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Motorist Shoots at Cyclist for Carrying Child in Bike Seat


Asheville, N.C. – Motorist Charles Alexander Diez (photo at left) has been charged with first degree attempted murder after shooting at a cyclist carrying his child in a bike seat. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Diez, 42,  apparently fired at the Asheville man after arguing with him about riding his bike on the busy road with his 3-year-old child in a bike seat behind him, Asheville Police Capt. Tim Splain said. Diez was driving his car off Interstate 40 at Exit 55 at about 11:24 a.m. Sunday when he saw Alan Ray Simons and his wife riding bikes up the road with Simons’ 3-year-old son behind him in a bike seat, he said. ‘He decided he needed to tell them he thought it was unsafe that they would do that and have their child out there in an area where they had a lot of traffic,’ Splain said. Diez stopped his car and confronted Simons near 1360 Tunnel Road. When Simons began to walk away, Diez shot at him, Splain said.
The bullet blew a hole through the outer lining of Simons’ helmet and went straight through both sides of it, but he was not hit.Simons and others who witnessed the incident took down Diez’s registration plate number and called police. After consulting with the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office, police charged Diez with one count of attempted first-degree murder. ‘A matter of an inch or less in either direction would have meant that bullet could have easily killed Mr. Simons,’ Splain said.
Buncombe County Sheriff’s deputies found Diez’s vehicle at his home on Rowland Road in Swannanoa and arrested him. Diez was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of the shooting and has no prior criminal record, Splain said. He has been employed by the Asheville Fire Department since February 1992, according to interim Chief Scott Burnette. Diez has been placed on paid leave during the investigation, Burnette said.”

Schottelkot in College Township



A new word was added to the official Danish dictionary last year. Speaking at Velo-City 2009 in Brussels, Copenhagen mayor Klaus Bondam, said “schottelkot” (bicycle congestion) entered the Danish lexicon because rush hour bike commuters in larger Danish cities sometimes wait through 2 or 3 red light cycles at major intersections. Bondam described the phenomenon as a sign of the city’s successful policy of promoting cycling and walking over car use. He went on to outline Copenhagen’s plan to alleviate bike congestion by taking more space from cars for bicycle infrastructure.

            While some city governments work for solutions to scottelkot, government is behind the source of this summer’s major impediment to bike traffic flow in College Township. Cyclists and Pedestrians have been asking why a bike path tunnel has been closed for construction for over six weeks when no work is being done in the tunnel.

            The College Township Bikeway paralleling the highway 322 bypass is the major access route to campus and downtown for bike commuters living in the eastern part of State College. Since June 15, the bikeway has been bisected by closure of the tunnel carrying it and Slab Cabin Run beneath College Avenue between the College Township municipal building and the bypass. The closure is part of a project to use purified wastewater as a heat source for the township building by tapping into University Area Joint Authority beneficial wastewater reuse pipes south of the tunnel. The connection will also serve the new College Township Alpha fire department substation. Two years ago UAJA tore up the path from the tunnel to Centre Hills Country Club to install the pipes. That project was carefully planned by UAJA for mid-winter to minimize impact on path users. College Township’s project has closed the path during the season of heaviest use. I interviewed Adam Brumbaugh, College Township Manager on July 29. He admitted that levels of path use and timing of the closure were not considered when the project was planned and approved by the township council. Moreover, he confirmed that the project does not involve any work in the tunnel itself. He had just come from a meeting in which he learned that major obstacles encountered by the contractor in creating a separate tunnel to carry the pipes under College Ave. have caused delays that will keep the path tunnel closed indefinitely. Photo0298

            Signs announcing that the tunnel would be closed June 15 were posted on the bikeway on June 8, leading bike commuters to believe the closure would be for one day only. The College Township Parks and Recreation Committee oversees maintenance of the bike paths. According to two committee members I interviewed, the committee was not notified of the project or the planned path closure. According to Brumbaugh, the tunnel closure was to last no more than three weeks while a short segment of path in front of the tunnel was dug up for pipe connections to be placed. After closing the path, however, the contractor did not follow the work order, so the connections have still not been made, and the path remains closed. Brumbaugh mentioned the possibility of reopening the path until the contractor gets to that part of the job, but no decision had been made at the time of our interview. Here are some other questions I put to Brumbaugh, and summaries of his responses:

Question: In 2000, in response to the alarming rise in obesity and related diseases, the U.S. Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control issued a Call to Action to all levels of government to provide and maintain infrastructure to promote bicycling and walking. In response to worsening air pollution and alarm over rising levels of greenhouse gases and climate change, federal, state, and municipal governments and agencies have adopted sustainability policies which promote alternative transportation. Does College Township have a sustainability policy?

