I rode precisely 6 feet onto that Bridge and the fine is -also- precisely $98.00. 16 hours and 42 minutes earlier a cyclist, Virginia Heuer, the sole bread-winner for her family & producer of ads for the Target corporation, was hit-n- killed 5.7 miles away from that bridge by a guy in a car. No witnesses were present and he said, "She came out of nowhere" [referencing the frontage road he was on, that has a stop sign that separates that frontage road from one of the most cyclist-friendly streets in the Twin Cities, Summit Ave, and crosses over a well-marked bike lane] and he was released with no citation, summons, anything. His word against a dead person's. Of course, as cyclers it's an unfortunate and well-known fact that folks in cars while drifting thru, or [occasionally] completely stopping, or barrel-assing thru stop signs primarily look for... other cars, not cyclists. But lets be fair and level-headed here, he mighta had a cup of coffee, been in a heated cellphone call with his Mrs. about the dry cleaning or when to scoop up the youngin's from school or been texting his favorite paid text service like ESPN Sport's Tips or Free Mail-Order Chinese Brides. One of a million things... and hey, how can you truly blame someone for having a short attention span, when driving a car is not only a seriously expensive undertaking but boring and mundane as heck? I would also bet BIG, his whole life has changed [whether he gets off free or gets slapped with a $500.00 fine]. I feel sorry for him, but more sorry for the life he snuffed and that woman's family & friends.
Also interesting is this:
How do I teach Chloe this kind of bizarre perspective? She knows about the recent rash of Cycler/Motorist-Wins-All deaths around here, and her daddy's brush with the Police. And she immediately asked me & Amy, "Wait a minute buster... some thing's wrong here. Someone kills someone on a bicycle and walks away, and my dad doesn't see a sign and gives his license to the policeman when he didn't have to, and that gets us a $98.00 fine!?!?! That's more money than my piggy bank will ever have!! That's just not right, we gotta do something here mom & dad... the world is getting ginormously freaky these days!"
And she's right.
So, tonight, she's in the bath playing with her Barbie's and plastic Army men collection [she has them fight one another for "World Justice"-as she calls it, and the Army men always lose] and I am pondering these options:
A. Pay the fine.
B. Pay the fine in pennies on the El Dumbino w/Chloe in tow and fotograph/video the whole thing for the public.
C. Same as above but: fight it in court and lose [I'm certain] first.
D. Not pay the fine, lose my driver's license and take a serious hit [over time] on my credit report [and not be able to get a driver's license anywhere, and either drive -the few times I need to- illegally and take the risk that comes with that] or have Amy drive me [on those times I must get somewhere via car].
That's all I can think of so far.
I broke the law for sure [I checked the signage, it says "Bikers, Walk Your Bike"... I just didn't see it, bummer], and then I really screwed up by doing something instinctive from what I was taught as a youngster: show your ID when asked by law enforcement [and that's the one I really wish I could have a Do-Over on because I could have just said 'No, don't have it' and bullshitted a name and mailing address]. But I'm -also- glad I did the stand up thing regarding my ID because hiding & bullshitting isn't the way either... it seems too much "About Me & My Interests" and less "Big Picture-All of Us". Somehow I'd be less bugged if I could separate what has/was/is taking place around here lately with cyclers getting run over by folks who either flee the scene or just plain get off.
And I want, desperately need, Chloe to see something bigger out of this. If jail were an option [I called and asked, it isn't] that's the one I'd take in a second [the absurdity would fit perfectly]... but it isn't so I am left really bothered by all this.
Some things are wrong, some things aren't fair... and some things are just plain ridiculous: these seem to be my choices for how to proceed.
Keep Ridin'... Always