing. It's this kind of behavior that perpetuates this motorist vs. cyclist/us vs. them attitude that scares away potential new cyclists.
To paraphrase, a bicycle sharing program in Rochester without addressing these issues first is either going to:
- a). unleash more clueless people biking the wrong way on the road or in the sidewalk; or
- b). not take off at all because there are so many existing issues that make biking downtown scary and unsafe for the uninitiated.
Disclaimer: when I started typing this out, I didn't expect it to become this long. I've needed to vent on this topic for a while now and I've only scratched the surface.
Before I even type this out, I want to applaud the author for accurately and beautifully summarizing the Breakfast Buzz as "never an oasis of intelligent discourse".
Maybe I'm alone in this opinion, but they've been espousing the same abusive, bigoted, hateful comments for awhile now, whether it's about a specific person or group of people, under the guise of some sort of self-appointed moral judge. This happens to attract some of the lesser minded individuals that can't help but gossip about people they don't know. Until now, they never went into a tirade that caused a backlash like this.
An indefinite suspension is good PR, but I'd really like to see them fired and ultimately forced to find work in the radio industry outside of the Rochester area. The show contributes next to nothing good. I can feel my IQ dropping any time I end up accidentally tuning into it on my morning drive. The entire show is an embarrassment to our city.
A good quote that is widely attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, currently disputed, sums my point up well:
"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people."
To paraphrase, Kimberly and Beck (and a good portion of their listeners) have the mental capacity and emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Do we really need or want such vile ilk in this city? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for freedom of speech, but there is a line drawn on what can and cannot be said without consequences and it has been crossed.
I'm not a practicing lawyer, so you take what I say with a grain of salt. However, I have represented myself in city court before and successfully defeated contempt of cop like charges (e.g. disorderly conduct, etc.) before.
Pro-cop and cop apologists immediately try to discredit people that, god forbid, suggest the thought of disobeying a police officer. Let me elaborate.
The police are public servants that exist to enforce the law and prevent crime. We can all agree on this because it's unequivocal fact. The opposing viewpoints come down to, generally, how police officers accomplish their job. I don't want to turn this into a debate on selective enforcement of laws, misconduct/contempt of cop, and other related topics. This isn't the place.
The point I want to make is that, and there is legal precedent -- this is not my opinion, that the police do not have the legal authority to order you to do something solely because their a police officer. There are, however, many different situations where they can to enforce the law or protect themselves from harm (the latter is frequently abused to unlawfully order bystanders to leave the area to prevent them from recording an officer, or they're asked to outright stop recording -- this is how Emily Good ended up arrested a few years ago).
All that being said is why I commented in the first place. As vehemently as I disagree with George's comment about "ignoring a simple request is the kind of stupid and irrational righteous insolence that many people have for authority", I pick my own battles. It's one thing to go out of your way to challenge an officer's authority because you have a chip on your shoulder and something else entirely refusing to obey an unlawful order to move or stop recording an officer when you suspect misconduct on their part.
Lastly, I have some choice words for George and Sean. We live in a world where many people possess the mental capacity to challenge authority when it is abused, instead of blindly following along like a sheep. When police officers stop abusing their authority, more people will be disinclined to challenge it. Trying to paint these people as "disrespectful" or "insolent" doesn't do you any favors.
In RPD's case, they have a long history of misconduct and abuse of their authority, which instills distrust. Incidents like this do not help reinforce any trust. Believe me, I have all the respect for the stereotypical honest police officer trying to do his job. I'm not going to come up excuses for officers that do something they shouldn't have, trying to justify "all the crap they deal with" to throw out logic and slam three teenage kids with a plethora of violations because they offended an officer's sense of authority and importance.
"And yes, technically, even if they weren't blocking the entrance, if a police officer told them to move, they should have moved."
No. Never. A million times infinity no.
If a police officer tells you to move, you do not legally have to move unless you are actively committing a crime, interfering with an investigation, and so on. Mind you, this comes a day or two after a young man, not under investigation, was beaten by the RPD for refusing to leave a public side walk.
Waiting for a bus isn't a crime and it's borderline pathetic to try and justify and/or rewrite RPD's actions in this situation.
Since other people have already pointed out the underlying racism, I won't keep beating a dead horse.
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