Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Hey, There Ought to Be a Law!'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Hey, There Ought to Be a Law!'

Article excerpt

All too often, when people want to impose their will on others, they shout, "There ought to be a law!" Ironically, just as often, such people rant against government interference in their lives.

When I see drivers smoking in cars with windows rolled up and un-seat-belted children bouncing around inside, my indignation level rises quickly. After an incredibly deep breath, I realize that if they are stupid enough to be doing that, pointing it out to them would not help the situation.

Not long ago, a UPS driver passed me safely and pulled to the side of a quiet street. He waved me over and made a simple request. In a column, would I please ask blade skaters and people pushing baby strollers to pay attention to other traffic.

He shares my frustration with those who act as if the rest of us must pay attention to them as they ignore others while gliding completely across narrow roads and take over more than a whole traffic lane as they push in tandem.

This seems to occur most frequently on First Street in Neptune Beach and somewhat often in Jacksonville Beach. Public Safety Director Bill Brandt says that those pushing strollers, blade skaters and runners are considered pedestrians and should face traffic at all times.

Brandt says he even runs against traffic at 5:30 a.m. on First Street because one never knows when a car may suddenly approach. He knows of no accidents involving baby strollers, but he shares the valid concerns that the UPS driver expressed to me.

As a bike "offender" who merely stops peddling at most First Street stop signs and who can be seen slipping through tiny gaps in tight traffic, I am well aware of the apparent hypocrisy of my positions here. Over 30 years of bike commuting have given me a certain safety edge in traffic not always grasped by others.

Drivers also offend non-car people at times, but I do vividly remember four occasions when I nearly paid for my bold riding in traffic. …

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