COAL-ROLLING TEXAS TRUCK DRIVER PLOWS INTO 6 CYCLISTS

PRESS RELEASE FROM BIKE LAW’S NATIONAL DIRECTOR RACHAEL MANEY

In light of the recent Waller Bike Crash in Texas, and in an effort to help untangle and unpack some of the emotionally-charged comments, questions, and inaccurate assumptions being made, we want to update you on the parts that we can share. I hope that this will also help clear up any confusion regarding some of the misinformation we’ve been reading in many of the media articles that have been published and on numerous social media channels, ours included.

Bike Law Texas’ Charlie Thomas of Huber Thomas & Marcelle, LLP and Bike Law’s founding attorney Peter Wilborn of Wilborn Law, LLC were retained last Sunday, September, 26, 2021, the day after the multi-victim bicycle crash on Business 290 East in Waller, TX, to lead the civil investigation and represent all 6 of the cyclists who were almost killed while on a training ride for Ironman Texas exactly one week ago today.

Our 6 clients are suffering from horrible injuries including broken vertebrae, cervical and lumbar spinal injuries, broken collar bones, hands, and wrists- many of which require surgical intervention- as well as multiple traumatic brain injuries, lacerations, soft tissue damage, road rash, and extensive bruising. And those are just the physical injuries.

The driver of the black F-250 that crushed our clients’ bodies and left them and their bikes splashed and scattered across the roadway is a 16 year old Waller, Texas male. Through our own investigation, we’ve learned his name, his address, the names of his parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors and family friends. We know the names of the businesses owned and operated by the driver’s family. We know where he was earlier in the day, prior to crashing into our clients while they were more than 70 miles into their USAT tri-club training ride. We know the identity of his passenger (a local 17 year old male from a neighboring town) and a pretty good idea about the role he may have played in causing the crash that sent ALL of our clients to the hospital; 2 by Life Flight, 2 by ambulance, 2 by personal transport.  (Texas licensing provisions allow for licensed drivers between the ages of 16-17 to lawfully operate a motor vehicle with no more than 1 non-family member passenger who is under the age of 21 at a time.)

The driver’s family’s connections in Waller are a legitimate reason for concern, but I know that Charlie and Peter are very well versed in handling the challenges that nepotism can create.

 

JUDGE: WALLER “DOESN’T LIKE YOUR KIND”

The backdrop of the Waller Bike Crash is one riddled with anti-bike bias. Charlie knows all too well as he has recent experiences with judges there, one who actually lamented to him that Waller, TX “doesn’t like [our] kind.” Charlie has formerly represented several cyclists who were targeted and ticketed by Waller police over the last couple of years. He went to Texas A&M in College Station to race bicycles and he has a law office in Houston. He has been a dogged legal advocate (alongside Bike Law Texas’ partner BikeHouston) for the changes needed to make cycling safer both locally and on a state-wide scale. This advocacy includes exposing and fighting against those who choose to selectively enforce the law for only a select few.

Our clients are not only hostages to the truck driver’s behavior and their own broken bodies, but also to a criminal process that is supposed to help make them “whole” again in a place that “doesn’t like [their] kind.”

This teenage driver assaulted other cyclists by “coal rolling” them before plowing into our clients just moments later. We know he did not “lose control” of his truck. We know that he knew exactly what he was doing and that Waller PD’s Officer Charles Mistric falsely stated in a report (which has not yet been provided to our clients or to us) that all of the riders were riding two abreast, according to a published article in the Houston Chronicle. Texas law allows for riding two abreast, however Mistric’s mention of the cyclists’ lane positioning seems more like the kind of victim blaming comments we see from internet trolls, and less like what we would expect from a law enforcement officer investigating the scene of a crime (plus it’s not true).

Officer Mistric went on to say that the “driver stated that he was reaching for his cell phone to call his dad and struck the bicyclists before he could react.” Given what we know from the eye-witness testimony from one of the cyclists who was assaulted by the teenage driver immediately before he drove his truck into the 6 bicyclists and the testimony of several others, we do not find the driver’s or Mistric’s statements to be credible at all. Additionally, Texas law does not allow for any driver under the age of 18 to use a hand held device while operating a motor vehicle.

We also know that this was no “accident” caused by a “new and inexperienced” driver as his criminal defense attorney would like people to believe. Rick DeToto, who has been retained to represent the teenage driver, went so far as to say that this event “did not involve any criminal intent.” After 23 years of representing bicyclists and bike crash victims, we know that when there is no real defense to proffer, turning a perpetrator into a victim is the only limp “defense” that exists.

Additionally, nowhere and at no time in the interviews Mr. DeToto has given to the media has an apology been expressed. 

