Posted by Kat, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Dec 6, 2007 at 9:10 am
While his bike is certainly interesting, he does interfere with traffic and threatens pedestrian safety. I've observed him around town on numerous occasions and he does ride down the middle of the street, slowing traffic down to a crawl. He also rides up onto the sidewalk area and has to avoid pedestrians while jumping off the bike to stop. Real potential for injury to someone here.
Posted by Antique bicycle, a resident of Stanford, on Dec 6, 2007 at 9:28 am
Clearly he can do whatever he wants--he is riding an antique bicycle without breaks--so the rules and laws don;t concern him. He is allowed to disrupt traffic, role through stop signs, ride down the center of the street and on sidewalks--it is an antique bicycle.
Anyway check out the picture in PA Daily article--he looks like a real nerd--white socks and sandals!!!!
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 10:08 am
I always thought these bicycles were called penny farthings all over the world, but .... Anyway, I personally think that it is great to see the bike still functioning and is a good lesson for our young people to see, however I do not think he should be riding this bike in traffic. It is a fairground novelty act, and should be included in parades and the like. It is not a safe mode of transport in this day and age and it makes little sense to allow him to continue.
PS I have seen him riding around and it does cause a stir, that in itself could cause an accident as someone could easily get distracted while driving just by looking at him.
Posted by Lighten up, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 10:11 am
Some of my traffic experiences around town:
Mercedes 450 convertible runs through red light at Coulomb while driver talks on cell phone. Had I stepped into the cross walk when the light turned, the car would have hit me and my baby stroller as we crossed.
I am first car at stop light on Charleston and El Camino, facing Arastradero. The driver behind me, wishing to edge by and turn right, honks vigorously for me to pull into the crosswalk as a pedestrian tries to cross.
Teenage driver ignores stoplight in front of elementary school and turns left across my path, without stopping and at a high rate of speed.
The kids get to stop to point and say, "Look! A pennyfarthing!" as an impossible looking tall bicycle passes by on our street, usually all by itself. Smiles and wonder ensue. If only it would come by and slow down traffic when the teenagers are speeding on their way to school.
It is a "pennyfarthing," isn't it? I'd love a clarification.
Maybe one of you curmudgeons is the driver who honked for me to bean the pedestrian in the crosswalk so you could turn right two seconds faster. Lighten up. And slow down please.
Posted by Andreas, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 10:16 am
Pennyfarthing: The name refers to the British penny and farthing coins of the time; the former being much larger than the latter so that the side view of the bicycle resembled two such coins placed next to one another. (From Wikipedia, of course!)
Posted by bikes2work, a member of the Santa Rita (Los Altos) community, on Dec 6, 2007 at 10:19 am
I agree with Lighten up. His bike is cool, and I've observed him many times around town. I equate it to a unicycle (which I ride occasionally). I used to have a 6-foot unicycle too. They have no brakes either, but they are a lot of fun and really great exercise. You can't coast.
Posted by RS, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 11:39 am
This type of bike is nicknamed a "bone-shaker" for good reason.
Even though the police apparently agree the bicycle laws dont apply to him because he falls through a loophole, I dont think you will see a lot others riding these to take advantage of their apparent lack of coverage.
Posted by Casey, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 12:06 pm
Another bicycle nut, holding up traffic? Believe me, I don't think Palo Alto has a problem with slow traffic. The cops aren't hanging out on Middlefield all day ticketing people for driving too slow. Instead, way too many drivers are speeding and blowing through red lights, especially at the East Meadow / Alma intersection. Yes, enforce the traffic laws, but focus on the speeders and red-light runners. Those are the real hazards on the road.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 1:17 pm
He only needs to hit a child, person with a stroller, elderly person, etc. once at an intersection for the police to find out exactly what code he can be prosecuted under.
And, I find it interesting to see that he is being stopped for not stopping at intersections when most cyclists do not stop and appear not to be stopped by police. Maybe a little more consistency here would help.
