At first glance one would think a room filled with top ranking law enforcement and disgruntled cyclists would quickly erupt into hysteria, but thanks to the cooperation and good intentions of everyone involved, tonight’s meeting with “the chiefs” to discuss the perceived bias of law enforcement against the cyclist was a complete success.
Thanks to the cooperation and initiative of Sheriff Haley and our very own Terry McAfee, we cycle commuters finally got to let it out, all the hoots, the near misses, the “I didn’t see you”s, the “get off the road!’s,” and why it seems like there’s nothing being done to keep the peace. We got to hear the other side of the story too. The fact that 1.2 officers per 1000 people make it pretty difficult for officers to respond to every complaint of erratic driving. Our goal was to begin a much needed conversation with the people who can make our commute safer, and I think we got the point across. So, thanks Sheriff Haley, thanks Lt. Donnelly and thanks everyone for attending and speaking up and making it a complete success. We look forward to working together in the future. You can find Heidi’s notes of the meeting and more pictures under the “Advocacy” page.
I agree with what Carrie said. I expected a hysterical shouting match, but everyone, without exception treated each other with the utmost respect.
It seems as though Law Enforcement’s hands are somewhat tied when citing people who run cyclist off the road or are involved in a collision. As such it seems that some new laws need to be enacted to stiffen penalties for drivers, with the hopes of raising the level of cyclist awareness.
I must also say that I was impressed with Sheriff Haley for refusing to leave without scheduling another meeting at that time. I think that shows real commitment to the cause. All in all a great meeting that shows there are committed people on all sides of the law ready to make nevada safer for cyclist.
So glad this happened! I have to admit that I’ve not had the experiences in Reno that some of our friends have had, but would have liked to be able yo make it anyway. Glad to see that all the proper organizations were represented. TBS, RBP, RW, TNRG, and NBC!!!
The future of cycling for transportation in reno is looking better every day thanks to the leadership of people like you guys. Thanks so much!
I am amazed that so many senior law enforcement officials came to the meeting. Were they motivated because the cyclists were organized into a citizen’s group? Did they come because they know that many more bicyclists will be on the roads this summer? Whatever their motivation, everyone is excited to move forward to work on improving bicycle safety together.
There were two issues that seemed to ignite the most passion among the cyclists and the police: motorist aggression and the imbalance between penalties in a motorist / bicycle collision. Sheriff Haley called it “proportionality”. It just seems unfair that when a motorist who is clearly at fault collides with a bicyclist he receives a “failure to yield” or similar citation, a slap on the wrist, while the bicyclist is maimed or worse. The police are just as frustrated that there isn’t more that they can do than write a ticket.
Motorist aggression is going to be attached with an educational campaign led by the Sheriff.
Here’s a idea to attack the “proportionality” issue. Why don’t we follow the lead of Oregon, who passed a “Vulnerable Roadway User” bill (HB 3314) in 2007. Essentially, a “vulnerable user” is someone who has the right to use the highway who isn’t surrounded in 3,000 pounds of metal. If a motorist seriously injures or kills one of these users, he faces fines of up to $12,500 and other penalties. Here’s a link so you can check out the details – http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/laws_regs.shtml.
And here’s a discussion of the effort required to get it passed – http://www.stc-law.com/vulnerable.html
I think we should add that to the list of changes we will be seeking to the NV laws that protect bicyclists.
Anne Macquarie has posted her notes on the meeting over on the Muscle Powered Blog. It’s great to see cyclists coming together like this!
When and where is the next meeting?
Judy, there is no follow up meeting of a similar big group. The follow up meetings were with a smaller group and the Sherrif to plan a video. A SNCAT program was done and aired. A follow up video about riding safely in Washoe County / Nevada is in the concept stage.