I went to a planning meeting for the Bicycle Master Plan last week. This sort of thing gives me chest pain. Public forums are notorious for moving at a snails pace. I wasn’t looking forward to it but hey, as a member of the press I figured it was my right to attend (really these things are open to the public).
So off to city hall I went. When I walked in late I was at a loss. Where was everyone? I expected the place to be slammed. Nope.
There were maybe 20 people sitting around a bunch of tables. The master mind behind the Bicycle master plan was there. Seems like a smart guy. There was lots of talking going on, I sat and observed.
As the meeting was closing down there was talk about other aspects of the master plan. The topic of education came up. The main question was how does the general public become more aware of cyclist rights to the road? Ideas such as a section of drivers-ed and DUI programs devoted to bikes were tossed out. This is when I spoke up, someone mentioned those little bike stencils on the street. Hands down I think that is the best way to prove to that ass clown honking at you/me that I can ride my bike here. Then we talked about DUI’s some more.
Stop signs were a very hot topic that night. They talked about cars running lights and their cycling counterparts. The overall the group seemed to be in favor of giving out tickets for red light runners, cars and bikes alike.
What the hell!?! Why in the world would someone shoot themselves in the foot like this? Advocating stake outs at commonly ran stop signs is beyond stupid.(think the Burke-Gilman trail) If a bike runs a stop light it’s probably for a reason, that light was more nuisance than good. Common knowledge should tell you if you can cross that street or not. I’m not advocating asshole bikes ride through red lights and disrupt traffic. But I’m also not going to support anyone who wants to tell me that I should wait 45 seconds at a light that clearly has no cross traffic. I will always jay walk when safe; I will treat all red lights as a stop and proceed when clear. I will strive not to disrupt the flow of the city.
The icing on the cake was after the meeting. When unlocking my bike one of the board members was there. She said something like; well I know we don’t always stop at every light…WTF!?!
I have no idea what power the master plan will have on the city of Seattle and handing out tickets, maybe none. If you’re reading this there is a good chance you ride a bike, if you live in Seattle do you and me a favor and show up to one of these meetings at some point. They apparently aren’t in touch with real bike riders.