mike
user 3053132
Portland, ME
Post #: 404
The comments sections for both of those are pretty low-volume and relatively low-conflict.

One thing I'd like to suggest/encourage if you are over there reading the comments anyway - use that "report abuse" link when a comment is totally without merit. While I am happy to reply to "get off the road" comments with facts and laws, I don't bother engaging the trolls who simply make noise about running over bikes etc. I use the link to report them as either "hate speech" (I admit this is kind of stretch sometimes compared to hate speech against other groups, but the categories are limited) or "personal attack".

The PPH folks seem to pay attention to these flags - they took out a comment I flagged on yesterday's story pretty quickly. I flagged heyjoe in the editorial comments so we'll see if they get deleted later. I would imagine the more comments a flag has, the better the odds of getting it removed.

Trying to keep a newspaper comment area civil, on any subject, is an uphill climb. I think everyone here who comments there does a great job - the bikers come across as civil and calm and mostly ignore the "trolls" trying to provoke. Keep ignoring/reporting the trolls and eventually they will find another story comment section to have their fun in.

John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,243
You guys go for it! I have a busy day here at work and don't dare look start looking at the comments... tongue
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,245
Okay, I had a little break and decided to take a look at today's comments, and you guys certainly have it well in hand.

Here's an interesting thing about the concept of "impeding". (I know I've brought it up before, but it bears repeating for people who did not see it before.) Besides the concept that one of you quoted in the comments of "not impeding if you're traveling at a reasonable speed for your vehicle" (which, from what I have read, stems from the 2001 Ohio ruling "Trotwood v. Selz", a very interesting read on its own), Maine's own impeding law reads as follows:

§2075. Other speed regulations

1. Operation impeding movement of traffic. A person may not operate a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation of the motor vehicle or in compliance with law.

Note "may not operate a motor vehicle", and in not just one but two places! So, my reading of this statute is that it relates only to motor vehicles, as it clearly states, and therefore not to bicycles. Furthermore, someone said on another list just the other day that the majority of states also have "motor vehicle" in their impeding laws (though not Ohio, thus the need for the "Trotwood v. Selz" ruling).

You'd think that would be common sense. Yet, sometime last year or so I had an email exchange with a retired state policeman who claimed that the "same rights and duties" law meant that even this statute should also apply to bicycles, even though it says motor vehicles, and in fact that bicyclists in Maine have been ticketed for this offense.

Here's that "same rights and duties" language:

§2063. Bicycles, toy vehicles and scooters

5. Rights and duties. A person riding a bicycle or scooter on a way has the rights and is subject to the duties applicable to the operator of a vehicle, except as to:
A. Special regulations; and
B. Provisions in this Title that by their nature can have no application.

Now, the impeding statute doesn't exactly fall into the category of a special regulation or a provision which by its nature can have no application, but on the other hand, it says rights and duties "applicable to the operator of a vehicle", not explicitly a motor vehicle. I'm no a legal expert, but by my interpretation, which I have also heard other people around the country claim, is that this means if a statute says just "vehicle", it also applies to bicycles, but if it explicitly says "motor vehicle", that implies just what it says, that it applies only to motor vehicles. In other words, statute doesn't just accidentally intermingle the terms "vehicle" and "motor vehicle", it really does intend those terms to mean different sets of vehicles.

That would be common sense, but that's not what this retired officer was trying to tell me, and what he claims judges have ruled on. This might be explainable by something someone told me recently, that regular traffic judges are often just lawyers making some extra money by judging in traffic court, and therefore often don't know the obscure (let's face it) points of traffic law themselves. However, this person claimed that appellate judges are usually better informed, so appealing such a ruling might stand a better chance of success.

Maybe I should have been a lawyer! (But since I'm not, I'd better get back to work now!)
A former member
Post #: 558
I think I might be on the channel 6 news sometime soon. I was interviewed leaving the Bicycle Friendly Portland meeting today (1/9/10), and then the news van followed me home (including a stop at Federal Spice to bring a burrito home for my wife and I).
A former member
Post #: 21
Channel 6 ran the story this morning News clip
A former member
Post #: 559
And here's today's coverage of the meeting in the PPH. Let's see what the comments bring up 1/10/10.
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,248
Nice story from Channel 6. I especially like Ian riding alongside the road and showing an overtaking car start to pull around before the camera switched to another segment. I could have done without the reporter talking about people using bikes as their only means of transportation. Maybe he was just referring to Ian selling his car, which is fine, but it probably reminded many of those riding because of losing their license, etc. (As some comments from the newspaper story are intimating, but then, they always say that anyway.)

Great job, Ian! I'm glad your back healed in time for this!
A former member
Post #: 560
That was fun. It was a little weird having the news reporter follow me around like the paparazzi. I wish he filmed me on my way to the forum going 25 MPH down Antoine Street rather than 8 MPH up it confused.

I have to make an admission here. I forgot that the road next to the Merrill was a one way street. I set off in the beginning going the wrong way shock. I made him promise not to show that stunt on the news! It was an honest mistake. He laughed.

He actually said it was harder than he thought it would to keep passing me and getting far enough ahead to stop at a few intervals in time to catch me riding past.
Scott
user 5414356
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 109
Here's the letter to the editor that Shoshana mentioned at the Bike/Ped meeting:

Bicycling to work, school would be healthy, green
Scott
user 5414356
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 110
From the front page of today's Portland Daily Sun:

Cycling forum gears up to take back the streets
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