News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 3, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Aug. 3, 2012

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Bike ride’s great, its safety wasn’t

On Saturday, July 21, 2012, RAIN (Ride Across Indiana) took place in our great state. It was a great success, according to the Sunday edition of the Tribune-Star, which featured a fine 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 drive, 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 Indiana 59 and U.S. 40 several riders ignoring the red traffic signal and almost getting run over by a pick-up truck with a trailer, the driver of 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’s, yet another person while waiting in the check-out line, was telling the folks in front of him about another instance at the intersection of Alabama Street and U.S. 40. The riders, completely ignoring the traffic signal, rode 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, then these riders are “not” in compliance with the existing law and are putting their lives in danger as well as others’ lives.

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 farther 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