Video: Snowplow within inches of cyclist

Jeff routinely runs video while riding his bike through Milwaukee. He recorded this dramatic brush with a city snow plow that passed within inches of him.

The story doesn’t end there, though. He reported the incident to the police and showed them the video evidence. The police reaction: They wanted to know why he had a video camera on his bike.

Jeff also took it to the public works people and even to the city attorney. The reaction all around was lectures on why Jeff shouldn’t ride a bike in Milwaukee.

Cycling lawyer Bob Mionske discusses Jeff’s case in much greater detail in his Legally Speaking column. See also Jeff’s Bike Blog. Go Jeff!

37 Comments

  • bikesgonewild
    February 9, 2008 - 1:29 am | Permalink

    …'official' snow job…

  • bikesgonewild
    February 9, 2008 - 8:29 am | Permalink

    …'official' snow job…

  • SiouxGeonz
    February 9, 2008 - 8:43 am | Permalink

    Media? I'm thinking media has been being positive towards the intrepid cyclists…
    Sheesh. Yes, from their perspective, it would be a lot nicer if they didn't have to worry about cyclists.
    It would be a lot nicer if they didn't have to worry about a *lot* of things that they're responsible for.

  • SiouxGeonz
    February 9, 2008 - 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Media? I'm thinking media has been being positive towards the intrepid cyclists… Sheesh. Yes, from their perspective, it would be a lot nicer if they didn't have to worry about cyclists. It would be a lot nicer if they didn't have to worry about a *lot* of things that they're responsible for.

  • Ed W
    February 9, 2008 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

    This is not meant as a defense of the snowplow operator, but has anyone considered the consequences if he'd swung wide around Jeff? He would have left a section of lane unplowed, and as we all know, motorists will avoid driving there. They'd have to merge at what appeared to be mid-block. The chances of a car-car collision go way up.

  • Ed W
    February 9, 2008 - 8:50 pm | Permalink

    This is not meant as a defense of the snowplow operator, but has anyone considered the consequences if he'd swung wide around Jeff? He would have left a section of lane unplowed, and as we all know, motorists will avoid driving there. They'd have to merge at what appeared to be mid-block. The chances of a car-car collision go way up.

  • bikesgonewild
    February 9, 2008 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

    …ed w…a similar though has been sitting in the back of my mind also…

    …w/ out defending the operator or the officials, if our intrepid cyclist, knowing the plow was coming, had shown the courtesy & good sense to stop & pull over to the right for maybe one minute, the plow would have had the opportunity to do the job properly which may then have aided both cars & bicyclists…

    …just being on a bicycle does make you better or smarter unless you use your intelligence

  • bikesgonewild
    February 9, 2008 - 9:04 pm | Permalink

    …ed w…a similar though has been sitting in the back of my mind also……w/ out defending the operator or the officials, if our intrepid cyclist, knowing the plow was coming, had shown the courtesy & good sense to stop & pull over to the right for maybe one minute, the plow would have had the opportunity to do the job properly which may then have aided both cars & bicyclists……just being on a bicycle does make you better or smarter unless you use your intelligence

  • A Midnight Rider
    February 9, 2008 - 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I'm thinking that the snow plow drive r could have signaled to get the bikers attention, and give him time to get safe.

  • A Midnight Rider
    February 9, 2008 - 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I'm thinking that the snow plow drive r could have signaled to get the bikers attention, and give him time to get safe.

  • A Midnight Rider
    February 9, 2008 - 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I'm thinking that the snow plow drive r could have signaled to get the bikers attention, and give him time to get safe.

  • Art
    February 9, 2008 - 6:12 pm | Permalink

    ed w: I thought the same thing. And that three foot wide snow bank would force subsequent cyclists to have to swerve out into the traffic lane. I've been in this exact situation, and it takes almost zero effort to find a spot to pull off the road and let the plow by. Just because you have a legal right to do something doesn't make it the best choice. We're talking about a snow plow driver here. Someone who's just trying to work what most of us would consider a pretty crappy job to keep the roads clear and safe for all users. How would this tool like it if someone came into his workplace and did something to keep him from getting his job done just because they have a legal right to?