Posted by Former PA Student, a resident of another community, on Dec 6, 2007 at 1:46 pm
Ronald L-Thank you. I have never heard that phrase before, and it fits perfectly. I agree with Lighten Up; the police shouldn't be concerned about this guy riding around on his bicycle. They should be ticketing more and more speeders and light-runners.
Posted by Palo Parent, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 1:47 pm
Parent: I think you are missing the point: He CAN'T stop. That pretty much makes it matter of time and is the problem. But what do I know, this is merely the whack-a-mole of the day in an otherwise slow news day.
Posted by LadyF, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 2:06 pm
I have ridden my bike with Martin on several occasions and know him to be an extremely safe and knowledgeable bicyclist who would never risk hurting anyone. Perhaps if some of you tried getting out of your cars and riding a bike around town once in a while, you could appreciate what cyclists go through every day -- cars running red lights and stop signs, driving dangerously close to you, opening their doors right in your path, not seeing you at all (oftentimes due to talking or texting on their phones), in too much of a hurry to even lightly tap their brake pedal to allow you right of way.
Maybe then everyone would see as clearly as we do that cars are the menace, not bicycles of any kind! I am beginning to see why this place is known as "Shallow Alto".
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 3:59 pm
I get your point completely, hence mine. If he can't stop and ends up causing injury to someone as a result, the police will find a way to prosecute him.
If there is a loophole that makes him outside the law then it says a couple of things. One, he is being singled out for not stopping because most cyclists don't stop anyway. If he can't stop in an emergency, he is an accident waiting to happen.
I go back to my original statement, he should be out of traffic and left for funfairs and parades. His mode of transport was for when life was slower. Do you remember that when the first motorised vehicles arrived on the scene, a man with a red flag had to walk in front of them to warn other road users. Maybe, he should have an escort with a red flag walking in front of him.
Posted by cat, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 5:16 pm
I agree with Lighten Up. I'm much more afraid of people in their Mercedes or giant SUVs who tailgate me because I'm not going fast enough (I drive at a safe speed on city streets because god forbid, a squirrel or kid could cross my path)and then obnoxiously honk at me as they speed by! Believe me, Martin is not hard to miss and on the occasions we've seen him coming we've stood on the sidewalk and applauded his skill in riding such a contraption. So, lighten up Palo Alto and quit being so mean!
Posted by High Wheel Supporter, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 6:23 pm
I've seen Martin riding his High Wheel for a long time. I've always felt safe around him; his bike skills are excellent. I'm glad this story was in the newspaper. The police department would serve the public better if they stopped all the people riding bikes on sidewalks, speeding by, and only inches away from pedestrians. That happens constantly, and those bike riders do not have good skills... or common sense, for that matter. Martin has both. It's good to see his High Wheel, and it's an opportunity for a history lesson for kids. Palo Alto needs to make an accommodation for this "bike", and stop over-thinking everything. Relax -- and consider the source: Martin's track record should speak for itself. Most things people worry about never happen. Let's put effort into REAL problems.
Posted by Mr Bob, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 7:07 pm
Yes the bike does have brakes and can stop but not the same as a modern bike. Those pedals are "Fixed" in other words to slow down one pedals backwards which slows the bike down. Stopping requires one to dismount and thats where the problem is. Its a real pain to get off and on these bikes. So if its safe to do so let him roll through the stop sign. With the high height he can see from he would be able to see all around him.
Posted by Fellow cyclist, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 7:24 pm
Appreciate someone who can live car-free.
Take an example from a traveler who is:
*Saving the earth from pollution and global warming
*A threat to no one
*Gentle in all ways
*Risking their own health far more than that of others
*Making a point with humor and dedication
*In awesome shape by refusing to slouch in a carriage
Brakes: You brake by using your legs when on a Pennyfarthing. It's direct drive. In our hands that bike might be a menace. Not in Martin's.
