Cyclists! We need to change this. It is legal to change it, it is right to change it.Posted: January 18, 2012
We have to get/force/educate law enforcement that cyclists are not just future road kill!
If you ride regularly, other than on a trainer, you’ve probably been scared, brushed or hit on a bike by a vehicle. If you are injured or your bike or other property is damaged, a
nd you call the police/state patrol/sheriff, you are probably ignored, or if they respond, still ignored.
People are starting to take action about the issue of motorists killing or almost killing cyclists. See Tell Maui and HI that you’re not coming until they prove the place is safe and the news article Family Of Killed Cyclist Mathieu Lefevre Sues NYPD For Withholding Information. The horses are hitched; it’s time to get on the band wagon!
This has to stop!
There are several things you must do (yes I’m not suggesting I’m telling you).
Before an incident.
1. Get a law passed that gives cyclists the right to call law enforcement that makes law enforcement respond.
The law should say the cops have to show up.
The law should say the cops have to take a report.
2. If you are politically active, ask politicians if they support the right of cyclists to be on the road. The law has already allowed it, so this is to find out any bias.
Once you get an answer if is one you like to tell them you are going to support them and tell everyone.
If it is an answer, you do not like, get it confirmed somehow. Record the response or get a written response, some way to hold the person accountable later. Usually when a politician finds out, they’re commented was stupid, they correct it.
If they still stand by a negative answer, let the world know. If proof of the claim I’ll post it, and I know of a lot of other cycling blogs that will post it. Let your local bicycle advocacy groups know. (You are a member right!).
After an Incident
For what to do before an incident and what to do after an incident see: How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?
If you follow the advice in How do you prove to a cop that you were not at fault in an accident with a car when you were on a bike?You should get a response. If not, then proceed to step 3.
After an Incident and you do not get a response!
1. Make noise. Make lots of noise. To borrow an old slogan, be loud and proud.
Contact the head of the law enforcement agency and get a reason why you have not had a response. Furthermore, ask for a copy of the file on the incident. In most states, you have the right and can get this file.
Contact the District Attorney’s office and find out why charges have not been pressed against the driver. Ask for a copy of the file.
Contact the chief political politician, mayor, commissioner, governor and ask them why nothing has happened. Ask them to investigate. A month later asks for a copy of their file on the incident.
Contact the local Visitors Bureau and let them know that you have that their city/county/state is dangerous, and you will let other cyclists know. Those cyclists’ make up a big part of the economy and cyclists visit the area to ride.
The more the merrier!
Ask your friends and other cyclists to help. They can also contact law enforcement, the District Attorney, the visitor’s bureau and the media to add weight and support to what you are doing.
In all communications, it is important for both you, and others that are assisting, to copy people on the communications. In many cases the people you copy are the most important part of the letter. CC everyone above on each other’s letters. Always include any bicycle groups or clubs with a copy. Include bike shops as a cc in your communication so the people you are contacting understand that you are getting the word out.
In your communications be polite and be persistent. Set up a schedule. Give the prosecutor and law enforcement a month at first. No response gives them another month, then 2 weeks then every week. I would suggest you do this in such a way you can keep records of your communications. What you said and when you said it. Email or in writing is best.
In your communications be polite and be persistent. Do not threaten anything except your vote and your obligation to communicate. You do not want to put yourself in any box except as an aggrieved citizen or worse charged with harassing a government official.
If you have not heard anything after the first week, get on the publicity horn. Prepare a written statement of what occurred. Include any witness names and contact information. Include any photographs, GPS files, etc. and send it to every media outlet in your community and every cycling media outlet. Most will ignore it, but on a slow news day, you may get lucky.
You want your initial contact to be valid enough so that you are not considered a whack job by the media. You want to come across as a member of the community hat was almost killed, and you want to know why the police have not done anything.
If you want to invest a ton of time, you can go to the courts in many jurisdictions and request a special prosecutor. A special prosecutor is one from another county whom the court orders to investigate the case and see if charges should be brought. This is rarely granted, however, it will show that you are serous, and it will help get more media interest in your case.
You may never get a ticket issued against the driver. However, you will let the community know that cycling is dangerous in your community and what politicians and other elected officials think about the issue.
If enough people do something, something will happen. Eventually, law enforcement will track down and start issuing tickets to.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
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