If you know anyone from the Okeson, Eklund, Richardson, Schlottman, Torgerson, or Thompson families from North Dakota or Oregon, please help identify these photographs!

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An Appeal from a Bicyclist

It is my understanding that bicyclists are obligated, in most cases, to follow traffic laws designed for automoblies when riding on paved surfaces. One major difficulty in following these laws is that some cars that use the same streets and roads do not consider the bicyclist, or, if they do, consider the bicyclist to be 'trespassing' on to their 'turf'. The one car in twenty or fifty that does consider the bicyclist does not necessarily understand how to best do so. The best ways that cars can help bicyclists out is 1) Don't throw trash (especially glass) out of your car. Broken glass, even in grassy areas, is a major hazard and I've got the stitches to prove it. This goes for pedestrians and bicyclists, too. Drivers aren't the only ones who litter; I've been in places where littering from a car would have been extremely unlikely. Why make someone else clean up your mess? Hold on to the trash until you get to the appropriate receptical. Be proud of your country. 2) Don't pull up into the intersection where you are then blocking the crosswalk or path. I know sometimes visibility on many roads isn't great when you are trying to navigate traffic, but if it isn't then the appropriate city official should be contacted in order to remove obstacles or redesign the intersection. 3) Don't get tempermental. Most automobiles can easily kill a bicyclist. 4) Don't bendover backward to stop for us. I've had cars stop in the middle of crossing traffic to wave me across the intersection. I usually don't indulge them. The reason is that you may stop, but often someone in another lane won't or doesn't see me. Also, by putting yourself and your car in a precarious situation, you could get hit. I adjust my riding based on the level of traffic out there; You just drive normally and don't try to surprise me and I'll get to where I am going. Being on a bicycle in urban areas is different than driving. The bicyclist is more aware of where the cars are than the drivers are. Our main objective is to keep from getting hit. Second to that, I suppose that we would like to get to where we are going without cars pushing their weight around. Many of the traffic laws unrealistically approach this situation because they treat bicycles as automoblies, which they obviously are not. Since the bicyclist is then treated as a second-class vehicle (subject to tailgating, reckless driving toward the bicyclist, lack of regard, etc.), the bicyclist has an additional impediment to following laws designed for automobiles. When the opportunity arises for the bicyclist to follow a path or sidewalk away from the streets, then they are distained by walkers and other pedestrian forms of travel. Automobiles don't want bicyclists on the streets and pedestrians don't want bicyclists on the sidewalks, so, in closing, it is my hope that this would encourage city planners and other responsible officials to think of the bicyclists and develop adequate bicycle paths for urban travel, in addition to redefining legal traffic considerations.


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Author: Gregory Okeson
This page was last updated June 20th, 2008.
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If you're close to Temple, Texas, drop by Gandy's Barber Shop and get a hair cut from Phil. He does quality work and will also make hospital and house calls by appointment. Phil at Gandy's Barber Shop