Tuesday, February 16, 2016

2016 Bike Day at the Roundhouse Was Quite Well Attended

  I guess the bottom line for staging a rally is "have food, will rally". Somewhere between 40 and over 50 bicyclists (as well as at least a couple hundred motorcyclists) attended this year's Biker Day at the Roundhouse Rally, far eclipsing any previous bicycling turnout that I am aware of.

As I said at the podium, this is an important alliance, brought home all two well by two recent events: the killing of motorcyclist Andrew Wright, co-owner of a Platinum level bicycle friendly business (BTI) by a motorist who, as usual, "didn't see" a man on a full size Ducati motorcycle, and the serious injury of Nathan Barkocy, who was hit from behind  by a similarly clueless motorist while on a bicycle training ride in Albuquerque. Andrew's death points starkly to the need for higher motorist accountability and better driving. So does Nathan's injury, but in that case, it also points to a high speed road with a miserable to nonexistant shoulder. While the bicycling community tends to lobby for better facilities and the motorcycling facility (since they are in the travel lanes) for better accountability, we really need to work together for both. A three inch pavement lip on the shoulder (partial paving problem) will take down a guy on a Bianchi or a guy on a Harley. A texting, drunk, or clueless motorist is a danger to all of us, as we all are on the roads sometimes, whether by internal combustion or human power. So we need to work both these issues, and be back for the 2017 60 Day session.

Inside the Roundhouse. Plenty of lycra
amidst the leather
 Photo by Dan Majewski
This year's bicycle part of the rally was fantastic. Kudos should go to Tony Farrar, owner of New Mexico BikeNSport, for hosting the pre-rally gathering at his shop and contributing goodies, to the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico for providing pizza, to Annette Torrez and the New Mexico Motorcycle Rights Organization for as always, welcoming the bicycling community to join what initially started as a motorcycle rights rally entirely, BikeABQ for staging riders coming up from Albuquerque, and to Jackie Shane who safely led the group, many who were from out of town, from BikeNSport to the Roundhouse. Also, thanks so much to Jennifer Buntz, who started working with Annette and NMMRO about six years ago and laid the foundation for bringing bicycling into the rally via the Duke City Wheelmen. Jennifer and several DCW folks joined us at the rally.

A BIG turnout! 
Photo by Dan Majewski
As reported by BikeABQ, NM House Memorial 76: "A memorial declaring February 13, 2016 "Bicycle Awareness and Safety Day" in the house of representatives and supporting bicyclist Nathan Barkocy and Coach Stephen Williamson."was passed in time for the rally. Thank you, Rep. Matthew McQueen and NM House! Now, if the House and Senate would pass a joint resolution banning partial paving, I would REALLY be happy. NMMRO gave several talks emphasizing the need for greater motorist awareness and due care when out on the road. Jennifer and I reiterated that idea, in the context of the enhanced penalty bill that has been introduced repeatedly by now retired Rep. Rick Miera. For the first time, NMMRO specifically called out Senator Michael Sanchez, Dem floor leader, for his steadfast opposition to holding motorists more accountable via that enhanced criminal penalties bill. I also spoke on the need for a statewide Complete Streets bill and for an end to partial shoulder paving.

Annette Torrez, chair of NMMRO, at the podium 
with many leaders of the MC community. Jennifer Buntz 
and Yours Truly on the left 
photo BikeABQ
I have to admit that running this had me on the verge of a nervous breakdown given the rally was less than two weeks after my knife fight with the surgeon. But this all turned out pretty well.

We ate pizza and staged at New Mexico Bike N Sport
photo BikeABQ
 This year was a 30 day session. Let's follow up next year with an even bigger rally and collaborate with NMMRO on a statewide complete streets bill, an and to partial paving, and resurrect that enhanced penalty bill.

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