Safety: A 50lb bike is no threat compared to 4,000 lb mis-guided missile. Check out East Meadow by the schools in the morning in the rain: do you know it is against the law to "duck into" the bike lane to pass someone waiting to turn into Fairmeadow School, and you are 1000x more likely to hurt, let alone kill someone? Those bike lanes are full of kids. I see drivers do this every day. That is where the police belong (and they are frequently there).
As drivers, we must take our responsibility seriously, not blame others.
Posted by MArtin Krieg, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 6, 2007 at 7:27 pm
Perhaps a bit of education is in order here. To begin, my bike does not have brakes but I CAN stop it! Pretty quickly I might add. By backpedaling. As such, I am like the fixed gear bikes that are all the rage in big bike cities all over America.
One of the biggest reasons, I ride my 'contraption' is because I am getting the best workout I have ever had in my life. My 23 years in the gym, pale in comparison to how hard this thing drives me. Because it is an overgrown 'fixie', not only must I steer, pedal and brake the same enormous wheel, I cannot stop pedaling it either. Pedal one way, I go forward, Pedal another, or at least try to, and I stop!
That said, the reason any of this even came up is because I was thinking out loud in an email reply about whether I should take the well loved Busycle out for a night ride. I had expressed concern that if local law enforcement keeps stopping me on my Hi, that such an action would be curtains for the Busycle.
The reason this is so is because our 15-person "bicycle' also falls outside of the CA Vehicle Code. And yet if a police officer tried to enforce his or her understanding of the law by writing a ticket, his superiors would be left with no other option but to stand behind such a citation. For those here unfamiliar with the machine that has had Mayors from all across the county on it, go to Web Link ..
So now Palo Alto gets to make the call. Do we yield to a harried car driving public that has no time but to ameliorate anything that may find its way on to its path? Robert Moses did this to New York City. He displaced hundreds of thousands of people with his freeways. And in the end, he is more despised than respected for his truly colossal accomplishments.
Or do we flex our muscle as a true bicycle city and honor the vehicle that started personal transportation as well as helped to bring about the first roads in America? Will this community support my desire to do what Thomas Stevens did in 1884 when he rode a HiWheel from San Francisco to Boston? Just as he expanded consciousness for how far a man could travel with his own body, I am hopeful that my ride will enlarge the size of our collective thinking as well. I want to show how we can all safely move about on an interconnected network of bikeable roads and paths, the National Bicycle Greenway . Or as the title of my new bike suggests, “How America can Bike and Grow Rich, The National Bicycle Greenway Manifesto” !!
Posted by Kat, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Dec 7, 2007 at 7:51 am
Mr. Krieg - It's either a bicycle or it isn't. If you think that you can successfully argue, in a court of law, that the Vehicle Code does not apply to your bike, I think you are in for a rude awakening.
Posted by treeroot2, a resident of another community, on Dec 7, 2007 at 8:24 am
wait till he rides cross country, on an authentic ordinary ,, not the 70 year old reproduction.... he better have some bail money ready... there are places that wont tolerate that behavior..and he will possibly be put in jail, bike towed, and other events that are costly,.. that would be a fantastic photo. to see that reproduction bike on a hook...when i rode my 1889 victor light roadster,, 54 inch front wheel,from san fran to boston,in 1984, we were assaulted in oakland by, a ham sandwich on rye, with an empty coke bottle.. in wyoming ,,kids were target practicing at me with there b b gun.. here where i live and ride ,,you are considered a TARGET if you are in the street,,good luck to martin,ride safe,, walter branche
Posted by Martin Krieg, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2007 at 10:43 am
WoW - the honorable Walter! Branche. It needs to be known that you hail from Florida, a community that is w/o question the most dangerous state in the union to ride a bike. While I have great admiration for your efforts, why is yours the only HiWheel crossing that was fraught with problems such as what you describe above? Could it be that you brought a little of the cyclist's inferiority complex that FL drivers seem to have instilled in you to other parts of the country?
It is that that I am trying to change. I am trying to bring the enlightened ways that the majority of Palo Altans feel about the bicycle to the rest of America.
