Category Archives: Advocacy & Local Issues

Bicycle advocacy both local and national, as well as discussion of local bicycle incidents with the community and/or police

3 out of 4 DUIs on suspended licenses; the System is NOT working!

dui
If this doesn’t tell you the system is broken, what will? People are literally dying, not just cyclists, but pedestrians and other motorists, because drunk drivers who are caught & “dealt with” are still out there on the streets, killing people.

This was from Today’s local newspaper, one with a police blotter that, for some cities, names names. I’ve blurred out last names out of misplaced concern for those involved, although frankly, three out of four of these people are not worthy of the benefit of the doubt that our justice system provides. You and I should not be placed at risk because somebody who’s not allowed to drive is out there, driving.

Bringing this close to home, last week local rider Laura Stern was one of 5 cyclists mowed down by a DUI driver with a sordid past. She was pinned under a car for 30 minutes, broke her neck, and amazingly, will be back on a bike in three months.

Perhaps real-time tracking is something that needs to be imposed on all DUI convictions, something where a passing police officer or CHP sees a red light flashing in the presence of such a person, and if that happens to be someone seen driving a car, bang, you pull them over and lock them up. They can be completely sober, driving responsibly, and be subject to immediate incarceration and severe punishment. That might get a few off the streets, and might convince a few more not to try.

We have to do something. We can’t let this continue. We have the power to stop at least some of the carnage. How can we not have the will and find the means to do so?

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This won’t mean anything if under 50 (I owe a lot to Captain Kangaroo)

800px-Bob_keeshan_captain_kangaroo_1977[1]I probably wouldn’t be the bike person I am today if not for Bob Keeshan. Captain Kangaroo. He showed me that bikes were cool. He reinforced that message every single weekday morning. And, of course, he convinced me to buy a Schwinn. OK, so I’m a bit conflicted with the idea of tangentially promoting a company that I have no love for today (Schwinn went bankrupt and the name was bought by a company that now produces BSOs, Bike Shaped Objects, that defile the original company’s dedication to quality products). But seriously, how many of us in our 50s were influenced by Captain Kangaroo’s cycling message?

We keep looking for reasons that cycling isn’t as popular with kids today as it was back in the 60s and 70s. I think it’s the lack of a Captain Kangaroo, with his consistent, every-single-day bicycle message. I wanted a Schwinn. I settled for a Sears. I eventually did buy a Schwinn Varsity, and another one when that was stolen.

I’d love to know what that marketing campaign cost Schwinn, in real (today) dollars. The cycling industry talks about how we cannot afford a huge “get on a bike” campaign, and that’s right, we can’t. It would take far more money than we can mobilize to move the needle the tiniest amount. But a consistent effort aimed at kids could be cost-effective. Schwinn wasn’t looking at the quick buck back then.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that the campaign was so effective that it lead to FTC guidelines outlawing product endorsement by hosts of kids shows. Captain Kangaroo got around it by introducing a new character, Mr. Schwinn, and had internal memos to support the view that the kids still couldn’t separate the show from Schwinn (Schwinn was still getting a very effective marketing tool).

But back to the point- I think this industry owes a lot to Bob Keeshan for introducing many of us to cycling as a cool thing at an impressionable age. If there’s anybody left alive, former Schwinn execs responsible for keeping the Schwinn/Captain Kangaroo relationship going, I think it would be pretty cool to recognize them for their contribution, and ask what advice they might have for us today. They hit a home run. Maybe they can teach us to at least get on the bases again. –Mike–

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