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Full Bismark Tribune Article:(7 posts)

Full Bismark Tribune Article:dante
Feb 7, 2003 9:01 AM
From the author herself, who was kind enough to email me a copy...

Bismarck Tribune

A Fargo senator who has introduced a controversial bill to levy a $50 registration fee on serious bicyclists was accused of intentionally striking a bicyclist on a road north of Fargo in 1997.

Sen. John Syverson, R-Fargo, is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 2391, which would require long-distance bicyclists who ride outside city limits to register with the state, although it wouldn¹t apply to bikes with less than three gears or bicyclists who are under the age of 14. The state would issue a registration decal that would be good for two years and the money collected would be deposited in the state highway fund for the construction and maintenance of bicycle paths.

But bicycle enthusiasts from all over the world want to stop the bill in its tracks, including a Fargo man who says Syverson harassed and then intentionally struck his bike while he and two friends were bicycling on Cass County road 31, a few miles north of Fargo.

According to a Cass County Sheriff¹s report on the incident, Paul Sadosky and two friends were riding their bikes southbound when Syverson approached them from behind in a pickup. The bicyclists said Syverson began honking on his horn continuously, even though they were riding single file along the side of the road and there was no oncoming traffic. Sadosky told the sheriff¹s deputy that Syverson then pulled in front of him and abruptly turned in front of his bike and hit the brakes. Sadosky said he tried to stop but ran into Syverson¹s rear bumper and into the tailgate, totaling his bike.

According to the sheriff¹s report, one of the other bikers then tried to stop Syverson by blocking his pickup with his bike, but Syverson backed up and left. The bicyclists got his license number, however, and called the sheriff¹s department. While a deputy was en route to take the report, Syverson called the department too. He later told a deputy that when he encountered the bicyclists they were ³hogging the road² and when he honked at them, one of them threw water at his pickup and moved farther into the driving lane. Syverson told the deputy he was now driving about 10 mph because the trio was taking up the whole road. According to the report, Syverson said he stopped, backed up and drove around the bikes, but then one of the bicyclists tried to throw his bike at Syverson¹s pickup. The deputy noted that Syverson ³demonstrated a dislike of bicyclists in general riding on highways² and told the deputy about a previous incident when he notified authorities about a bicyclist on the interstate, only to be told that it was perfectly legal for them to ride on the shoulder of the interstate. ³He was not happy with this,² the sheriff¹s deputy¹s report says. ³Syverson stated more than once to me that he wished we could do more about bikes traveling on the roadway, that they are unlicensed vehicles, do not pay taxes for the roadway, therefore have no right being on the roadway and interfering with the travel of motorists.² In an interview with the Tribune, Sadosky said although it¹s a common reaction for a bicyclist to throw water at an aggressive driver, his group did not do so. He said after the incident, he contacted Syverson¹s insurance company repeatedly over the next few months, but didn¹t get anywhere until he hired a lawyer. A few days later, she had a $3,000 check waiting for him, and he used it to buy a new bike.

The way he understood it, he would not press charges in exchange for the out-of-court settlement money. Syverson said the check came from his insurance company, and no criminal charges were filed in the case. ³That incident was a long time ago, and it has no relevancy to the bill,² Syverson said Tuesday. ³I¹m not a vindictive person.² He said dredging up the incident would just ³muddy the water.² ³He was not hurt and he got a new bike,² Syverson said of Sadosky. He said
If this law goes through, the popularity of fixies...Cima Coppi
Feb 7, 2003 9:48 AM
will skyrocket in ND.

Addendum, I made this point many moons ago, but...Cima Coppi
Feb 7, 2003 10:07 AM
The republican political agenda is not cyclist friendly. In their minds, if we as cyclists are not consuming fossil fuels, we only belong on trails. We as cyclists, with the support of local cycling clubs and lobbyists, can resist the attempts to relinquish our rights to the nation's roadways if we stay diligent.
Refuting a specious argumentDale Brigham
Feb 7, 2003 11:51 AM
The statement made by the esteemed solon from ND noted above, that bicycles "are unlicensed vehicles, do not pay taxes for the roadway, therefore have no right being on the roadway and interfering with the travel of motorists," is one commonly heard burbling forth from the pie-holes of the enemies of our fair sport and favored transpostation mode.

What to do if you are in earshot of such blather? Here are a couple of argument refutations from my colleagues in the cycling advocacy world plus one self-designed strategy.

1) Bicycles are lawful and intended users of public streets, roads, and highways. Unless specifically prohibited (e.g., on some interstate highways), cyclists enjoy the same rights and have the same resposibilities as other users (motorists).

2) Streets, roads, and highways are public (transportation) facilities that are open to all lawful users, regardless of the funding stream (taxes and user fees) that supports the public facility. For example, walking on sidewalks or reading books in a public library is not limited to only those citizens who paid taxes that funded those entities. Public facilities are open to all lawful users, regardless of the amount and kind of taxes they pay.

3) Point out to the proponent of banning/limiting cyclists from public roads that he/she is using up oxygen, exhaling carbon dioxide, and generally taking up otherwise valuable space. Graciously acknowledge that their severely limited intellect and questionable upbringing may have otherwise excused such nonsense, but you feel that only a session of "West Texas arbitration" administered in the parking lot facilitated by a 2 X 4 upside the skull will have sufficient impact to alter said person's knowledge, beliefs and attitudes regarding cycling. (Not to mention their O2/CO2 consumption/production.)

He drives a pickup truckKristin
Feb 7, 2003 12:31 PM
That explains everything. Who let the redneck into ND?
What? You think there's no rednecks in ND?? nmRusty McNasty
Feb 7, 2003 1:47 PM
there are rednecks everywhere, just with different accents nmJS Haiku Shop
Feb 7, 2003 1:51 PM