As well, my ride will be a celebration of life! Having been dead and then having had to learn how to walk, talk, go the bathroom, tie shoes, fasten buttons, and just not drool on my self all over again, taught me a lot about life. I can sit still and be quiet or I can follow the mantra that got me all the way back:
Posted by Stop the Trolls, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2007 at 3:19 pm
This is not a "Town Forum". I don't know Palo Alto residents who talk in jocular language such as what I am seeing here. Seems this is the work of trolls who have little else going on in their life than to create mischief.
I love seeing Martin go by off in the distance on his enormous bike. It warms my heart as it reminds me that it is OK to slow down ..
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2007 at 3:48 pm
Your right about stopping traffic . I saw two limousines stop on University. One of the drivers got out and flagged the Big Wheel man down. When he stopped all these grown men and women in suits and evening gowns got out of the cars and surrounded him. It was a red light but we still had to wait for another minute while they took pictures
Posted by Dan, a resident of Menlo Park, on Dec 7, 2007 at 4:29 pm
Leave him alone; he's riding an antique 52 inch Mary Poppins type bike...oh come on and let the guy ride!! If he is NOT egregiously violating the law on a 71 yr old bike.. let him ride. He should have proper lighting for eve and night operation tho.
Posted by Donald, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2007 at 4:44 pm
The comments about holding up traffic ignore the fact that he IS traffic! Traffic is not just cars, and the law does not guarantee anyone a right to speed. Bicycles, pedestrians and even equestrians have equal rights to use public roads. If people in cars sometimes need to slow down to accomodate these others safely, that is what the law requires them to do. Keep up the good work, Martin, and ignore the harried grinches who like to spend their time complaining.
Posted by branche, a resident of another community, on Dec 7, 2007 at 5:38 pm
hi, i imagine i was lucky, or how the legendary jerry grulkey, described it,,things were different back then.....,once i got squirted with mustard while riding, a few weeks later ,as a man was passing me,he looked in his rear view mirror at me,, he struck a 5 year old girl riding her bicycle, ..she died in the street.. i am not paranoid about riding the street ...i have been hit by a car while on a motorcycle,3 times,... recently my wife and i were hit and run in orlando.. about how dangerous it is for us here in florida, a friend of ours recently died,, because the road crew placed the storm grate the wrong way ,and his wheel was trapped.,in the drain, this is a road that he had ridden every day for 10 years,ride safe mr. martin we are on your side ,,sincerely walter
Posted by Life is passing Bob by..., a resident of the Charleston Gardens neighborhood, on Dec 7, 2007 at 5:55 pm
"Your right about stopping traffic . I saw two limousines stop on University. One of the drivers got out and flagged the Big Wheel man down. When he stopped all these grown men and women in suits and evening gowns got out of the cars and surrounded him. It was a red light but we still had to wait for another minute while they took pictures."
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2007 at 9:37 am
I'm tired of avoiding bikers as they shoot through stop signs and red lights as if they have the right of way. While many on this thread believe that cars are the only problem, bikers really do break the law and present as much of a hazard as any SUV or other car on the roadway. EVERYONE needs to follow the rules of the road . . . not just cars.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Stanford, on Dec 8, 2007 at 12:07 pm
I almost hit this guy at the intersection of Churchill & Alma where I was making a right on red onto Churchill going towards El Camino. The guy on the pennyfarthing comes wobbling out of the opposite lane and onto the sidewalk - obviously he couldn't keep his balance while sitting at a red light.
Every time I see him, I think of the nightmare it would've been if he'd have been a little slower make his illegal maneuver.
I hope you're reading this, Martin. I'm the one in the dark green VW who hopes you're more careful next time.
Posted by Martin Krieg, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 8, 2007 at 12:42 pm
I do remember smiling at someone coming around the corner pretty quick there :) Was that you? A bad thing to do considering there are always high school kids at this intersection.
