Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bicycle safety rolls to forefront in aftermath of Huntsville cyclist's death

HUNTSVILLE, AL -- A group of local cyclists is determined to make automobile-obsessed Huntsville safer for people on two wheels.

The year-old Bicycle Advisory and Safety Committee met Tuesday at City Hall to hear concerns and gather ideas from the public. And there was plenty of concern in the wake the city's third bicycle traffic death in 13 months.

Around 2:15 a.m. Saturday, 49-year-old cyclist Henry James Luhana was found dead near Oakwood Avenue.
Police first described it as a hit-and-run, but Capt. Rodney Baker said doubt remains until an autopsy is done. No witnesses have come forward, he said.

Much of Tuesday's discussion focused on rude drivers who don't like sharing the road with bicycles.
Savannah Clark, 15, said she and her friends have been tailgated and honked at while pedaling around Five Points.
"We're following the laws, but a lot of people in cars are yelling and cussing at us," she said. "So many times I've heard, 'You're supposed to be on the sidewalk.' "

City Administrator Rex Reynolds, a former city police chief, said Alabama should consider making it illegal for a driver to come within three feet of a bicyclist. Several other states already have a "three-foot rule," he said.

Mayor Tommy Battle created the task force on the heels of Sarah Chapman's death. The UAH student was killed while riding her bike on Technology Drive in September 2008. The driver of the sport utility vehicle that hit Chapman was never charged.
Baker said bicycle-car wrecks are fairly rare. There have been 16 reported so far this year out of about 7,000 total accidents citywide, he said.

Reynolds credited Battle with making bicycle safety a priority since taking office last November.

In recent months, the city has earmarked $5,000 for "Share the Road" signs, printed 10,000 bike route maps and had every police officer take a refresher course on bicycle laws.


JR said...

Lets stop with the signage for the moment and buy lights for people who can not afford them. It seemed like during the meeting they are saying that the cyclists do not have lights on their bike.

clintpatty said...

I have heard some homeless people express that they do not want lights. They want to ride on the wrong side of the road and people not see them so they don't get harassed. And so they can see when motorists are about to throw stuff at them. This works ok on streets with gutters, and it's sad that is a reason influencing how/where you ride.

Bello Velo said...

Good point Clint, I think the city and basc should be made aware of this and once again we can work towards more motorists awareness.

I do think to as commuters we see these things or sometimes have the same things happen to us because we are not in spandex etc... we may sometimes be mistaken as homeless. The interesting part is they also get to see some of us fight back, verbally or giving the finger and even reporting it, so motorist are probably being reached a bit this way as well.

Anonymous said...

maybe some homeless people are homeless because they really are just dumb as shit? you dont get to make up your own rules and do what you want assholes; you make us all look like dicks. ride on the correct side of the road and use lights or f'ing walk.

Bello Velo said...

I do not know these people or if they are homed or homeless. I assume they are more like all of us and trying to survive day to day here.

You (anonymous) on the other hand are a dipshit and make all humans look bad with your narrow minded arsenal infused diatribe.

fuck off

Anonymous said...

people should obey the rules of the road for their/others safety and out of respect for other cyclists. Its not like they make the rules of the road to discriminate against certain demographics although im sure you have some theories. If they dont want to ride on the correct side of the road and use lights at night, stay off the road. thats not hard to understand. if you dont like the rule either have it changed, shut your mouth and do it anyhow, or dont ride, its that simple. dont presume that because i dont feel sorry for them and i want them to obey the traffic laws that i dont want them to enjoy cycling because that's not the case at all. Like all the alcohol companies say, enjoy responsibly.

selfrighteousone said...

Dear Anonymous,
You sure like to "obey" don't you? I am sure those people have heard you and have changed their ways. I bet they are lining up at all the bike shops to get some lights and shut their mouths.

I bet you have never "disobeyed" any laws either.

I do think a certain demographic is focusing a lot of energy trying to police people who they will never talk to or reach.