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I called 911- tell me I wasn't being ridiculous. - Page 7

post #121 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
Wow. Really? Nah, 450+ homicides last year? No biggie. (That's sarcasm.)

Also, in Chicago, our Police SUVs are used for traffic patrol.. (I am the daughter of a retired Chicago Police Officer, so I know a thing or two) and an SUV showed up to the scene. I'm sure our beat cops know how to prioritize themselves and won't take a reckless driver call over a shots fired call.
Your sarcasm is even more reason why I wouldn't have called - to even tie up the lines with something like a call about a cyclist would be beyond upsetting if a homicide was happening.
post #122 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
If they cut someone off first and then pulled into a gas station right there? Probably. However, I wouldn't expect the fast response the OP got about the bike guy.

I wouldn't bother calling if they'd already left the area though.

And I wouldn't, in either case, be trying to get the cops to arrest him or whatever, it'd be a matter of wanting them to come to the area and check it out.

And I'd call for the helmets too because it IS illegal in the OP's city to not have helmets. http://www.bhsi.org/mandator.htm
It's illegal for messengers only, not pleasure cyclists.
post #123 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by vbactivist View Post
What law was he breaking? THere are no mandatory helmet laws in Chicago.
Weaving in and out of traffic is often against the law, especially if you are passing on the right. Cutting someone of in their lane so that they have to slam on their breaks is an infraction where I live (I just got my only ticket for doing that last year when I was making a turn). I don't think the issue was the helmet, though it was less safe because the kids didn't have a helmet. The helmet seems like a little thing people seem to have latched onto to debate. The big issue was that he was cutting people off, weaving in and out of traffic, causing cars to have to slam on their breaks, and putting the drivers and the children at risk of a crash that could have resulted in serious injury.

My city isn't nearly the size of Chicago, but one person having to slam on their breaks because of another person's traffic infraction can cause a serious accident. All drivers should pay attention to what is going on, but our roads often get backed up because they don't and the person behind isn't paying enough attention to what is going on. I think that weaving in and out of traffic would be taken even more seriously there than it is here because there are more cars and the crash could be bigger and cause more of a delay. Bikes and motorcycles are also often hit because they are harder to see when you are going the speed limit even by people who are looking.
post #124 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
And I'd call for the helmets too because it IS illegal in the OP's city to not have helmets. http://www.bhsi.org/mandator.htm
Since there seemed to be some disagreement about this, I looked up the bike laws for Chicago, and apparently the helmet law only applies to messengers. However, while perusing the laws, I stumbled across a law that states that bikes cannot carry more people than they were designed for, so the makeshift seat for the girls might not fly. And as someone mentioned earlier, the extra weight on the back might be at least part of the reason he was weaving and swerving into oncoming traffic, and it might be why he was having tire problems too. There's more to safely modifying a bike for extra people than just slapping down a piece of wood for a seat. If a bike is difficult to control, it becomes everyone's problem.
post #125 of 158
Calling the non-emergency number, yes I might have hard to judge just by a description, but not 911. But here, minors have to wear helmets by law, so that's an even bigger deal here.
post #126 of 158
I don't get why the big fuss is being made about helmets in traffic here. Yes helmets can save your brain if you fall off your bike because you hit a rock. But they are not in any way designed to protect you if a car hits you. They will be useless. I see this misconception so much, that if riding on a busy road of course you must have your helmet on lest you get hit by a car. It makes no sense. I see it in safety advertising too, right up the road from me there is a big poster that reads something like, 'Because of an improperly worn helmet, one less student will graduate this year.' It shows a pic of a bicycle crushed on the road beside a car. I want to graffiti it to say, 'Because OF A CAR, one less student will graduate this year.'

If the cyclist was truly driving into oncoming traffic with kids aboard, I think an emergency call was necessary. But I think it is also one of those things I can't judge without being there to see, because clearly the OP was freaked out just by a bicycle in the road (lack of seatbelts, which of course are not used on bicycles, and the diy bench - which may indicate poverty, yes, but it may also indicate a diy'er who mods his cycle to carry cargo, as this is pretty common among cycling-for-transportation enthusiasts).
post #127 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
And I'd call for the helmets too because it IS illegal in the OP's city to not have helmets. http://www.bhsi.org/mandator.htm
If you are going to call 911 over helmets, you should also call for every speeder you see on the road (not just the extreme ones). After all speeding is illegal too. And cars are the biggest danger on the road. This cycling advocacy blog, copenhagenize.com, discusses the phenomenon of 'ignoring the bull' in terms of how we frame car/bicycle safety in our culture: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/01...a-dot-psa.html
post #128 of 158
I think people are getting too hung up on the poverty and helmet thing.