Nor have I ever felt endangered there. You were probably only surprised because you could not tromp on the gas at this point, which is customary for those leaving the Alma speedway. I am indeed a surprise to anyone exchanging a 50 mph world for school zone speeds.
As well, perhaps you do not know this but there is a bike path on the other side of the train tracks I was working my way towards. Perhaps if you want to register a complaint, you might want to make it with the city, There are only two ways to access this important transportation link, the bike path behind Palo Alto High School. One from the Churchill parking lot. And where you saw me from the Mariposa egress at Churchill.
Posted by love life, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Dec 9, 2007 at 5:26 pm
Talk about courage - I don't think there is a person here who can match up to what this man has done, I have read his autobiography, "Awake Again". What a moving story. It still makes me cry when I think of it. You go Martin. You inspire so many people!!
Posted by Steve, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 10, 2007 at 4:37 am
I have to admit, I always thought Martin looked a little goofy and thought that bike would turn out to be a hazard (more so to Martin than to anyone else, though!).
But after reading the comments here, I can't believe how self-righteous and arrogant some people are. For crying out loud, people, it's a BIKE. How it can do more harm than a 3000-pound SUV barreling down Alma or Middlefield is beyond me. True, maybe Martin should try to adhere to the laws a bit, but as a fellow bicycle commuter, I've rolled through a couple of stop signs and ridden on a few sidewalks (although, like Martin-- I'm sure-- I know when it's safe to do so).
The attitude and opinions of the "opponents" to Martin and his HiWheel just make me more supportive of him and his right to ride, and, frankly, make me ashamed to call Palo Alto home.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Dec 10, 2007 at 1:38 pm
The only time I have seen this man and his bike is in Old Palo Alto; I was driving (slowly) and thinking back, I recall this *really* distracted me. It does sound more suited to the old county fairgrounds.
Posted by Richard, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 10, 2007 at 3:02 pm
If he is distracting drivers it means that they see him! The biggest problem bicyclists have is getting drivers to see them. Perhaps we should all be riding on giant bikes so that drivers will see us better! Of course the novelty will soon wear off and we will again become invisible.
Posted by eric, a resident of Mountain View, on Dec 11, 2007 at 9:35 am
This is comical. The basic argeument seems to be, 'since some drivers break the law, cyclists should be above the law. We're better then you'. Mr Krieg is a very selfish man, putting his little hobby above the safety of others. Were it not for his arrogant glee in skirting the laws, I might be impressed with his actions. I am not.
Bragging that he doesnt have to use lights? Good grief!
Posted by Biker, a resident of the Palo Alto Orchards neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2007 at 9:49 am
eric, You're stuck in first gear. Lighten up and enjoy the occasional exception to the rule. If anything, the example set by Mr. Kreig helps to empower others, and places focus on safety issues. He is a very careful and gentle rider.
Posted by bikes2work, a member of the Santa Rita (Los Altos) community, on Dec 11, 2007 at 12:45 pm
Riding a bike on the sidewalk is not illegal in many circumstances. I ride on the sidewalk everyday. The sidewalk on Alma Street is the designated bike route. I fear for the cyclists that I see riding with Alma Street traffic.
Here is the code:
PAMC 10.64.13 Riding bicycles on sidewalks.
(a)No person shall ride or operate a bicycle upon any sidewalk in a business district, any sidewalk in or on any pedestrian underpass or overpass, or any sidewalk on the Embarcadero Road Overpass across Bayshore Freeway unless such sidewalk is officially designated as a bicycle route.
(b)Any person riding or operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk shall exercise due care and shall yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians.
(c)No person riding or operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk where a bicycle lane or path has been established shall travel in a direction other than as posted.
Posted by Martin Krieg, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2007 at 12:45 pm
I ride with lights. Plenty of them. Visible from very far away. And I must note that when I got stopped and had to show my ID (people still ask me what I did wrong) for not having a proper head light, that this young officer's superior was riding with him and apologized profusely for the trouble his student was causing me.