  • Art
    February 10, 2008 - 1:12 am | Permalink

    ed w: I thought the same thing. And that three foot wide snow bank would force subsequent cyclists to have to swerve out into the traffic lane. I've been in this exact situation, and it takes almost zero effort to find a spot to pull off the road and let the plow by. Just because you have a legal right to do something doesn't make it the best choice. We're talking about a snow plow driver here. Someone who's just trying to work what most of us would consider a pretty crappy job to keep the roads clear and safe for all users. How would this tool like it if someone came into his workplace and did something to keep him from getting his job done just because they have a legal right to?

  • Art
    February 10, 2008 - 1:12 am | Permalink

    ed w: I thought the same thing. And that three foot wide snow bank would force subsequent cyclists to have to swerve out into the traffic lane. I've been in this exact situation, and it takes almost zero effort to find a spot to pull off the road and let the plow by. Just because you have a legal right to do something doesn't make it the best choice. We're talking about a snow plow driver here. Someone who's just trying to work what most of us would consider a pretty crappy job to keep the roads clear and safe for all users. How would this tool like it if someone came into his workplace and did something to keep him from getting his job done just because they have a legal right to?

  • A Midnight Rider
    February 9, 2008 - 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I had to come back and post again. The more I think about it, the more I fell that Jeff should drop the whole thing.

    I'm confident that the city, state, town or whatever, puts out an advisory telling people to stay off the roads, so they can be cleaned.

    I'm thinking that Jeff should choose a better battle than this one. As much of a bike fanatic as I am, I feel Jeff was wrong.

  • A Midnight Rider
    February 10, 2008 - 1:32 am | Permalink

    I had to come back and post again. The more I think about it, the more I fell that Jeff should drop the whole thing. I'm confident that the city, state, town or whatever, puts out an advisory telling people to stay off the roads, so they can be cleaned. I'm thinking that Jeff should choose a better battle than this one. As much of a bike fanatic as I am, I feel Jeff was wrong.

  • A Midnight Rider
    February 10, 2008 - 1:32 am | Permalink

    I had to come back and post again. The more I think about it, the more I fell that Jeff should drop the whole thing. I'm confident that the city, state, town or whatever, puts out an advisory telling people to stay off the roads, so they can be cleaned. I'm thinking that Jeff should choose a better battle than this one. As much of a bike fanatic as I am, I feel Jeff was wrong.

  • fridrix
    February 9, 2008 - 7:19 pm | Permalink

    My instinct would also be to pull over. Those plows have a lot of territory to cover in a limited time.

  • fridrix
    February 10, 2008 - 2:19 am | Permalink

    My instinct would also be to pull over. Those plows have a lot of territory to cover in a limited time.

  • fridrix
    February 10, 2008 - 2:19 am | Permalink

    My instinct would also be to pull over. Those plows have a lot of territory to cover in a limited time.

  • Anonymous
    February 10, 2008 - 6:08 am | Permalink

    A school bus intentionally hit me (after laying on the horn for a block) and kept on going. No point in reporting it because the cops in my town don't care and neither does the bus company.

  • Anonymous
    February 10, 2008 - 1:08 pm | Permalink

    A school bus intentionally hit me (after laying on the horn for a block) and kept on going. No point in reporting it because the cops in my town don't care and neither does the bus company.