The ISSUE was that the man was swerving in and out of lanes into oncoming traffic. He could have not only killed himself and his kids, but others as well.

He was in the bike lane, then swerved into the driving lane, almost getting hit, then swerved into oncoming traffic with no intent to turn left (he wasn't locomoting a turn). He just was swerving....then went back to the bike lane eventually, where he swerved some more. Sounds like he was drunk. See the OP's clarification.

Yeah, I would have called. Even if they'd been in a super expensive trike with seatbelts and helmets and all that - if Dad was driving recklessly and endangering his kids and other drivers on the road, then it's an issue for the police.
post #129 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by vbactivist View Post
Your sarcasm is even more reason why I wouldn't have called - to even tie up the lines with something like a call about a cyclist would be beyond upsetting if a homicide was happening.
But how upsetting would it be had she called, and your police would have rolled their eyes, only for you to find out later that the cyclist had caused a three car pile-up and someone you loved was in the accident?
post #130 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by vbactivist View Post
Your sarcasm is even more reason why I wouldn't have called - to even tie up the lines with something like a call about a cyclist would be beyond upsetting if a homicide was happening.
I can't imagine any law enforcement agency in the US that only expected or was only equipped to deal with calls for murders in progress. And considering the recording on 311 said to call 911 for police services, and it sounds like the OP got through right way, and the cops showed up right away, it would seem the system is not so fragile that only murders in progress can be reported. If it were, I would think they would ask that people call 311 for less urgent matters.
post #131 of 158
Why are some of you against wearing helmets? I'm not asking in a facetious way at all, I'm just wondering if there are safety concerns with wearing a helmet (ie it blocks your line of sight or something).
post #132 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottishmommy View Post
Why are some of you against wearing helmets? I'm not asking in a facetious way at all, I'm just wondering if there are safety concerns with wearing a helmet (ie it blocks your line of sight or something).
No, no safety concerns with wearing a helmet to my knowledge. Only thing is that it offers a false sense of security about the dangers cars present, and there is evidence that making helmets mandatory can discourage cycling, because it gives the impression that cycling is oh so very dangerous, and also discourages bike share programs etc. Here is an article, again from copenhagenize.com (sorry LOL, tho if you google it is covered elsewhere, I just like this article) about Mexico City repealing its helmet laws: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/04...elmet-law.html

And if you notice in the link posted about cyclists in Amsterdam, nobody wears a helmet. It is much safer to cycle there, yes, due to bicycle infrastructure, but again bike helmet doesn't protect against cars.

eta - The only thing about helmets IMO is that they are too heavy for infants under 1, and maybe even infants a bit over 1, to safely support on their heads, I believe. I have seen people put carseats in bike trailers for younger infants (6 or 9 mos plus), and put the babe in there helmet-less. I would do that no problem. I carried my own infant in the trailer from 10ish months plus, and after trying to get her to wear a helmet, I quit because it was so uncomfortable for her and she hated it. I believed she had plenty of protection in the trailer with the 5 point harness and the roll bar. Now I have an Xtracycle so she rides in a baby seat on the bike, so of course I put a helmet on her every time. She is also over 2 now and has no problem with wearing the helmet.
post #133 of 158
This post is sort of OT, but related to the discussion nonetheless. A few years ago my DH witnessed the death of a young man on the street in front of our house. The kid climbed out the window of the car he was riding in and fell head first to the pavement. DH says he will never forget the sound the young man's skull made as it split on the pavement. The EMTs who responded to the 911 call said that the young man's head trauma was relatively minor because the car had only been traveling about 15 mph when the kid jumped (it appears the guy and his friends were trying to replicate stunts they'd watched on the internet).

"Minor" contusions, perhaps, but they were serious enough to kill him. For more than a month, his blood was on the street just beyond our driveway. I couldn't look at the blood stain and not reflect on his death. What I took from this young man's accident was that pavement doesn't care if you fall from a car, a bike, or wherever else- if your skull hits the ground with enough force, you can sustain a brain injury or worse. Needless to say, since that tragic day the people in our family all wear helmets when we ride bikes, just as we always buckle our seatbelts when riding in a car.

