Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Your voices were heard!

Thank you to all of you who emailed and called to voice your concern over the incident involving Todd Brawell! Also, thank you to Lenoir Chief of Police Joey Reynolds for taking our concerns seriously enough to meet with Jeff first thing this morning at the shop. But the real attention should focus on Todd's interaction today:

I just wanted to let everyone know that I also have been contacted
by the Chief this afternoon. We had a very positive and lengthy
discussion about this matter. It is obvious that our voices have been
heard on this issue. The chief mentioned several times about all the
calls and emails he has recieved over this issue. I told him that the
cycling community feels strongly about this issue. I explained to him
that my issue wasn't seeing someone "get a ticket" but that I was
very concerned that this sets a very dangerous precedent. The chief
explained that even in automobile accidents they do not always cite.
I do not think this is a wise policy but it is the policy
nonetheless. He did go on to say that in all accident cases a report
is filed which shows the "contributing factors" to the accident. In
other words it declares "fault" in a round about way. I asked had
that report been filed in my case and did it show fault. He said he
would pull the report. I also asked if I could have a copy. I
explained that I thought a declaration of "fault" would be a step in
the right direction. Within 10 minutes I had the report delivered to
the church office. It does indicate that the driver of the
vehicle "failed to yield the right of way." I feel much better about
this situation after talking with the chief, receiving the report,
and seeing how they responded to this issue after so many voiced
concern. I ended the conversation by assuring the chief that I
support the very difficult work they do in law enforcement and that I
appreciated him contacting me personally. Thanks to all who voiced an opinion in this issue. Your voices were heard loud and clear.


Chief Reynolds voiced some concerns with Jeff in their meeting this morning that I would like for us all to address. Let us be very clear in acknowledging the support that the Lenoir Police Department and Chief Reynold in particular have shown towards cycling and cycling events in our community. The police department has always been helpful and courteous whenever we have approached them with regards to an event. One thing that was foremost in the conversation was the question posed by the police, "What would you like us to do?" This seemed to be posed in a way as to what would we ,the local cycling community, hope to gain from voicing our concerns in this matter. That is a big, weighty question...

Jeff and I have both had friends who were killed by drivers who "didn't see" the cyclist that they ran over. In all of these instances, the cyclists were obeying the laws and were killed by drivers who were guilty of some minor traffic infraction, such as failure to yield the right of way. I would hope that by our vocalizing concern for how this situation was handled, that the police department might take these "minor" traffic infractions a bit more seriously. It is important for all of us to realize that the only protection that we have while riding is from the code of safe conduct that is embodied by the traffic law. I hope that the message we gave to the police department is how disheartening it is to feel that the apparent protection of the law might not really be there for us. I for would like to see our voices of concern heard now by those who are charged with protecting our safety, rather than having to wait for more sorrowful circumstances. For me, ghost bikes are too late.

We are all loved by someone, be it our parents, spouses, children or friends. We all deserve to be safe. We all deserve to be seen.

Let Chief Reynolds know that we appreciate his attention to our concern and that we hope to maintain a meaningful dialogue with the Police Department over matters of cycling safety.
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