  • Jeff
    February 21, 2008 - 8:05 pm | Permalink

    You all might want to check out my explainations as to why I rode the way I did that night.
    http://bikesafer.blogspot.com/2008/02/velonews-response.html

  • Jeff
    February 22, 2008 - 3:05 am | Permalink

    You all might want to check out my explainations as to why I rode the way I did that night. http://bikesafer.blogspot.com/2008/02/velonews-response.html

  • Jeff
    February 22, 2008 - 3:05 am | Permalink

    You all might want to check out my explainations as to why I rode the way I did that night. http://bikesafer.blogspot.com/2008/02/velonews-response.html

  • Ed W
    February 21, 2008 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Jeff…I read your explanations, and while I normally defend any cyclist's right to use the roadway, in this case I believe you were wrong. Snowplows perform a public safety function by clearing the roads for all of us to use. You wouldn't think twice about yielding your space to an ambulance or police car with lights and sirens running. A snowplow is performing a similar public good, maybe not as critical as an ambulance or police car on a call, but definitely similar in that it helps to prevent crashes.

  • Ed W
    February 22, 2008 - 4:06 am | Permalink

    Jeff…I read your explanations, and while I normally defend any cyclist's right to use the roadway, in this case I believe you were wrong. Snowplows perform a public safety function by clearing the roads for all of us to use. You wouldn't think twice about yielding your space to an ambulance or police car with lights and sirens running. A snowplow is performing a similar public good, maybe not as critical as an ambulance or police car on a call, but definitely similar in that it helps to prevent crashes.

  • Ed W
    February 22, 2008 - 4:06 am | Permalink

    Jeff…I read your explanations, and while I normally defend any cyclist's right to use the roadway, in this case I believe you were wrong. Snowplows perform a public safety function by clearing the roads for all of us to use. You wouldn't think twice about yielding your space to an ambulance or police car with lights and sirens running. A snowplow is performing a similar public good, maybe not as critical as an ambulance or police car on a call, but definitely similar in that it helps to prevent crashes.

  • Anonymous
    March 9, 2008 - 7:03 pm | Permalink

    WHEN THE ROADS ARE BAD YOU SHOULDNT BE ON THE ROAD WAY IN THE FIRST PLACE IN A CAR, LET ALONE A BIKE. SO IF YOU GOT GRAZED BY A SNOWPLOW THATS YOUR ON FAULT. GET A JOB AND BUY A CAR. AND BY THE WAY YOUR TOWN CALLED THEY WANT THEIR IDIOT BACK.

  • Anonymous
    March 10, 2008 - 2:03 am | Permalink

    WHEN THE ROADS ARE BAD YOU SHOULDNT BE ON THE ROAD WAY IN THE FIRST PLACE IN A CAR, LET ALONE A BIKE. SO IF YOU GOT GRAZED BY A SNOWPLOW THATS YOUR ON FAULT. GET A JOB AND BUY A CAR. AND BY THE WAY YOUR TOWN CALLED THEY WANT THEIR IDIOT BACK.

  • Anonymous
    March 10, 2008 - 2:03 am | Permalink

    WHEN THE ROADS ARE BAD YOU SHOULDNT BE ON THE ROAD WAY IN THE FIRST PLACE IN A CAR, LET ALONE A BIKE. SO IF YOU GOT GRAZED BY A SNOWPLOW THATS YOUR ON FAULT. GET A JOB AND BUY A CAR. AND BY THE WAY YOUR TOWN CALLED THEY WANT THEIR IDIOT BACK.

  • Anonymous
    March 9, 2008 - 7:19 pm | Permalink

    it's village not town, idiot

  • Anonymous
    March 10, 2008 - 2:19 am | Permalink

    it's village not town, idiot

  • Anonymous
    March 10, 2008 - 2:19 am | Permalink

    it's village not town, idiot

  • Ed W
    March 9, 2008 - 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Hey, cut him a break. He just got that brand, spankin' new WebTV setup and he was anxious to check it out.

  • Ed W
    March 10, 2008 - 2:35 am | Permalink

    Hey, cut him a break. He just got that brand, spankin' new WebTV setup and he was anxious to check it out.

  • Ed W
    March 10, 2008 - 2:35 am | Permalink

    Hey, cut him a break. He just got that brand, spankin' new WebTV setup and he was anxious to check it out.

  • Leave a Reply