Helmets aren't 100% foolproof, but they do increase your chances of walking away from a bike accident without serious head trauma. That's why (IMO) it's incredibly irresponsible to allow children to ride in/on any vehicle without proper restraints and safety precautions, including helmets if applicable. Ask an EMT about how it feels to respond to a call where a child has hit her/his head after falling from a bike- few things are more upsetting than seeing a child injured or killed because of someone else's poor decision making or negligence.
post #134 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceinwen View Post
I don't think adults get to make decisions re: basic safety, that can lead to injuring their children. Riding a bike in the situation described, sans helmet - is a no brainer. Those kids could have been killed or worse.
I totally agree with you here. Also, in response to some other pp's, I'm not quite sure what the man's income (or the perception of what his income is or isn't) has to do with anything? Is the OP supposed to yell out her window and ask to see his tax returns and current bank statements before she decides to call or not? She saw a situation that looked to be extremely unsafe for not only the kids in the bike, but for other cyclists and motorists as well. So what if he was poor? If it was as the OP describes, even if it was him "doing his best," it's just not good enough in this situation. I know that sounds harsh, but I don't mean it to. He doesn't get to blatantly endanger his kids and other peoples' loved ones for any reason. Period.

Not to open a whole 'nother can of worms but I have called in the past when I saw a car with kids not in carseats that obviously should have been (<2 years). The make/model of the car and whether the driver "looked" like he/she could afford a carseat was never a factor in that decision.
post #135 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
I don't get why the big fuss is being made about helmets in traffic here. Yes helmets can save your brain if you fall off your bike because you hit a rock. But they are not in any way designed to protect you if a car hits you. They will be useless. I see this misconception so much, that if riding on a busy road of course you must have your helmet on lest you get hit by a car. It makes no sense. I see it in safety advertising too, right up the road from me there is a big poster that reads something like, 'Because of an improperly worn helmet, one less student will graduate this year.' It shows a pic of a bicycle crushed on the road beside a car. I want to graffiti it to say, 'Because OF A CAR, one less student will graduate this year.'

If the cyclist was truly driving into oncoming traffic with kids aboard, I think an emergency call was necessary. But I think it is also one of those things I can't judge without being there to see, because clearly the OP was freaked out just by a bicycle in the road (lack of seatbelts, which of course are not used on bicycles, and the diy bench - which may indicate poverty, yes, but it may also indicate a diy'er who mods his cycle to carry cargo, as this is pretty common among cycling-for-transportation enthusiasts).
post #136 of 158
Thread Starter 
The helmet thing isn't the huge issue. The reckless driving was (and is) a bigger issue for me.
post #137 of 158
These things are very subjective. You look at a situation and make the best judgment you can at that moment. I don't know if it's a situation where I could hear about it, particularly just with words and no video, and make a call on what I would have done. If you felt a strong urge to call, then there was probably something to it, though the police also respond subjectively so calling doesn't ensure any particular response. The only thing I'd check in myself, and I'm not saying this is about the OP but something I would watch internally, is that I'd make sure I was calling because I truly felt fear over what was happening and that there was true danger instead of calling because I simply felt like pointing out a wrong or to bolster any feeling of me being right in that I would have handled it differently.
post #138 of 158
If a car had driven into the incoming lane, I don't think anyone would be questioning the OP. A bicycle is considered a vehicle, just like a car is--and I think the police should absolutely be called about a vehicle driving erratically INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC.

This isn't about whether or not you think kids should wear bike helmets. This is about the cyclist endangering the safety of other drivers on the road.
post #139 of 158
The helmet thing is a worthwhile side conversation, on topic to this thread.

How the cyclist was driving - if what the OP reports is true, I agree that it is very dangerous. However, so often people find bicycles dangerous just for existing on the road, and this can prejudice how they view their actual behaviour, causing them to find or overdramatize fault. I said it is hard to tell without being there, because it is obvious from the OP that she was alarmed by basic things about the existence of the bicycle - helmets, calling the bench 'rickety' when I don't see how it would be possible to assess this quickly, with two children on the bench no less. And others have made many comments that are anti-cycling or that 'ignore the bull,' so to speak.

So I think the discussions have been relevant, and I think it is appropriate that some do not take the OP's assessment at exact face value, considering the alarmist sentiments in the OP and in the thread.
post #140 of 158
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
(lack of seatbelts, which of course are not used on bicycles...
I've seen modified bikes with seat belts or harnesses for the passenger seats. Of course they wouldn't offer any protection in a collision with a car, but they can keep small children from climbing or falling out. The company that makes this bike uses them. Bike trailers have 5 point harnesses too for the same reasons.
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