Answer: No.

Question: Does College Township consider bicycling and walking forms of transportation, and is there any formal township policy in that regard?

Answer: The township does not have a written policy, but does consider biking and walking modes of transportation.

Question: Road closures are preceded by extensive notifications. What notification efforts did the township make before the path closure?

Answer: Notice was placed in the Centre Daily Times.

Question: Why was no detour provided as would be for a road closure?

Answer: No detour was considered because the path was expected to be closed for a relatively short time.

Question: Since all the intersections surrounding the township building are posted with “no pedestrian” signs, the path through the tunnel was the only legal way to walk there. Is it now illegal to walk to the College Township building?

Answer: I can’t answer that.

            Brumbaugh was clearly displeased at the course of events, and he expressed regret at the prolonged path closure. He emphasized that the township wants to promote cycling and walking, pointing to the policy of encouraging sidewalks and bike infrastructure with all new development projects. He also pointed out that the township is a strong supporter of Penn State’s plan for a bike path to connect the Puddintown path to Porter Road near the baseball stadium. He expressed a desire to work with CRBC and the cycling and walking communities in the future.

            Clearly, State College is not Copenhagen, and we have a long way to go before the work of CRBC toward safe connected bikeways can be considered complete. According to U.S. Secretary of Transportation, “Bicycling is an important factor in less carbon-intensive commuting” . We can only hope our municipal and regional officials will see the need for more effort on their parts to move this great project forward. temporary_bike_bridge_Delft

< Path detour with temporary bridge

    Delft, Nl.












                                                                                                                         Path detour- Santa Monica

Seeking bike regulation in Colorado


News out of Jefferson County, Colorado is that the Jefferson County Commisioners are hoping to propose state legislation to allow individual counties in that state to ban bikes from roads they deem unsafe for cycling.

As the term “ban” is rather incendiary, they are choosing instead to refer to it as “regulating” and going on to state “We need to look at (laws) that make certain roads in the county (unusable) by bike traffic.” In short, banning bikes from said roads.

An article in the Columbine Courier gives some context for this action:

Griffin said conflicts between cyclists and motorists are a statewide problem and need to be addressed. She added that the scenery along some Jeffco roads, coupled with the technical challenges cyclists love, means the county needs more authority for the sake of safety.

“I can understand that they’d love to have a bike tour in the mountains because of the beauty,” Griffin said. “But they have to understand — we have stacks and stacks of e-mails from citizens that live there (opposing cyclists).”

Griffin’s right — numerous Deer Creek Canyon residents wrote to the commissioners opposing the proposed cycling event. But a lot of supporters also live in the area and wrote to the commissioners, according to a sample of e-mails submitted.

Griffin acknowledges that many county residents are also cyclists who pay to maintain the roads, and that barring them from some roads might not go over well. But safety concerns are paramount for her.

“We want to have people enjoy our mountains and our roads, but we don’t want to have someone killed doing this.”

Of note is the fact that Commisioner Faye Griffin never mentioned what might cause these fatalities and whether or not regulating the cyclists is truly the answer.

Denver’s ABC affiliate has video online regarding this story. Bicycle Colorado is urging some level of restraint on the part of its membership while they and Bike Jeffco work with the commissioners on this issue.

Boulder County saw a “clash” just over a month ago in which a cyclist reportedly spewed obscenities at a driver and his seven year old daughter, then proceeded to punch the driver’s truck. A witness stated otherwise, but greater detail was not available in the Daily Camera article of the event. What was mentioned, however, is that Colorado is set to enact its 3 feet passing law in August.

3-2-1-Courtesy-CodeBeginning Aug. 5, a new state law will require drivers to give cyclists three feet of space when passing, while at the same time giving riders more leeway to cruise in the middle of roadways and ride two-abreast in most situations.

Sheriff Joe Pelle has warned for weeks that tensions between drivers and cyclists have been on the rise, especially in the mountain communities, where the law will almost certainly force drivers to give cyclists more room on the road.

Pelle said that while the weekend incident “doesn’t amount to a crime wave,” it is a sign of the kinds of tensions that he worries about.

“It is indeed troubling, but I don’t know that it is the result of anything new and different,” Pelle said.


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