Waller Bike Crash Bike

 

COAL-ROLLING IS NOT THE ACT OF A “NEW AND INEXPERIENCED” DRIVER

Charlie says, “driving recklessly, assaulting, and running down other roadway users is not the trait of a ‘new and inexperienced’ driver. If it was, we’d all be endangered by every young driver.” Peter followed Charlie’s sentiment up by saying, “This teenage driver that caused the Waller Bike Crash knew exactly what he was doing. He must be held accountable for his choices and actions that scared and injured our clients on a Texas highway.”

Elton Mathis, the Waller County elected DA, is now in charge of the criminal investigation into the Waller Bike Crash. He’s assigned a Special Prosecutor for this case, Warren Diepraam, who does not reside in (nor is he from) Waller County. He was handpicked because of his investigative and prosecutorial work across multiple Texas jurisdictions.

Mr. Diepraam was formerly a prosecutor in Harris and Montgomery counties. While in Harris, he formed the first ever vehicular crimes division in the state of Texas. Additionally, Mr. Mathis and Mr. Diepraam have hired a crash reconstruction engineer to fully investigate and understand what occurred leading up to the 6 bicyclists being struck.

Currently, victim interviews between the prosecutors and our clients are being scheduled. Waller PD did not ask for a single statement from any of them at the scene of the crash or at the hospitals to which they were transported, and all 6 bicyclists were conscious and wanted to participate in the Waller PD led  “investigation” at the scene. One witness who was riding behind our clients and the other smaller group of cyclists who were assaulted when the driver coal-rolled them told us that while she was tending to two of the most seriously injured bicyclists, the only thing Officer Charles Mistric said to her (she was not asked to provide a witness statement either, nor was her contact information taken by any Waller PD officer at the scene to provide a statement at a later date or time) was that [the crash victims] would need [his business card] and that the crash report “would take at least 10 days,”as he handed the card to her with the hand-written report number on it.

In our meeting with our clients yesterday, Charlie was able to reassure them that despite the complete lack of appropriate investigating by the Waller PD, “the District Attorney’s office has expressed their concern for [all of you] and is committed to carrying out a full investigation to hold those criminally responsible accountable.” Peter added, “A charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is proper. The driver recklessly caused bodily injury using his truck as a deadly weapon.” Such a charge is a second-degree felony.

At this time, Charlie, Peter and our team have NO reason at all to associate the earned reputations of Waller PD and City of Waller officials to Mr. Mathis or Mr. Diepraam, and in fact, we and our clients have been shown the kind of professionalism and compassion that is, unfortunately, precedent-setting in our line of work. Charlie and Peter’s request of everyone who’s expressed concern for the 6 bicyclists is to allow the Waller County DA’s office to do their jobs so that a complete and honest investigation into a Waller, TX bike crash can finally occur; maybe for the very first time.

What I ask of you is to thoughtfully consider the following: If you were in any of their shoes, could you physically, financially, and mentally afford to let the process play out while struggling to prevent the driver who almost killed you and your friends from stealing any more from you than what he’s already stolen?

Do you have someone who could take countless hours and/or days off of work to drive you to your doctor’s appointments? Take you to surgery? Care for you in your surgical recovery? Do you have someone who could be there around the clock to help you stand up, sit down, bathe, brush your teeth, get dressed, and eat? If you have children, how would you explain what happened to them and assuage their fears while also managing your own? If you were lucky enough to be able to, how would you feel getting back in the saddle the first time you’re riding on the road again and you hear the growling engine of a giant truck approaching behind you?

What if your employer couldn’t afford to pay you while you’re unable to work? What if your phone calls to schedule necessary appointments with medical specialists ended with a refusal to treat you because your injuries were the result of a collision with an automobile and their office is worried that they won’t get paid?

It’s not just the driver who caused the Waller Bike Crash that has victimized our clients. It’s also the length and total burden of the processes on both the criminal and civil sides of their case to which they are also hostages. They lay in their beds, robbed of their quality of life, unable to sleep, in many different forms of constant pain, and all they want is to go back in time and not be assaulted by someone who’s lawyered up and can’t even bring himself to say, “I’m sorry.”

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Many of you have asked if and how you can help these 6 cyclists suffering from the aftermath of the Waller Bike Crash. The answers are YES, and here’s how you can help our clients right now. The donations to this GoFundMe will provide them with some immediate relief that will allow them to focus on what is most important: their physical recoveries.

