Letter to the Editor

Caution for bicyclists

Sunday, July 29, 2012

To the Editor:

On Saturday, July 21, 2012, RAIN (Ride Across Indiana) took place in our great state.

It was a great success, according to (another media outlet), which featured an article about the event, now in its 26th year.

I am writing this letter in hopes of getting the attention of the promoters and sponsors, but most importantly, the riders.

On that Saturday morning in less than 45 minutes, I personally heard of three different instances, here in Brazil, Clay County, of near tragedy.

At the Speedway East fuel center, I talked with a fuel tanker truck driver, who asked about all the bicycle riders coming through town.

Having read an article in the paper the day before, I tried to relate to him what was taking place, as does every year.

He then told me of witnessing at the intersection of State Road 59 and 40, several riders ignoring the red traffic signal, and almost getting run over, by a pickup truck with a trailer, which had the green light.

If he had not jammed on his brakes, he would have plowed right into them all.

In the second instance, I heard a similar story, riders almost getting run into, at another intersection while at McDonald's.

Then while in Kroger, yet another person, while waiting in the checkout line, was telling the folks in front of him about another instance at the intersection of Alabama Street and United States 40.

The riders, completely ignoring the traffic signal, and riding through the red light.

First of all, not everyone knew, or knows about RAIN, not only here in Brazil, but I suspect along the entire route. Second, the last time I checked, bicycles were supposed to observe "all" traffic regulations, the same as motorized vehicles.

This includes red lights, stop signs, etc., according to Indiana Code 9-21-11-2, and Indiana Code 9-21-11-11.

Unless coordinated with law enforcement in advance, in order to have an officer in place at intersections to stop traffic and wave riders through red lights, these riders are "not" in compliance with the existing law, and are putting their lives in danger, as well as others.

Please don't misunderstand. I think that RAIN is for a good cause and is a great event for our state, and the organizers do a good job.

However, they need to go a little further with their planning and coordination.

Hopefully, this will prevent a needless tragedy, which could result in the loss of a leg, arm, being paralyzed for life or worse, the loss of a human life.

After all, isn't the bottom line here the preservation of our most valuable asset: Human life?

Chris Wood,