Last week, I visited Derek Gamret, a North Shore parking lot attendant who is used to the sound of crunching metal...I was amazed to see how close the attendant had come to calamity, as the waist-high brick wall surrounding his lot recently was torn apart by a speeding car.
Either NASCAR has added the North Shore as a track or something weird is going on.
Cars speed across the bridge from Downtown, he said. Just as I had suspected. To verify my research, I headed back to the intersection with a handheld radar gun.
I use the radar gun to keep my buddies honest when they brag about the top speeds they allegedly reach at local racetracks, but my racer friends have nothing on North Side commuters.
The Seventh Street Bridge's posted speed limit is a lazy 25 mph, but in less than 15 minutes, I managed to track cars doing more than twice that speed.
It's one heck of a gamble to take on a daily basis. Stand there long enough, and you'll be amazed there haven't been more crashes -- and more trees and buildings bearing the scars of too many commuters who think they're NASCAR drivers.
Excellent work. I like the idea of a journalist trying to keep speeders at bay in a like vigilante-justice kind of way. I also love that Seate owns his own radar gun -- for recreational purposes.
Now here's "counter-point," in which another journalist argues that laws against speeding on public streets are draconian and unnecessary:Fla. lawmaker aims to crush cyclists' thrills
A few years back, I wrote a book about the then-emergent sport of motorcycle stunt riding. At the time, maybe a dozen teams of young riders were making a good living pulling wheelies and other collarbone-crushing stunts on high-powered motorcycles.
Definitely seems like the kind of behavior you want to go out of your way to...protect?
Florida State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R-Miami) has introduced House Bill 137, which is aimed at stamping out stunt riding once and for all. If the bill becomes law, anyone caught stunt riding or exceeding the speed limit by 50 mph on a motorcycle in Florida will be arrested and have their bike impounded and their license suspended for 10 years.I love this law. This is an awesome law. How can you be against this law? [Edit: see comments for a far better understanding of it than I provided here.]
Drivers do get distracted by cell phone calls, yes. Possibly by drugs and alcohol, too. But another thing that might contribute to accidents involving motorcycles going 50+ MPH over the speed limit while doing dangerous stunts is: the motorcycles going 50+ MPH over the speed limit while doing dangerous stunts.
This kind of overzealous, punitive lawmaking is a threat to all motorists, regardless of how we get around.
Also a threat to motorists: people who go really fast on motorcycles and do stunts.
A proposed law might mean one thing on paper, but out on the streets, where cops can and, often, will interpret the rule of law with millions of variances, there's no telling what they might construe as "stunt riding."
Like, possibly, going 49 MPH over the speed limit while doing a dangerous stunt? You're right. Get rid of the law.
You can find car drivers exceeding the speed limit by 50 mph every day, but I can't imagine anyone jailing them for doing so.
Mike Seate seems to want to, based on that earlier column.
Maybe lawmakers like Lopez-Cantera wouldn't introduce ill-conceived laws like this if they respected the rights of motorcyclists, and viewed us as something more than a group of thrill-seeking kids who need to be taught a lesson.
Now, kids at home, I want you to guess who wrote the "counter-point" to Mike Seate's "point."
That's right -- it was Woody Paige!Just kidding. It was also Mike Seate.