 

IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF THE WALLER BIKE CRASH

To answer some of the other questions that have been posed over the last several days, here is a list of things that we think might be helpful to understanding important elements of both the criminal and civil sides of a crash like this one:

  1. Legal adults and juveniles have different rights and consequences within a given state’s statutory laws.
  2. Any time a prosecutor feels it’s appropriate to charge a minor as an adult in the state of Texas, the following must first occur: 1. The potential charges must be for a felony crime or crimes. 2. A judge must officially certify the individual as an adult after considering a variety of things in addition to the felony crimes alleged. (The process for Ethan Couch, the now 24 year old repeatedly convicted criminal who is best known for causing the catastrophic multi-victim fatal crash in Burleson, TX in which he killed 4 innocent people and injured 9 more while speeding while intoxicated in June of 2013 at the age of 16, is a great example of how complicated certifying a juvenile as an adult can be.)
  3. The involvement of a “juvenile” in any crash complicates the pursuit of justice in many additional ways; publishing their identification is definitely one of them.
  4. In order to open any insurance claim or file civil litigation, documentation containing multiple pieces of necessary information must first be provided to the crash victims and their legal counsel if they have it.
  5. Delays in the processes on both the criminal and civil sides of things are not always an indication of incompetence, injustice, or officials sweeping things under the rug. (But because our cycling community has too many first hand experiences where this IS the case, we completely understand the outrage and some of the inaccurate conclusions being made.)
  6. When the control of an investigation changes from one department or agency to another, there will be an inevitable delay. If those doing the hand-off made mistakes or a mess, then those taking over have even more work to do. More work triggers the need for more time.
  7. Sometimes, states require the involvement of multiple agencies as parts of the crash response process, all of whom may be responsible for conducting their own individual investigations. Every department and agency has their own unique internal procedures and protocols, too.
  8. Any competent, ethical person whose job involves pursuing and securing a just outcome for any victim of a crash (including a crash caused by a crime) will be thorough in their work. The more people involved in a specific incident (i.e. multi-victim crashes), the longer it can take to gather all the facts and relevant evidence.
  9. In many if not most places, crash reports (including those in which vulnerable road users are not involved) aren’t completed or available to anyone for a time period of up to 2 weeks. In Waller, Texas, the initial investigating officer told witnesses on the scene it would take “at least 10 days.” The number of crashes that have recently occurred in that jurisdiction matter as well.
  10. If a crime against cyclists resulting in a crash occurs in a place with a known and documented anti-bike bias, additional measures have to be taken.  No stone should be left unturned and all possible challenges and/or defenses to prosecutorial and civil arguments should be considered. Identifying and addressing those things comprehensively, and certainly not prioritizing speed or the court of public opinion over the quality and integrity of the work being done, are the marks of conscientious, experienced, and competent investigators, prosecutors, and civil attorneys.

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

Below are some of the things we think you should know both for your own peace of mind and protection:

FIRST, unless expressly waived in writing at the time of purchase, if you are riding your bicycle and you are victimized in a crash by the driver of a motor vehicle, you may have insurance coverage through your OWN automotive policy. Generally you cannot purchase more UM or UIM coverage than you carry in liability, so check with your automotive insurance carrier to determine what you can and cannot purchase. We cannot stress this enough: MAX IT OUT. It could be the difference between zero financial hardship and bankruptcy.

  • UM stands for Uninsured Motorist Coverage. It’s the part of your policy that insures you against drivers who have no insurance or drivers in a hit and run.
  • UIM stands for UNDERINSURED Motorist Coverage and it serves as the buffer between the at-fault driver’s insufficient coverage and your bank account. That means that if you’re hit by a motorist whose liability coverage is not enough to compensate you for the damages you incurred due to that driver’s actions, your own UIM coverage picks up where the driver’s liability coverage ends.

*If you have specific questions about your policy or about how to max out your UM/UIM coverage, please reach out to us at info@bikelaw.com and we will be happy to help!*

SECOND, there are 4 states in the U.S. that apply the antiquated rule/law of Contributory Negligence to cycling in the context of crashes. If you are riding your bike in any of these 4 states and become the victim of a crash, and it’s determined that you contributed as little as 1% to your crash, you are barred 100% from ANY civil recovery for the damages you suffer from that crash. This means that if the laws don’t allow or require it and- just to give some examples of common state bicycle laws, all of which apply to these 4 contrib states- unbeknownst to you, your rear red light battery dies after dark, or you were riding with earbuds in both ears, or your lane positioning was not AFRAP (As Far Right As Practicable), or you were not using the mandated space for bicyclists, and an irresponsible driver hits you, you are likely to be ineligible to collect a penny from the coverage available from that motorist’s insurance policy. The 4 contrib states for bicyclists are:

  • Alabama
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • Virginia

*Bike Law’s cycling attorneys in these states (Danny Feldman, Alabama; Bike Law’s founding attorney Peter Wilborn, MarylandTom Bowden, associated counsel to Wilborn Law, VirginiaAnn Groninger, North Carolina) are ALL experienced trial lawyers who are extremely well versed in achieving the best possible outcomes for their clients in these states- oftentimes through litigation that goes all the way to a jury trial- and are more than happy to answer any questions you may have or assist you with legal representation should you or someone you know or love need their help after a crash or bike related incident.*

THIRD, after a crash, the following steps should be taken IF you are physically able to do so:

