The Oscar (and maybe my gubernatorial vote, if he wants to change his mind throw his Packers helmet in the 2018 ring) goes to Lt. Gov. Michels for playing along with a thrilled, “I get to go, too!”, then responding to his wife Karen’s admonition to “Stay with Dennis—don’t go off on your own” with a wonderful politically pregnant pause (o.k., maybe just waiting for Karen to finish her line, but please, allow me my theatro-political readings).
Oh! And then Governor Daugaard contradicts all the fanatic economic developmentism of the SDGOP and waxes environmental!
I hope we don’t become too developed. I think many states, they’ve become so densely populated, they’ve become one big urban landscape, and nature has been overtaken by managed lawns and trees and concrete pavement [Gov. Dennis Daugaard, interview with Larry Rohrer, SDPB Facebook video, 2017.10.11].
I hate to promote competition for the big South Dakota Blogosphere Democracy and Petition Picnic at my house in Aberdeen next Saturday, but if you don’t feel pedaling 210 miles from Sioux Falls to Aberdeen, you can take your two wheels to another fun, progressive event in Sioux Falls.
Wait—progressive? Is it progress to talk about going back to growing your own chickens? If you’re Homegrown Sioux Falls, you bet it is! Dakota Rural Action’s mighty Sioux Falls chapter is hosting its fourth annual Sioux Falls Tour de Coop next Saturday, September 12, from 1 to 5 p.m. The Tour de Coop will visit six backyard poultry growers in Sioux Falls, starting at 2300 West 33rd Street and working leisurely way north to 716 North Walts Avenue in the Cathedral District (holy cow—holy chickens?). The purpose of the Tour, says Homegrown Sioux Falls, is to “showcase urban chickens and gardens in new innovative ways to inspire the ‘Yard to Table’ approach of creating healthy, fresh, and sustainable local food production back into our yards, homes, lives, and community.”
Folks interested in learning more about urban agriculture and food self-sufficiency can join other cyclists to pedal the entire six-mile route, but Homegrown Sioux Falls will not discriminate against those who chose alternate methods of transportation. Check out the map here! Cyclists are invited to affix this chicken cut-out to their helmets to celebrate the event.
The tour, including ten-minute presentations and Q&A with poultry growers and gardeners along the route, is free for everyone, although Homegrown Sioux Falls won’t turn away donations. Homegrown Sioux Falls will also be selling Tour de Coop t-shirts for $20 and Homegrown SF memberships (which include a t-shirt!) for $35.
Don’t balk at this opportunity to learn about getting sustenance from your backyard. Tour de Coop 2015, next Saturday, Sioux Falls!
Rep. Fred Deutsch (R-4/Florence) submits this photo of one of the better bill signings this session:
On March 11, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed House Bill 1030 into law, establishing the safe passing distances motorists must maintain between themselves and bicycles. Notice the width of the Governor’s desk and Rep. Deutsch’s Trek Madone, demonstrating the little noticed provision of HB 1030 requiring that lawmakers maintain a gap of three feet when passing a bill.
Among the good things to come out of the Legislature is House Bill 1030, which specifies that motor vehicles shall give bicycles a three-foot gap when passing on roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less and a six-foot gap on higher-speed roads. Since the Governor signed the bill last week Wednesday, HB 1030 takes effect on July 1… but motoring neighbors, feel free to practice those passing gaps now.
HB 1030 did not get to the Governor’s desk without one nasty bit of anti-bikery in the Senate. Senator David Omdahl (R-11/Sioux Falls) tried to amend the bill to exempt all rural roads from the bicycle-passing requirements. Senator Omdahl wouldn’t have gotten rid of the safe passing gap completely. His amendment proposed to allow counties to designate certain sufficiently wide rural roads for bicycle travel where the passing-gap requirement would apply. One would assume from Senator Omdahl’s speech supporting his amendment that “sufficiently wide” would mean a driving lane that can accommodate an eight-foot-wide semi, a six-foot-wide passing gap, and maybe a couple feet for a bicycle—at least sixteen feet total. Given that Senator Omdahl said the standard lane width on county roads is twelve feet, it would appear his intent was to restrict bicycle designations to only the widest, thus likely busiest rural roads.
I can’t figure out why Senator Omdahl and other conservatives express such antagonism to bicycles. Perhaps more than anyone else on the highway, cyclists embody rugged individualism and self-reliance. They’re not just playing games; they’re getting to work and church and Hy-Vee under their own power. What could be more conservative than that?
As is so often the case in the United States of Koch, conservatism is a mere front for corporate interests and the almighty dollar. Senator Omdahl said he brought the amendment “to protect both the cyclists and the traveling public” (which phrase suggests Omdahl does not consider cyclists part of the traveling public), but his speech to the amendment suggests the primary purpose of the amendment was to allow semis to get from point A to point B without having to wait for pesky bicycles.
The MinusCar Project heard Senator Omdahl’s amendment as an effort to ban bicycles from most rural roads. The amendment didn’t seem to make that explicit, but Senator Omdahl hinted that’s the ultimate impact he wanted his amendment to have. He told the Senate the signs his amendment would require counties to put up on designated bicycle routes would “give the cyclist notice of where he can ride and of where he probably shouldn’t ride.”
Fortunately, MinusCar and I didn’t have to jump all over Senator Omdahl. Our cycling and safety-conscious senators did. Senators Craig Tieszen (R-34/Rapid City), Scott Parsley (D-8/Madison), and Mike Vehle (R-20/Mitchell) all opposed the amendment with a firm defense of bicyclists’ equal right to the road. Senator Tieszen said the purpose of HB 1030 is not the paycheck of the truck driver but the safety of bicyclists. Senator Tieszen and Senator Parsley agreed that semis have to slow down and wait to pass bicyclists just as they must wait for tractors or other slow vehicles. Senator Vehle said that in his bicycling, he doesn’t really encounter problems with truck drivers: as professional drivers, they slow down and give him plenty of room when he’s on two wheels.
Senator Omdahl accused Senator Vehle of “going down a bunny trail,” but the majority hopped to Vehle’s side, rejected Omdahl’s anti-bicycle amendment, and approved the passing gaps.