Wednesday, April 2, 2014
In a Midwestern town, on a cold February day, a 10-year-old girl is abducted by a man in plain site of concerned citizens. Android, smart and Blackberry devices quickly recorded hard evidence of the tragic event. Calls were made to 911 and automobile make, model, color and license number were immediately relayed to the authorities. Computers whirred and clicked as fast fingers coaxed forth the information that would identify the perpetrator of this ghastly kidnapping. A suspect leapt onto the laptop monitor, an address was relayed to the mobile units, and heavily armed authorities sped to the location to intercept and arrest the deranged criminal. The suspect was confronted and arrested. The innocent child was dead. “Gun Advocates,” as a newspaper insidiously refers to them, rejoice that no concealed weapon was in the hands of a mere citizen. Hard-core, constitutional carry, God-fearing, clear-thinking citizens of action, weep and wish that they had been there in that brief moment when a different outcome could have been assured.
Mark R. Shields
Before responding to recent letters in the Moultrie News, I’d like to make one simple plea – think about how much you really are slowed by bicyclists, by passing safely, and by whether, in the scheme of things, that really matters. Right now during reconstruction of the multi-use path on Ben Sawyer Boulevard, the speed limit is lowered to 35. Is that a huge hindrance? So, is that bicycle a huge hindrance?
Now to the points raised in the letters:
1. State law and bicycle lanes: SECTION 56-5-3425. Bicycle lanes.
(A) For purposes of this section, “bicycle lane” means a portion of the roadway or a paved lane separated from the roadway that has been designated by striping, pavement markings and signage for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists.
An example of this exists on Coleman Boulevard, where in portions of the road, the road is marked for bicycle use. The multi-use path adjacent to Ben Sawyer Boulevard was not and will not be marked for “preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists,” because to do so would exclude joggers, walkers, etc.
For the second point, Wonders Way (path attached to the Ravenel Bridge) is a tremendous resource, and bicyclists and pedestrians gratefully share it. Much like a recent letter’s observation of bicyclists in the designated walking area. A recent, serious collision was caused when a pedestrian darted into the bicycle area to pick up money without looking for bicycle traffic. I make here a general plea for pedestrians to look before passing other pedestrians, and of course pledge to do the same myself.
2. Passing too close/condoning gestures:
My conclusion of passing too close came from previous comments about unwillingness to move into the opposing lane, and from the resulting gesture. Area bicyclists can easily testify to the frequency of unsafe automobile passing. While some states have a measurable standard, like three feet, S.C. 56-3-3435 says simply, “A driver of a motor vehicle must at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle.” The interpretation of safe distance is up to the bicyclist – since he is the one at risk. Many, including myself, use three feet as an inviolable minimum.
3. Choice of path/sidewalk/road:
Mount Pleasant recently revised its statutes to allow bicycle riding on sidewalks. In a recent meeting on bicycle and pedestrian travel, the town promoted using sidewalks for bicycles. I have ridden on the new sidewalks on Hwy. 17, near Wando, for example, and find them to be an excellent extension for safe transit. However, I also defend the right of bicyclists that choose to ride, as permitted by law, single file in the rightmost lane of Hwy. 17. If anyone dislikes the law, petition to the legislature is available.
4. Taxes/sidewalks/bike paths on the new Hwy. 41 bridge:
A recent letter posits a separation between taxpayers (motorists) and non-taxpayers (bicyclists). There are several problems with putting this separation forward – first, most bicyclists also own automobiles, and thus pay ad valorem taxes, gas tax, etc. Most bicyclists pay income taxes – studies show that tolls, gas tax and vehicle taxes only pay for around half the cost of roads. Most of those funds go to roads that bicyclists can’t use – freeways and interstate highways. Many roads are poorly designed for bicyclists, with designated paths, lanes, etc., few and far between.
5. Bantering and obeying traffic laws:
Hopefully I was not bantering by bringing up facts (35.7 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese, per the CDC). Trying to get people to leave their automobiles at home and hop on a bicycle to ride to work, to school or to the grocery store seems to be a good goal, with many positive results. I am an enthusiastic supporter of obeying traffic laws – both for autos and for bicycles.
I support orientation and training for bicyclists, and diversion into Bicycling 101 classes as an alternative for first offenders.
As a further example, S.C. law 56-5-3470 requires a light and a reflector at night; I support ticketing bicyclists violating this law.
You should adopt an animal because they have no home and if you get one, it would make them happy.
When you give them a bath, they will smell like fruit. They’re also very friendly. Another reason is animals who have homes are healthier because the owners play with them and get them exercise. It concerns me because they get disease and their hair falls out.
Laurel Hill Primary School
Student of Martha Brule