  • Do not engage with the driver in a way that creates confrontation or unnecessary conflict. We understand why you would want to and we don’t disagree with those reasons. However, for your own physical safety, we advise that you refrain from any altercation with the driver.
  • CALL 911. (Or ask someone who is on scene to do so. The driver should also call, however, we don’t ever rely on them to notify law enforcement and first responders.)
  • Request/Document the driver’s and the vehicle’s information: Make, model and color of the vehicle; name; address; insurance carrier and policy number for the driver; visible damage to vehicle.
  • Go to the hospital. Don’t waive medical attention. If your injuries are not emergent, follow up as soon as possible with your personal physician or GP and document all injuries in both written and picture form.
  • Keep a running journal of all symptoms that did not exist before the crash.
  • Do NOT repair your bike or manipulate it or its components in any way if you want to recover the value of your property that was damaged in your crash.
  • Do NOT give a statement to any insurance adjuster until you are sure that you do not want or need legal representation.
  • Do NOT post on social media. In the event that you want or need legal representation and an element of that requires filing a lawsuit, anything you publish is discoverable.
  • Do NOT publicly identify the driver or his or her vehicle in a way that could be defined as “doxing” or considered defamatory. Not only does that open up the possibility that you could be liable for damages to the driver for saying or writing inflammatory or untrue things about them, but in the event that the consequences of your crash are litigated in court, the inflammatory public dissemination of the driver’s personal information can also be considered jury tampering.

*This is why we redact license plates sometimes. It is also why we don’t encourage “vigilante justice” after a crash. It’s not because we are “scared,” or don’t appreciate the public’s “right to know.” Our justice system is designed to protect people by considering them innocent until proven guilty. Calling someone a “criminal” before they’re convicted of a crime could be defamatory and comes with very expensive consequences.*

FOURTH, If you do not want to retain counsel, do not allow your own insurance company or the driver’s tell you that coverage doesn’t apply to you because you were on a bicycle when your crash occurred. If that happens, demand that the adjusters present you with those policies (or the proof in writing) so that you can see where your right to file a claim or claims was waived.

FIFTH, Call us. We always recommend that you reach out to us if you have a cycling related crash or need. You may not choose to retain one of our independently practicing cycling lawyers in the Bike Law Network, but you will be more informed about your rights and the options available to you after suffering a traumatic event like being harrassed, assaulted, or hit by someone operating a motor vehicle while you’re on your bike. There is no charge to you for seeking our help. We do what we do because we’re part of this community and have our own skin in the game. We’ve been protecting and representing cyclists for 23 years and are honored to be called on your very worst of days.

Attendance at our First Big Event

We had a great time making people aware of SAFE’s presence during packet pickup for the LKN Fondo. The event was on Sunday August 8th, 2021.

On Saturday August 7th we attended packet pickup at Spirited Cyclist in Davidson, NC for The Lake Norman Fondo. A charity bike ride with over 550 participants. We were able to reach a lot of people on Saturday. 

Many of whom had no idea who we were, or that we existed to make them SAFE.

We met a lot of great people who were very happy to learn about us and what we were doing for the cycling and pedestrian communities on our streets.

On Sunday August 8th, 2021 we were right back at it. The tent was us and ready to go on the Green in Downtown Davidson for the event. Once again we met a lot of great people who were happy to know we were working for them behind the scenes to make cycling a little safer.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to see us and chat.

June 2021

Call to Order: 7:33 pm

Present: Kevin Elder, Scott Higgins, Ruth Yoash-Gantz, Andrea Lima, Jeff Viscount, John Finney, Scott McConnell, Erika Martin, Nicole Van Baelan, Patricia Mukhtar

