Thursday, May 25, 2017

Knocked Down But Not Knocked Out

On the days after a car slammed into me while I bicycled in Florida and left me on my back with a cervical neck brace, I made a vow 2 1/2 months ago while I recovered at my Vero Beach house.

I will return to Red Rock Canyon outside Vegas and climb to its high point at 4,771 feet and I will gaze with wonder at the Big Red Stripe crossing the rocky terrain.

So today, with Vero Beach and Florida in the rear-view mirror, I pedaled through Summerlin and then to Red Rock Canyon and turned onto the 13-mile federal loop that I pedaled so many times when I lived here.

As I pedaled each stroke and stared at the landscape, a wave of gratitude washed over me.

I was lucky to be soaking up this moment around 8 a.m. today.


I reached the overlook at 4,771 feet, some 2,500 feet from where I started today and took a seat at the parking lot bench.

I promised myself that my first post-crash photo on a bicycle would be right here -- at the high point.


There were some tears, reflecting back on being knocked down and coming close to being another Florida bicyclist fatality.

And I was thankful for my recovery that was fueled by so many kind friends who offered everything from food packages and heartfelt messages in cards to donations and visits.

You got me back on the mountain under the Big Stripe and I will always be thankful.


My plans in Las Vegas are to launch my sports-business website called, "LVSportsBiz.com." and also work on the campaign team to get Jared Fisher elected as Nevada's next governor in 2018.

It's an exciting time for the Las Vegas sports-business industry with a new football stadium for the Raiders and UNLV; the maiden season of the Vegas Golden Knights and NASCAR launching a second annual race next year. If you would like to advertise on LVSportsBiz.com, please contact me at asnel@lvsportsbiz.com

I had a feeling that I would meet someone I knew along this morning's ride.

And lo and behold, it was Heather Fisher -- who is marred to Jared Fisher, my friend who is running for governor.

It's going to be a great return ot Las Vegas.

I'm getting back to the place I love.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Escape From Florida



Dear Rick Scott,

I'm leaving your state.

There are several reasons.

Chief among them: your state is a killer state for bicyclists.

Florida has the highest number of bicyclist deaths in the U.S. and you don't care. You have showed no political leadership to try and reduce that number and the fact is you and the political leaders just don't care enough to do anything about keeping bicyclists alive in your state. A former state legislator who is the ex-mayor of Kissimmee, Frank Attkisson, even was killed while riding a bicycle in St. Cloud in early April and the state Legislature was not moved to toughen the penalties for drivers who kill bicyclists.  

On March 7, I nearly joined the long list of bicyclists killed by motorists in Florida.

But I survived, and for that I am grateful.

I survived a motorist who smashed into me from behind (he claimed he never saw me) while I pedaled in north St. Lucie County outside Fort Pierce.

And with that memory in mind, I rode a memorial bike ride called the Ride of Silence Saturday in Vero Beach. Many towns around the world held similar bike rides Wednesday to draw attention to and memorialize the lives of bicyclists snuffed out by people who drive motorized vehicles.

Here in Vero Beach, about half way between Orlando and South Florida on the Atlantic coast, I joined 50 other bicyclists to remember those who have lost their lives in Vero Beach and Indian River County.


The local bike club has a large membership for a relatively small city such as Vero Beach (population 16,000). And an advocacy group called Bike Walk Indian River County lobbies county officials to improve road conditions for bicyclists.

It's an impressive display of sweat equity to lean on local officials to make it safer for bicyclists.

But Rick Scott and his Department of Cars are good at lip service about bicycling but don't deliver the goods.

Florida treats the high number of bicyclist deaths as collateral damage of a modern road society, just business as usual in the sandbar state.


Bye Florida. Happiness is getting out of your state alive.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jared Will Be Listening To Nevada With 2 GoPros, 1 Drone, 1 Regular Camera and 1 Bum Knee

Jared Fisher, a Las Vegas businessman running for Nevada governor, twisted his knee Friday while running around on his many errands.

So, when he was on his Specialized Fuse mountain bike Saturday getting ready for his 14-day, 1,400-mile "Listening Tour" ride to launch his campaign, his knee was a little balky while riding in the high desert outside his house in Blue Diamond.

"I was riding around here warming up to check for problems with my bike," said Fisher 47, who owns the 10,000-square-foot Las Vegas Cyclery bike shop. My knee was starting to be in pain and that's not a good sign when you're getting ready for a big bike trip."

But of you know Jared, a bum knee won't stop him from pedaling off from his Blue Diamond house at 2 a.m. Monday to bike around the state of Nevada to hear what people have to stay.



