Alameda County v. Pillaging Cyclists

With gas approaching 5 bucks, we should expect local government officials to do everything in their power to promote cycling. Instead we get shit like this:

County considers tightening rules on cycling excursions

By Karen Holzmeister
The Daily Review
Article Created: 06/23/2008 12:02:51 AM PDT

CASTRO VALLEY — The county is circulating a new “bicycle event” law proposal that would make excursions on country roads more difficult and expensive for organized cycling clubs.
County Supervisor Nate Miley said the law would balance the concerns of bicyclists and residents.
“We want people to ride bicycles, and not to impose unfair burdens on people who live along (rural) roadways,” Miley explained.
The proposal would primarily affect roads in unincorporated Livermore, Pleasanton and Sunol. However, it also would cover portions of Crow Canyon, Cull Canyon, Eden Canyon, Lake Chabot, Palomares and Redwood roads, and East Castro Valley Boulevard.
For years, bands of bicycle riders have irritated residents living along rural roads.
The cyclists often clog narrow roads at unexpected times, dump litter and take restroom breaks at inappropriate places, the residents have claimed during a decade of meetings with elected and appointed Alameda County representatives.
Under the proposed new law, organizations with advertised rides and 50 or more riders would have to apply for permits, which the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office could approve or deny. The permit would cost $189. Another $150 fee would be required for informational signs, which the county would post along the requested route.
Groups with 49 or fewer riders would not be subject to permit requirements. The sheriff’s office estimates that rides with a few hundred to a few thousand cyclists occur about 20 times a year.
The proposal was introduced last week to Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council members, who had mixed reactions.
Council member Dave Sadoff called the proposal “not an unreasonable approach,” while member Cheryl Miraglia claimed it went “overboard.” The law wouldn’t take effect until it is approved by county supervisors. As of Friday, no date had been set for a hearing.
The East Bay Bicycle Coalition, which advocates for cyclists in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, is batting 0-for-3. Nearly a year ago, as the ordinance was being drafted, the coalition told the sheriff’s office that signs were unnecessary. The Oakland-based organization asked that the 50-cyclists threshold be removed and the term “bicycle event” — which could trigger the need for event liability insurance — be eliminated.

I love the “bands of bicycle riders” reference. As if we are roaming brigands irritating the local populace with our vulgar ways. I understand that there’s tension on the roads between cyclists and motorists. Always has been, always will be. Cyclists don’t want to get run over and killed and motorists don’t want to be delayed even for 5 seconds getting to where they want to go. But this whole law would be absurd. For the record, I’ve never seen anyone in my club litter or “take restroom breaks at inappropriate places”. That’s why the baby Jesus invented rest stops, which are built into every club ride. One imagines the locals think cyclists drop their shorts and crap by the side of their road. It’s batshit craziness.
Essentially what it would do is to force the Yellowjackets to pay both for a permit and a fee to ride just about every Saturday. If it does pass, I think we should send out riders in groups of 49 and then ride 5 abreast down the narrow rural roadways referred to by Supervisor Miley. Fuck ’em.
Write to Supervisor Miley and tell him what he can do with his law.
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