Monday, February 25, 2008

Peace Bike finds Allowed Cloud!

One of the saving graces of this job is that I don't have a rigid schedule - so I can work on this blog at night instead of normal business hours that I can use instead for going Roads Scholaring on the Peace Bike!

Today was the Ice Bowl of Roads Scholaring outings. But one of the first things that happened this morn was that the Peace Bike sniffed out one of the most detailed Allowed Clouds posted in a public place anywhere in the area:


That sign is posted on the Cincinnati approach of the Newport Southbank Bridge, a span over the Ohio River.

Is that an Allowed Cloud or what? Almost nothing is allowed on the bridge!

Some of these rules are just common sense and would have existed anyway - such as no littering. And of course, a bridge that was modified for nonmotorized traffic (and this span was) shouldn't allow cars (and this span doesn't). But skateboards are banned too? When this bridge - the former L&N Bridge - reopened in 2003, it was supposed to be for skateboarders as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. So somebody lied.

The bridge also bans "shoeless persons." What's next, outlawing hats and sunglasses too? And the rule against distributing flyers has got to run into a First Amendment challenge if they ever enforce it.

These blue laws were actually established before Kentucky's highway department washed its hands of the bridge. I'm almost sure it was the only stretch in the entire U.S. numbered highway system or any American state highway system that had an Allowed Cloud against barefoot travelers. (It was officially the unsigned US 27C until recently.)

If someone who travels by bike purchases beer at a grocery and returns home using this bridge (with the unopened beer in a crate on the bike), would the first rule listed on the sign apply against that? That's how illogical some of these rules are if they're enforced rigidly.

I'll give the bridge a pass on the security cameras - but only if I don't encounter trouble if I photograph the devices and post my pictures on a website. It's called countersurveillance, and it makes surveillance more honest by letting the system know we'll be on guard if they try to abuse the cameras.

It's ironic that a span colloquially referred to as the Purple People Bridge would be so anti-people as to micromanage footwear and skateboards (after promising skateboards would be permitted). It's actually a sign of disrespect to the people to have such a detailed list of rules, because most people are mature enough to conduct themselves in an orderly manner - without being told how.

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