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Handlebar Bike Art

Handlebar Bike Art

Anne and I drove to the Grove, for an evening of Trailnet on Tap at the Handlebar, a bike-centric drinking establishment. After enjoying a beverage and a repast, the bar quieted down to hear attorneys Karie Casey and Dave Nelson address the legal rights and responsibilities of people who ride bicycles in traffic. Karie is our long time friend and fellow Kaldi teammate. She stood for the defense. Her also bike friendly colleague, Dave, represented the plaintiff’s point of view. Each speaker gave a brief introductory talk, but most of the evening was laid open to questions from the audience.

The Handlebar audience was primarily young hipsters, who rode to the event. We were easily two standard deviations away from the median age in the house. The audience was attentive and asked a lot of good questions. The event could have gone on longer than the allotted time. There was some discussion and clarification on Missouri bicycle laws, but most of the meeting had to do with what you should do if you are involved in a crash.

Things that I learned:

  • Bicycle laws are local; they vary from state to state. The rest of the lessons learned are directly pertinent to Missouri.
  • The Dead Red Light – Since so many traffic lights are now auto tire pressure activated, it is now legal for cyclists in Missouri to run a red light that has already cycled, in a safe and responsible manner.
  • A lot of Missouri’s bike laws use rather vague language.
  • Cyclists can ride two or more abreast, so long as they don’t impede traffic.
  • The City of Saint Louis has enacted an anti-harassment of bicyclist by motorist ordinance and has instituted bicycle law training for city officers.
  • If involved in an accident avoid a life flight, unless absolutely necessary. Its $20K cost will not be covered by your insurance company. As Dave for the plaintiff quipped, $5K or 25% of the helicopter bill for a fifteen minute flight would be much better spent on a 54” plasma TV that you could enjoy for many hours in recovery. Medivacs rides have become a racket. Take an ambulance instead. It is only ten minutes longer.
  • You might want to look into getting uninsured and under insured riders to your auto insurance policy. Odds are it won’t be the Beamer with a million dollars in liability that hits you, but a beater with the state minimum.
  • Helmet cams are a good thing and are admissible in court. Although cases with such video evidence rarely make it to trial. Go figure.

It was a valuable meeting and we learned a lot. Anne and I have had our share of bicycle related accidents, so we already knew much of what was discussed. Not having already graduated from the school of hard knocks, the hipsters likely learned even more. Although, for many in the audience whose only mode of transport was by bike, the ins and outs of auto under insurance held little solace.

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