Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Does this look Dangerous to You?

I came across the posting that I translate below and couldn't help it but to  include it in my blog because of two reasons. The first is that I find it very practical to have a bicycle for you that also allows you to carry your offspring :). The other reason is that I wanted you to see how in some places like Madrid, Bogota, some cities in Australia, the government is so out of touch with the rest of the world that instead of becoming a catalyst for positive change, opts to harass citizens and in particular those that are really contributing to make the city a better place; those that are doing something for the environment, those that don't pollute.  Those are the citizens that have to explain themselves in front of city government officials. Our subject today is Olly. Olly Green is having to fight a battle against city government to be able to take his daughters to school on his bicycle. I guess I want you to tell me where is the harm in this for the city, for him or for his daughters. Maybe I am the only one who does not see it.
Here is the translation from his blog Por Pozuelo con Pedales:

"Last week the police pulled me over for taking my daughters to school on my bicycle. Outside the school two police officers awaited me, dressed in civilian clothes and a car with no markings. In a quite aggressive way they were telling me that the bicycle was not appropriate to carry two children and demanded the technical book for the bike, which is ridiculous since it does not exist. The bicycle is a Kemper Pack Max Duo with a Bobike Junior seat and a Bobike Maxi seat; both compliant according to European code. My daughters are two and five respectively.  My daughters are two and five respectively.

After protesting (I was really furious), they decided to mess with me for covering part of the route over the sidewalk (some 200mt)… I know it is not permitted, but when I take my daughters I take the sidewalk for part of the Avenida Juan XXIII, an avenue of high risk from cars. I have decided that it is better to get light citation than my daughters’ lives - given the lack of adequate infrastructure for cyclists and the inaction of police to enforce traffic laws such as a maximum speed of 40km/h or the 1.5m margin that cars must allow when passing a bike. Even the police themselves told me to go by the sidewalk with the girls one day as we came from school.

¡They will report me to the Social Services!
The issue resulted in them taking my information and issuing a report for City Hall and another for the Social Services for being an irresponsible father; such a nonsense and absolute abuse of authority. For years I have been using the bicycle every day as a method of transportation and I’ve taken my daughters to school on the bike from the day they could sit up.

I want people to know
I am indignant, indignant for having to put up with this non-sense; (even more when there are cars breaking all kinds of laws), with the lack of respect to cyclists, the grave lack of adequate infrastructure, the bad use of public funds and police resources, etc.; this, in contrast with other Spanish cities like Vitoria, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia or Majadahonda, which are actively promoting the use of the bike. What a shame."

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