Andrea’s last meeting, moving to Albuquerque, NM August 2021

Patricia Mukhtar first meeting, taking over Treasurer position

Updates/Old business

  1. John Finney: QR code on table to solicit and obtain contributions
    1. Put QR on brochure, leads to website for more information, with easy button to ‘donate now’ or “How Can You Help?” page on SAFE website.
    2. Plastic stand-up displays, 5×7 or 8×10, wind resistant
    3. Stickers with website on paper backing, QR code on front
  2. Pamphlets – What is SAFE, what aiming to do, encourage donations, point people to website
    1. Committee to create pamphlet: Ruth and Nicole (has started)
    2. John Finney has sponsor for printing brochure.
    3. Goal: Respond to draft in 1 week.
    4. Pamphlets in local businesses
  3. Keep SAFE website updated,
    1. Allow public to sign up for blog updates from SAFE.
    2. Allow all board members to post blogs independently (Kevin). SAFE members will do the work for donations (blog content)
    3. Place to capture folks on website for donations using Pay Pal account
    4. In exchange, mention on FB or logo on SAFE website
    5. Scott Higgins, Scott McConnell and John Finney– suggest a more focused and specific goal statement, mission statement, accomplishments, define what money is used for, develop ‘elevator pitch’
    6. Jeff Viscount – keep simple, explain mission, trying to make roads safer for vulnerable users (bikes, pedestrian).
    7. Develop media for public education about bike and pedestrian safety in LKN area
    8. Advertising about BMUFL signs, awareness, stickers, pedestrian issues
    9. Link to FB page.
    10. Maintaining a steady stream of content is toughest part. Blogging is key: Good content, easy media, easy to share. Slack is place where can drop information/blogs/articles/accomplishments that members of SAFE write.
      1. BikewalkNC- provide regional support for state level, such as contributory negligence: A bill making stand-alone bike-ped projects affordable so towns can apply for them. A key source of content
      2. Ann’s website (ask her to share content)
      3. Scott Higgins about all he’s been doing in Cornelius, tell his story
    11. Wrap bus: Is sponsor still on board? Kevin to email contact and see if sponsor still on board to pay. What content to put on bus, what want to say, distilled tag line.
    12. Follow up on vandalized signs being fixed/cleaned or replaced
      1. Erika: Does town of Mooresville maintain signs? Can reach out for maintenance. One on Shearers Road, next to Smokey J’s BBQ
    13. Share the Road (STR) signs. Can they be replaced?
      1. Still on Brawley School Rd (BSR) near the Point.
      2. Both ways on Morrison Plantation (3 each way).
      3. No bike lanes on BSR after Chuckwood.
      4. STR signs on Langtree, but no bike lane there.
      5. Jeff Viscount mentioned confusion having 2 different signs, like with sharrows. BMUFL is the law. Consistency is key.
      6. Public works manager made decision to not replace STR with BMUFL. Wait to ‘push’ him since he is cooperating by putting up some signs. Add to Mooresville Bike Plan board, notifying Heather. Next meeting 22 July, public drop-in session. Sept/Oct end date for plan.

 

  1. Bank balance- 3 donations made. 2-$100, 1-$50. $478.97 balance.

 

  1. BOD insurance – Kevin emphasizing importance

 

Meeting Adjourned: 9:02 pm

 

Next meeting:

February 2021

Call to order: 7:04 pm

Attendance (* Present)

Board members: Kevin Elder (P)*, Scott McConnell (VP)*,  Ruth Yoash-Gantz (VS)*, Andrea Lima (S)*, Tara Owens (T), Nicole Van Baelan* (Community Liaison)

Members at large (MAL): Jeff Viscount, Erika Martin*, Laura Calvin, Scott Higgins*, John Finney*, CJ Juaquin

Approval of November 2020 meeting minutes 7:06pm

Updates/Old business

Kevin

Scott M. and Kevin attended Huntersville Greenway Trail and Bikeway Committee (GTBC ) meeting, agree with SAFE mission. Mayor voiced interest in SAFE.

  1. Get links to SAFE informational articles to contact Tracy.
  2. Emails to Statesville and Troutman but no response yet. John Finney volunteered to assist with contacts in Statesville.
  3. Nick Walsh, Huntersville commissioner and cyclist supportive
  4. Next: Speak with town planners to make recommendations to board. Dave Hill and Anthony Roberts, town planners.

BOD insurance – important to get done. Current company $450-500/year for MAC. Scott M. to speak with wife.

Ads on Facebook : Donor wants to pay to run ads for SAFE

Update SAFE website, more content.

  1. Info on signs: Use FAQ from town of Cornelius
  2. Links to articles in LKN area with more information, previously published notes from towns, place links on SLACK
  3. News of Davidson – weekly email
  4. Amanda Preston, public information officer (PIO) town of Davidson
  5. Update town planner list on SLACK

Scott H

Working on dangerous intersections

SAFE MAL CJ Juaquin appointed to Transportation Advisory Board in March

BOD insurance quote double what Keven has for MAC

Scott M

Focus on Denver, reach out to contacts

When is next Mooresville board of commissioner’s meeting?

John Finney – has contact at Blood, Sweat, and Gears in Denver

Ruth/Kevin

Reviewed, edited and approved sponsorship/donation letter

Create trifold brochure with SAFE information, letter, take to local businesses to solicit donations.

New SLACK channel for list of companies, SAFE members add names:

  • Autobody shops
  • Nascar
  • Headquarters, such as Lowes
  • Law groups
  • Gibbs Racing – Scott Higgins
  • Bike shops

Andrea – Street sweeper out on Brawley School Road during rain. Erika to contact town to see if can redo

Scott H:

  1. Update, meeting with the Town of Huntersville regarding the BMUFL sign
  2. Additional remote meeting with local law enforcement. Keep focused on specific topics. Send ideas to Andrea. Possible topics:
    1. Ann Groninger with Bike Law, local attorney specializes in bike crashes. Presentation regarding laws, kick off meeting for end of March 2021. SAFE to sponsor. Kevin to contact for availability.
      1. Pocket cards police carry, being sent to Kevin by Ann Groninger
      2. Training session for officers
    2. BMUFL signs – messaging/education for signs – Scott H.
    3. What things on town agenda/initiatives – Scott H.
    4. John – reach out to Hwy Patrol, manages the end of Brawley School Rd (BSR)
    5. Educate new officers due to turnover in departments
    6. COVID has increased nonmotorized street traffic, how to ensure continues after pandemic.
    7. Show police support SAFE. Erika to provide list of police officers who attended last SAFE meeting

Other

Guests: None

 Tabled Topics

Bus ad

Donated tent

Advertisements at local DMV offices

Yard signs

Sponsorships: Guidelines should be in writing. Goal: by the time group rides resume in 2021.