Believe me, I have a major healthy respect for the PAPD and I would do nothing to invoke their ire. Nor do I think my bike causes this very well run police department a problem. Most seem to enjoy seeing me on it. I'm just thinking that there are a few new recruits here that are learning the lay of the land. I am only hoping that these people learn how serious it is/how much power they wield any time they decide to stop someone. Especially those whose mere appearance they are not comfortable with....
Posted by pa biker, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 11, 2007 at 8:39 pm
Keep it up. You're an inspiration to me and my kids. We LOVE seeing your bike around town.
You are a reminder to slow down, go the human powered way, see the sights. It seems the grumpy voices on this board are so quick to condemn or banish something unique and human powered. We can all learn a lot from your experience and example. We're not in Atherton, after all . . .
Slow down folks. . . the children of Palo Alto will be a lot safer for it.
Posted by GSB, a resident of Mountain View, on Dec 12, 2007 at 6:13 pm
I finally saw him the other night riding across El Camino over to Whole Foods on the MV/LA border. I thought it was kinda nice to stop and look at him, and to see people in cars stopped at the light pointing him out to their kids.
As much "distraction" we personally cause using cell phones, PDAs, newspapers, etc., i don't see what the big deal is.
Posted by JRR, a resident of another community, on Mar 18, 2008 at 9:26 am
We're not saying "some cars break laws so all bikes should be able to". What we HEAR all the time is "all cyclists break laws" - this is not true. Many of us obey the law. In fact, whether in my car or on my bike, I strive to obey EVERY traffic law, and I can tell you, it bugs the heck out of the 98% of the car-driving public that wants to roll through stop signs and exceed the speed limit. When I obey the law, FULLY stop at stop signs and drive the speed limit, it doesn't take long for there to be dozens of cars lined up behind my car, all of which are clearly disobeying the law.
I do not condone anyone breaking the law, and I wish that all cyclists would stop blowing stop signs; it gives us all a bad name. Many of us are just trying to do the right thing, obey the law, try to minimize danger to all, and are simply trying to ride our bikes to work and back, and to do some errands.
Before you assume that since you see cyclists breaking the law so all cyclists are menaces that break the law, do a simple test. Pick a stop sign and watch cars go through it. Watch their wheels. If you find more than one car in 100 that actually stops when there's no opposing traffic, I'll buy you a lollipop.
Read the law regarding bicyles, their rights and responsibilites on the road. Then get on a bike and ride 10 miles down the road, and count how many times car drivers endanger your life, either through negligence or malice.
Look at drivers and see who's distracted; these days it seems like more than half the drivers have cell phones pasted to their ears. I'd sooner have 50 hi-wheelers than 5 SUV drivers with cell phones driving around my kid's school. At least the hi-wheeler pilots would probably SEE my kid before they knocked him down and gave him a scrape; the SUV drivers would probably just wonder what that bump was back there.
Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 18, 2008 at 1:11 pm
As a parent walking my child to elementary school this morning, I was almost knocked off the sidewalk by a very young child riding on the path while the parent was on the road, both on bikes. The parent was eagerly watching for the safety of his child, but not for the safety of the pedestrians. If I had not got out of his way fast enough, it would have been my fault if I had been hit by a child.
Posted by atbman, a resident of another community, on Mar 18, 2008 at 6:26 pm
I agree about bikes holding up traffic.
All over the world, whenever you see a long line of cars during the rush hour, you will find a bike at the front, holding everyone up. It is clearly impossible to overtake a cyclist, some of them are as much as 2'6" across the shoulders.
What is even more unfair,in every commuter challenge during BikeWeek in the UK, the bike has won over the car (while simultaneously holding up the traffic, of course).
I think all of us drivers should hold a mass demonstration by throwing our toys out of the pram.
Or, to put it another way, why not print the number of people killed by cyclists, compared with those killed by motor vehicles. I think you'll find that killer cyclists are a plague on the land, compared with all those drivers who virtually never feature in stories about road deaths in your newspapers.