Last week we heard from Megan Hottman, the Cyclist Lawyer, about her impressions of the Jefferson County Roadway Safety Meeting. This week, her teammate on the Cyclist Lawyer Cycling Team, and Bicycle Colorado Bike Educator, Katie Macarelli chimes in with her funny yet extremely insightful thoughts on the meeting via an open letter to 303Cycling.
Please join Katie and Megan in making Jeffco safer for cyclists by attending the next Bike Jeffco public meeting at the Golden Capitol (the Taj) on Tues. Oct. 9th.
First of all, this was the first time in my life that I drove up Lookout mtn. I still feel dirty about it. I felt particularly guilty as I passed 4 cyclists battling it out through sheets of rain in my warm car on the way up. I'm still trying to recover.
I arrived to a surprisingly small room. Probably only about 30-40 chairs set up. I swiftly positioned myself next to the people I assumed were cyclists. Rather easy to make that distinction. But all in all it was rather peaceful. No torches or pitchforks. By 8:30, I felt it best to unwrap the bike chain I had wrapped about my knuckles in preparation for an all out battle. (sigh).
The County Commissioner went through a bunch of data, blah, blah, blah, used the word "interface" all too much and confessed (but almost proudly) that he grew up in a 1 car family but now is a 4 car family plus a motorcycle and an RV. Okay, perhaps I'm making the RV part up, but you get the picture. I think I threw up in my mouth at that point.
Then Lt. Jim Lucas spoke. Did a great job. Answered some basics about laws (people really have a hard time with that 3 feet to pass law). And then Will something or another spoke about the plan. It was all happy feely until someone asked, "So about how long is that proposed plan going to take to implement. It's fabulous. But is it like 4 years or...40 years?"
I leaned forward as the city planner was making uncomfortable faces and whispered to the man who asked it, "Let's put it this way. You'll be DEAD."
"Um...more like 40."
[cries of outrage, squeals of pain, and sighs of sadness]
Then it came for the public speaking. Can I just say, Kris. As a parent, please teach your kids to speak confidently and SUCCINCTLY in public? I'm thinking of hosting my own mandatory off-shoot group of Toast-masters 30 minutes before any more of these meetings. Most people were decent. There were only a few crazies. One guy. Bless his heart. He is VEHEMENTLY opposed to "cyclist's anonymity". He wants license plates. Yes. Full on 8x3 inch license plates that cyclists will have to have on their bikes. He brought props. He tried to restrain himself, but in the end, he got a little shaky and mad and the phrase, "SOMETIMES THE ONLY THING PEOPLE RESPOND TO IS THE HAMMER!" I had to lean into my purse to hide a giggle, since he was soooooooooooooooooooo serious and all it really made me think of was M.C. Hammer. (please don't hurt him!).
Anyway. I really wanted to ask, "Is anyone researching the possibilities of creating an infrared scanning mechanism? We install it in the front of all cars. All cyclists must be genetically chipped in their backs. So any time a car rolls up on a cyclist, the infared scanned chip will light up through our skin and jerseys and you can have all our personal info in the blink of an eye. Speaking of eyes. We should also install chips in our retinas so if we make eye-contact when you are passing us and we flip you off (which apparently happens All. All, the time) you can also get our address right then and there so you can sneak into our bedrooms at night and club us to death. I'm kind of just thinking aloud here. Anyone want to run with this?"
One lady almost started crying when she said that she gets flipped off every single time she enters or exits her driveway on Lookout. Crimany. Could we PLEASE not do this, people??!?!? For some reason the woman turned and looked right at me the entire time she was explaining her plight. Perhaps I looked a little too sympathetic. I must have already put the chain away at this point. I nodded sympathetically and tilted my head in understanding. It would be a pain in the ass to live on Lookout. We turned a house down there a few years ago because of this very reason. That and the motorcycles. Well, really the motorcycles and the broken glass, but still. Spread the word to fellow cyclists: QUIT BEING ASSHOLES and ruining it for everyone.
In the end, we got a few more people interested in Bike Jeffco, I got to hang out with Lt. Lucas a bit afterwards while I was eating a bag of trail mix supplied by the Commissioner's office and then I drove back down Lookout cursing on every corner that was not nearly as fun.
Read more about Katie and her work with Bicycle Colorado's Safe Routes to School program