Accounting supplies needed (file folders, file box)

Research grants

Erika – Stewart Basham, to verify he is over Zone 9/Davidson and if he covers Cornelius

Meeting Adjourned: 8:39pm

Next Meeting: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 7pm – 8:30pm

November 2020

 

Minute Meeting Minutes: Wednesday 11/18/2020 via Zoom

 Call to order @ 7:07 pm

 Attendance (*Present)

Board members: Kevin Elder (P)*, Scott McConnell (VP)*, Ruth Yoash-Gantz (VS)*, Andrea Lima (S)*, Tara Owens (T)*

 Members at large: Jeff Viscount, Erika Martin, Laura Calvin, Scott Higgins*, John Finney, Nicole Van Baelen*, CJ Jacquin*

 Introduction and welcome of new member at large member: CJ Jacquin of Cornelius

 Guests: Aaron Tucker, Planning Director for the Town of Cornelius*

Update:

  1. Bicycle plan – adopted 2017, needs implementation. Lack of DOT funding has delayed improvements. Town ordered 20 BMUFL signs, to be erected. Strategic “sharrows”, “Street Smarts” program on town website for reporting issues/hazards
  2. Greenway plan
  3. Higgins: Enforcement and education, article to be written in local paper

Approval of October 2020 meeting minutes  – Approved

Updates/Old business

Kevin, John – ICATS bus wrap: Confusion about design assistance from Bruce at ICATS.

Action: Nicole to call Bruce to clarify

Fundraising:

Ruth drafted a donation letter, uploaded to Google Drive. Goals added during meeting

Ads on all modalities. Key: Community awareness.

Limit “in kind” sponsors and donations

Presence on towns’ social media accounts w/widespread announcements

Davidson News and other towns’ publications

Action: Everyone proof Ruth’s letter, offer edits/suggestions.

 10×10 tent final design – suggested color changes made

 McConnell – Next Mooresville Town Council/Board Meeting 1st week December. Topic ideas:

Further engage local law enforcement (LE) to assist with list dangerous areas list, response to signage, observe safety issues; budget meeting; re-engage planners; sign education for public; meet with town officials and LE together; request to put BMUFL signs where bike lanes exist; FAQ on Mooresville website; educate about increased number of bicyclists; street sweeping and restriping bike lanes; contacting LE on bikes; small Zoom meeting with LE contacts

 Nicole – Yard Signs – dropped off on 115 at driver’s school, some with John. May have an update  on Nascar video. CJ reports sign at Spirited Cyclist has had good feedback

Action: Nicole to contact Davidson about press release

Action: Andrea – owner Trek Charlotte, Doug

 Ruth – BOD Insurance – Retail insurance companies do not write this type of policy

Action: Kevin to contact company he uses for MAC ($475 annually)

Action: Ruth, Higgins find other vendors for quotes

 Tara – Current balance $239, minus fees from PayPal. She has spreadsheet to track funds

 Andrea – Requesting contact info from all who attend meetings and guests, add to centralized database, edited and updated independently. Slack ‘channel’ added

 Group – Community Awareness:

Higgins – Involve bike shops to put SAFE logo on their jerseys, stickers in shop windows; custom kits/jerseys made for SAFE; yard signs

Action: CJ to speak with John Finney and/or other owners of Spirited, work with marketing person to collaborate with SAFE

Action: Nicole to speak with Davidson Area Running Club, speak with Dave Munger

Action: Kevin, speak with Jaime at Charlotte Running Co.

Action: Andrea speak with Doug owner of Trek Charlotte

Action: Scott Higgins contact Sargent Sarver (sp?) for colleague/contact in Mooresville, keep him engaged

Campaign – brainstorm, like “click it or ticket”

 New Business/Tabled Topics

Slack app – reviewed, allow others, including guests, access to share and edit  info

Zoom account – Donated by Kevin. Jeff willing to donate in exchange for putting his “Weekly Rides” onto SAFE social media pages.  

Sponsorship’s: Guidelines should be in writing. Goal: by the time group rides resume in 2021.

Blog update (remove from agenda)

List of local bike clubs – needed

Accounting supplies needed (file folders, file box, etc.)

