Sunday, February 07, 2010

I found this letter to the editor of the Key West Citizen, written a few days (1/29/08) after the press release cited in the previous post.
Lawsuit is real motive behind bike enforcement   
Modern police departments try to be proactive and engage in strategic planning. Our chief of police seems to work strictly on a reactive basis, as the recent press release on bicycle enforcement dutifully printed by the Key West Citizen once again makes clear.
The Key West Police Department is currently being sued by a Bahama Village resident who apparently was singled out by officers 10 times for alleged bicycle offenses and other charges. The real cause of this harassment was more likely the unhappiness of police officers who had been videotaped in Bahama Village while making arrests. The press release is merely a much-too-late and much-too-little tactic to make believe they really care about law enforcement and bicyclists.
The Key West Police Department never has enforced traffic laws concerning bicycles in my experience in the six years I have been in Key West. Heck, they don't even pay any attention to what is happening around them, windows rolled up and air conditioning blasting as they speed past. They can't hear a thing. It must be nice to slurp at the taxpayer trough without worrying about the cost of gasoline.
There is a really obvious example demonstrating they have no concern for public safety concerning bicyclists or unwitting tourists, and this latest press release is just a public relations ploy.
It is one thing if a bicyclist endangers their own life, but it is something altogether different when unsuspecting tourists are endangered and police and Code Enforcement is blind to it, year after year. I have never seen a pedicab with a headlight. Their tiny flashing taillights usually look like the battery is ready to die. You are lucky to see them 6 feet away, much less 600 feet. These cabs are several feet wide and seldom are ridden close to the curb. The revolving door of seasonal, and probably illegal, pedicab operators think they deserve a lane of traffic. Customers constantly are endangered by the pedicab drivers going through red lights, failing to signal any turns, and otherwise ignoring traffic laws and common sense. I doubt they get any safety or traffic training at all. The police just let them do anything they like. When a customer gets seriously hurt or killed and the city gets sued for their gross negligence, maybe then someone will pay attention.
The point is, they never have had headlights as the law requires. The Police Department never has done a thing. ...
Only when they get called on something by the press or find themselves in court do they respond. Let us see if they can manage to follow through, or if it is just another misleading press release.
Dan Schramm
Key West


chillwill said...

I guess things have changed for the better as I have never, ever seen a pedicab without a headlight since I moved to the island fulltime in January, 2009. Not once. Never.
I have also rarely, maybe twice, seen a pedicab run a red light. I ride my personal bicycle every day and actually operated a pedicab for four months. The consequences for any operators not using lights or running red lights were very severe at the company I worked for; as in a $500 fine and you're done riding for the night and maybe for your career. It's a stupid thing to do and only a small handful of idiots do that stuff and usually don't last too long at the job.

I agree irresponsible riding is dangerous and should stop, but disagree about the statement that cyclists/pedicabs shouldn't be able to take as much space in a lane as safely needed. The law clearly says they can.

Also, FYI, there was safety training done when I started.
And, FYI, someone did get hurt a few years back from irresponsible riding and won a $major$ lawsuit against one of the companies. It was in the papers and is common knowledge in some circles.

I'd like to add that the speeding taxicabs at night are a FAR FAR greater safety issue to the people of the island.

Theo Glorie said...

Hi Bob,
Could you call me at the Coffee Plantation?
Or at my cell?
This is in regards to your Citizen story this morning in the newspaper.
Talk to you soon,

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