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Radio Headache
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"Excuse me but are you aware that it is illegal to park in the bike lane?"

Thus began my conversation with Adam Kirk, employee of KDKA Radio and self-absorbed bike lane parking moron.

I don’t usually have the opportunity to talk with the people who park illegally in bike lanes because, well, when people typically park they then walk away from their vehicles. Because of that, I can only speculate on their reasons for parking illegally based on the typical autodominionist whining that hits the newspaper and website mailboxes whenever a bicycling issue comes up. But on the Eliza Furnace Trail underneath the Liberty Bridge, the news media sit in the vans with the engines idling waiting for the broadcast queue to leap out and film their segments with the Municipal Courts Building in the background. With Mr. Kirk sitting in his vehicle, I had an opportunity to actually interact with him and I am sad to say, he employed all of the excuses for parking in the bike lane that I had heretofore only assumed.

"It’s not illegal."

Yes. It is. "No motorized vehicles are permitted" and your vehicle is parked right in the middle.

"All the other stations park here."

Yes, they do. And I have seen as many as four vehicles from various media outlets parked here and yet not parked actually on the bike lane. Honestly, they used to park in the bike lane but I was involved in a conversation with one of them online and after that they cleaned up their act for the most part. There have been a fe half-on-the-tral incidents but none of the block-the-entire-trail kinds of things for several years now.

"The cops told me to park here."

"Here" is a very large place and I am sure the cops didn’t tell you to park on the bike lane itself. Move fifteen feet forward or fifteen feet back and there is plenty of space to park that is not on the bike lane.

"I don’t see any cops here telling me to move."

Just because you haven’t been caught doesn’t make something legal. It only means you have gotten away with a crime. Do you think this way all the time? Do you only obey the law when a lawman is watching? I should hope not.

"I don’t see any signs."

There used to be a sign just fifteen feet to your left but one of your media compatriots ran it over with his vehicle. It was subsequently pulled from the ground and chucked with the other garbage and debris against the Parkway East abutment. Removing the sign saying this is a bike lane does not make it any less a bike lane and does not make parking on the bike lane any less illegal. The asphalt also clearly distinguishes the bike lane from the concrete of the not-bike-lane area. And you should have probably taken the clue from the cyclists that no doubt had been riding by while you parked there.

"You could have gone around."

Yes, I could have gone around but it would not be safe to do so. Going around presents the same line-of-sight dangers as if you had to drive into oncoming traffic to go around someone who is double parked. That’s why double parking is illegal. That’s why parking in the bike lane is illegal. That’s why there are bike lanes in the first place.

"You came up to me and was rude. You could have just asked me to move."

OK, now your self-important, passive-aggressive response is just bullshit. My opening statement was "Are you aware that it is illegal to park in the bike lane?" How is that rude? Really, how? If I had come up to you and as you suggested said "Could you please move your vehicle, it’s blocking the bike lane" tell me, would you have reacted any differently? Would you have thought that was so much more polite and moved your vehicle? Hell, no. You continuous and varied excuses prove to me that you wouldn’t have simply moved no matter what I said. You would have reacted with the same privileged arrogance and disdain as you heaped upon my question in the first place. To you, my mere act of confronting you was rude. An affront to your perceived right to do whatever you want because you are a newsman. Or a guy in a car dealing with ‘merely’ a cyclist.

And, even if I was rude, that doesn’t make it acceptable to illegally park in the bike lane.

So, here’s the thing. When you are sitting in a KDKA vehicle, working on a KDKA laptop, phoning in a KDKA news story to the KDKA desk while on the KDKA clock, you are representing KDKA. When you show a blatant disregard for the law and for safety and then dig in your heels to justify your actions, you do so as a representative of the company you work for. When you literally roll your eyes at me, you represent your company as having a complete disregard for my safety and for the law. You do your employer a disservice and, in so doing, you have earned yourself a letter to your employer informing them of how poorly you represent them and a letter to the Mayor’s office requesting that the local police do a better job of enforcing the laws and a posting on the Internet telling the entire world who you are and what you think about the law and the safety of cyclists.

This could have been easily avoided. Firstly, by simply not parking illegally in the bike lane. But, even if you were ignorant of that (and remember that ignorance of the law is no excuse) a simple "sorry" and a moving of your vehicle would have avoided the entire thing. Instead, you came up with excuse after excuse. Each one reinforcing your belief that not only had you done nothing wrong but that I was the one wrong in pointing it out to you. My objective is not to insult you or embarrass you or get you ticket or rat you out to your employer but to make the situation safe for myself and other cyclists by clearing the bike lane. But when you set yourself above the law and the safety of others then I feel no remorse in proceeding with insult, embarrassment and other techniques necessary to educate you and ensure my own safety.

White Chevy Tahoe
PA HPP-7369
Fri 04 Nov 2011 06:31:50 AM EDT

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