Research grants with Kevin

Erika – Stewart Basham instrumental in getting BMUFL signs in Mooresville. To verify he is over Zone 9/Davidson and if he covers Cornelius

 

Meeting Adjournment: 8:50pm

Next meeting: Wednesday December 16, 7:00 – 8:30

 

October 2020

Meeting Minutes – Final with Edits

Date Wednesday, 10/21/2020, 7 PM EDT – 8:30 PM

Agenda

Call meeting to order: The regular meeting of the SAFE Committee was called to order at 7:15pm on Google Drive by Kevin Elder

Attendance:

SAFE Board members: Kevin Elder, Nicole Van Baelen, Tara Owens, Scott McConnell, Erika Galloway Martin,  Ruth Yoash-Gantz, Andrea Lima

SAFE Members at large: Jeff Viscount, Erika Martin, Laura Calvin, Scott Higgins, John Finney

Guests: None

Introduction and welcome of new Board members: Tara – Treasurer, Andrea – Secretary

Approval of September 2020 meeting minutes  – Approved

Open Items

Kevin, John 

Update on ICATS bus wrap – Kevin presented idea, brainstorming and feedback offered. 

ICATS has designer, Bruce (contact). Provide ideas, they can generate design options.

URGENT NEED FOR IDEAS –submit to Nicole who will work with Bruce

SAFE is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Funding sources for ads: Grants, local businesses, charity rides, Davidson’s Fondo, Bike Walk NC, SAFE memberships and yard signs, corporations (Trek, Specialized), League of American Bicyclists, People for Bikes, car dealerships, hospital systems, ad at DMV, I-77 billboard.

Action: Ruth draft letter, research grants with Kevin

Scott M 

October Mooresville Town Meeting – Thanked for expediency and embracing new BMUFL signs, will send thank you note/card

Action: Erika to verify Stewart Basham, NCDOT division engineer, slbasham@ncdot.gov, verify he is over Zone 9/Davidson and if he covers Cornelius?

Tara

New BB&T bank account, balance $200.00, donated by Mooresville Area Cyclists, Inc. 

Online tax form – 990 or 990 EZ, to be updated by May 2021

SAFE PayPal account: Kevin@safelkn.com

Transfer funds via Zelle

Team

Located STR signs in Mooresville?  Add to Google Docs list or notify Erika

Nicole

Update on yard signs: Need to sell remaining 23 signs. Driving school on 115 agreed to place one. Ask local bike shops, John at group rides, advertise on social media pages

Action: Andrea to ask Trek Mooresville owner 

Other updates

CJ (Charles) Jacquin of Cornelius, to join group as at-large member

New Business 

Team   Anonymous sponsor donated 10×10 tent, pending final design

BOD insurance, pricing at McKays, State Farm (Ruth), see if can be donated

Open Discussion

Nicole to contact Davidson about press release

Scott Higgins: Define process to get signs up in Mooresville. Challenges in Cornelius. Refer to  October progress report on the SAFE webpage for written response from Cornelius Planner regarding his plan for improving bicycle safety.

Zoom account information from Jeff Viscount for subsequent meetings

Minutes to be emailed to each member

Agenda for Next Meeting/Tabled Topics

Researching ad costs: Facebook, TV, radio

Discuss topics for November town meeting

Update on account tracking method to be used (Excel?)

Blog update

List of local bike clubs

Accounting supplies needed (file folders, file box, etc.)

Meeting Close/Adjournment

Meeting was adjourned at 8:56pm by Kevin Elder. Next meeting will be 7:00pm, Wednesday 11/18/2020 via Zoom. Goal: 3rd Wed every month, 7pm. Dec 16 would be next

Minutes submitted by:Andrea Lima
Approved by:Name

September 2020

SAFE Meeting – September 21, 2020

Meeting called to order at 6:40

Board members present: Kevin Elder, Scott McConnell, Nicole Van Baelen
Members at large present: Erika Martin, Scott Higgins
Guests present: Ron Shoultz (ICATS)

August meeting minutes: Approved

Kevin:

  • Story for Livable Meck
  • See about getting the ICATS bus wrap rolling again
  • Contact Brad Johnson about which bus route we can use

Nicole:

  • Have everyone come up with ideas for places to place signs purchased.

Scott H:

  • Continues to work with Cornelius on sign placement
  • Need to reiterate pledge with cycling groups

Erika:

  • Bike plan funding coming in September
  • May Use Full Lane signs – making progress
  • CRTPO working on funding existing projects

Scott M

  • Putting together (3) minute presentation for October 5th Mooresville City Council mtg.
  • Putting signs out at intersections in Mooresville
  • Talking to someone about Treasurer

Meeting Adjourned: 7:40

Lights, Camera, Action

As a long-time cyclist there have been a few times I wish I would have had video of a close call or a confrontation with a motorist. Fortunately, for me personally, I haven’t had a lot of those and of those I have had, nothing major happened.

I did think it was important; however, to have video of my rides, so I purchased front and rear cameras for my bike. In addition to the hi-res cameras on each unit, they also have bright lights (white in front and red in back) to make me more visible to motorists.

It’s important that motorists know a large number of cyclists these days are recording their rides. When you pass a cyclist or a group of cyclists there’s a really good chance you’re being recorded by one or more cyclists in the group. 

