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6.07.2012

METH vs PEDESTRIAN LAWS

Reading the newspaper today, our local law enforcement stated that it is cracking down on pedestrian and bicycling infractors.  It said they would begin fining bicyclists and pedestrians up to $150 for not following the law  The county I reside in was recently named the second largest meth lab producing county in our state.  I so agree that man hours and fines for bike and pedestrian infractors are more appropriate than an obvious drug problem! (sarcasm)

The article went on to state that pedestrian laws, article something something something, states that  .....pedestrians must use sidewalks where provided.  If no sidewalk exists, a pedestrian must walk against traffic.  Bicycles must ride with traffic with cars giving them at least a 3 foot lane width.  Both pedestrians and bicycles must have reflective lights/gear beginning a half-hour before dusk until half-hour after dawn.

I was already in trouble as I read.  One more thing that my money would now have to go to, a fine!   It was inevitable that I would get one.  I'm not too awful good at abiding by sidewalk laws.  Especially as a runner.

Last summer my husband and I were stopped by a police officer while out for our nightly walk.  In our neighborhood the sidewalks start and stop in different stretches.  So, instead of zig zaging to the sidewalk only to be back on the road when they end and then back again, we stay on the road.  The several miles aren't traversed a great deal with car traffic, but more so by kids, bikers, runners, walkers, dog walkers, skate boarders, etc.  He asked that we use the sidewalk as they were trying to get kids to be safer by using them. 

I explained to him that we both ran, and that running on a cement sidewalk was hard on the body and dangerous.  He said that even running should be done on a sidewalk.  What did this extremely overweight cop know about running?  He looked like if he had to chase a criminal he would die of a heart attack at the end of block one.  Patrolling in his cruiser and donuts looked like they had played havoc on him!

When a car backs out of a driveway into the road they have to back over the sidewalk to see the road in full.  Many drivers don't first stop at the sidewalk and then roll further backward to the street.  NOPE!  It is one fell car movement.  Being on a sidewalk running or walking as a car is backing out is absolutely frightening.  It's a dance of whether they see you or not.  As a runner, you end up slowing or stopping which is defeating the purpose of a fluid run.

Personally, I feel much safer walking and running against traffic in the street than on a sidewalk.  I am more in control of on-coming traffic and there is less chance of being hit by a car backing out as they can clearly see me. 

I have changed the name of my Christmas Fund at the bank to my Pedestrian & Biking Fine Fund. 

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