Take the motorist in the attached photo for example. Passing on a double yellow line with oncoming traffic and endangering me and the other cyclists that were riding in our small group. The series of photos taken from the video that shows the license plate number as well as what happened will be given to the police department and they will be contacting this motorist. Let’s all try to be on our best behavior.

Our Biggest Accomplishment

Among our top priorities since forming the Street Access for Everyone advocacy group this year has been our efforts to encourage the replacement of all “Share the Road” signs with the more effective, easier to understand “Bikes May Use Full Lane” signs. These BMUFL signs also indicate law as opposed to the yellow Share the Road signs which are simply caution signs.

Thanks to our efforts the town of Mooresville has been granted permission by the NCDOT to replace all signs within it’s boundaries. Beginning around the middle of October the current Share the Road signs will begin to be replaced, and we could not be more excited.

We do not intend to stop with Mooresville either. We want these signs replaced in the entire area including Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Statesville and Troutman.

August 2020

Start time of meeting: 6:40PM

 

In attendance: Kevin Elder, Ruth Yoash-Gantz, Erika Martin, Laura Calvin, Nicole VanBaelen, Scott Higgins. 

 

Approval of previous meeting minutes: Approved with correction: Nicole was present at the 6/1/2020 meeting.

 

Agenda Items:

  1. NASCAR video. Nicole: no update from Eric yet. Things hectic with NASCAR so haven’t gotten the video.  
  2. NASCAR driving classes. Nicole: classes are virtual now. Woman sent Nicole video of classes and Nicole may try to make a video or send us a proposal for making a video.
  3. Quote for signs. Nicole: Price for 5 ($23.00/sign, plus stakes and shipping), 10 ($14.74/sign), 25 ($7.37/sign),and 50 signs ($5.74/sign). Signs are made of corrugated PVC. Nicole sent us a picture. She will buy 25 signs. Stakes $.91 per. Kevin has a bunch of stakes for MAC and we could use those. Discussed price to sell the signs at $20. Advertise them on the FB page, through MAC and other sites. 
  4. Davidson Liveability Board. Scott: some of the committees have been disbanded. Will check with Jane about this. 
  5. Update on Cornelius. Scott: working with the Town of Cornelius and Police Department regarding education, enforcement, signage and infrastructure. Ran into snags with DOT. Education component will be done through social media blitz. Other change was in signage. Scott helped identify 8 hazardous sites in Cornelius for cyclists and met with Transportation Advisory Board to ensure that cyclists are included in TAB. Had a special meeting with Town Manager, Town Planner, Mayor Pro-Tem and Law Enforcement regarding where to put the signs. Conrnelius Signage monies will be an amendment to the 2021 budget.
  6. Police locating speeders. Scott: met with police re: sites to locate speeders affecting cyclists and educating young officers about the importance of this. 
  7. Safety issues with COVID and runners/cyclists. Nicole: safety issues with walkers and runners jumping on the road due to social distancing and causing cyclists to crash. Scott added that this is the same issue on Jetton Rd. Passengers in parked cars and opening doors into cyclist traffic is another issue raised by Scott, who stopped and educated the woman. Nicole added that she has educated cyclists as well. We all agreed that it is difficult to educate some cyclists. Ruth added that this may improve when group rides and club rides resume again after pandemic. There will be improved cohesion. 
  8. Status of non-profit. Kevin: We submitted the application but got push-back because they interpreted one response as us persuading government officials. They were concerned that we were lobbyists. Kevin re-wrote the response to indicate that our efforts are to educate, not persuade. Kevin then received word that the application was being submitted for 501c3 status. So now waiting for the IRS to approve it. 
  9. Town of Mooresville handouts. Erika: Shared that Town of Mooresville has a new handout that Mooresville Police Department will use. “Mind your Ps and Qs” concept. Similar campaign for elementary school children. 
  10. Mooresville signage and NC COT. Erika: Still trying to get signs. Kathy Meadows has been pushing to get those made. She is continuing to push NC DOT. They have to approve the exact location. Scott added that he is dealing with the same in Cornelius re: NC DOT. Approval, money and delay are the issues. NC DOT panelist was negative toward Scott regarding signage. NC DOT has no money and despite Cornelius having $3m in approved projects, there is no money from NC DOT to complete the projects. Erika agreed regarding same issues in Mooresville. 
  11. Town Monies. Scott: towns do have “some” monies for sidewalks, etc. 
  12. Local Town police department meetings.  Scott: would like to get all the police departments together for a discussion. Ruth suggested we wait until we can do in-person. 
  13. SAFE presence. Scott: we need to push that SAFE is for all the towns. Kevin added that we need to keep the FB SAFE page more active. 
  14. Greenway signage. Scott: put a sign out on the greenway. Got the attention of others. 

 

MEETING ADJOURNED: 7:30PM.