Jared will be ready to document residents from Pioche and Ely to Reno to Beatty and everywhere in between in Nevada. He'll be wearing the world's biggest backpack while pedaling and carrying a tent, sleeping bag, back pad, his business supplies and drone all in that "grand monster backpack," as he calls it.

"I have a lot of stuff in that backpark," Jared said as he stopped for gas on the way to work Saturday morning.

He'll also be bringing two GoPro cameras, the drone and a regular camera, with the drone serving as the energy source for the bevy of batteries he will bring.

He's been already chatting with local residents in Las Vegas about his run for governor and noted that a lot of people are tired of the extremists on both the left and right drawing all the attention.

"I'm finding out that most people I talk with are not hard left or hard right," Jared said.

"We don't have to hate each other,: he said. In real life, most people are good and down-to-earth and they just want to be heard. The voice of the people are not being heard and the extreme party left and right are calling all the shots for the rest of the people in America and what I'm hearing is their voices are not being heard."

To follow Jared's epic bike ride, click here for the first 500 miles.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Here's One Candidate For Governor Who Will Defy Political Labels

The first thing people do about political candidates is apply a label.

But Jared Fisher, running for Nevada governor, defies political categories.

Fisher's announcement that he's seeking the state's top executive office this week grabbed headlines in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. and you will quickly see that Fisher is no political idealogue.



This will be an unconventional campaign, where Jared will first reach out to and connect with residents from across the state via a 14-day bicycle ride dubbed, "The Listening Tour," starting from his Blue Diamond home outside Las Vegas May 1. He's biking to Elko and Reno before returning to the Las Vegas area around May 14.

Talk to Jared and you will think he's a Democrat because he embraces typical Democratic ideals such as preserving and protecting the environment and exploring new frontiers in renewable energy and solar power.

But Jared considers himself a Teddy Roosevelt Republican -- and the married dad of four and bicycle shop/bike touring business owner has been a registered Republican for years. The rolling businessman and UNLV grad looks at himself as a moderate who admires the leadership of another moderate Republican -- the current governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval.

Jared will be breaking new ground, forging ahead with ideals you can read on his website at www.fisher4nevada.com.

Jared will be campaigning in a state with an independent streak, one that is split between the two major parties and elects candidates from both sides of the aisle. Its residents are not necessarily slaves to their parties

This will serve Jared well -- so get ready for a new era of politics. More and more people are considering themselves independents and a vault full of money does not guarantee a political victory.

And get ready for Jared Fisher, who might be pedaling into a town near you to say hi and hear what's on your mind.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jared's Epic Listening Bike Tour Has History On Its Side

One thing is for sure about Jared Fisher and his run for governor of the great state of Nevada.

It's not going to be a conventional campaign.

Jared is no mud-slinger and expect Jared to talk about solar power and renewable energy and attracting innovators to diversify Nevada's economy.

And Jared rides a bicycle to a different tune, too.

Jared is kicking off his campaign for governor May 1 with an epic bike ride around the state of Nevada.

It's called, "The Listening Tour," and it will allow Jared to meet state residents in real-life settings -- at a market, on the street, at a convenience store.

These days, campaigning is all about slick TV ads and media buys.

But in the past, two great political campaigns are reminiscent of Jared's 1,400-mile, 14-day bike ride that will take him from Las Vegas to Elko to Reno and back to Las Vegas on May 14.

In 1970 in Florida, a two-term state senator by the name of Lawton Chiles created a buzz around his run for U.S. Senate when he literally hit the road for 91 days and walked from Pensacola to Key West to cover 1,003 miles.

Chiles earned the nickname, Walkin' Lawton" for using the long walk to make a statewide name for himself.

Chiles went on to win the U.S. Senate seat after the walk gave him the attention he needed to become a contender and he later served as Florida's governor in 1990 and again in 1994 when he beat a challenger by the name of Jeb Bush. He died in December 1998.

Road signs showing Chiles' leather boots can be seen along the route of his long walk along roads such as U.S. 19 on Florida's West Coast and along U.S. 1 in the Keys.

Then, there's the big sneakers of former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, who waged the "Sneaker Campaign" during his upset race in 1991 when he won the first of three terms and beat heavy favorite Norm Early in his first mayoral race.

Webb, a former college basketball player, wore his sneakers and walked the neighborhoods of Denver to overcome an early 28-point poll deficit to Early.

I covered Webb when I reported on Denver City Hall in the 1990s and recall he continued wearing those sneakers.

Both Chiles and Webb -- two vastly different men with varying backgrounds -- used the most rudimentary form of transportation to make the connections with local residents that helped propel them to big political wins.

When Jared leaves from his Blue Diamond house Monday morning on his mountain bike, I expect the first turns of the pedal will take him on an amazing ride that will lead one day to the governor's office in Carson City in 2018.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Back To The Future In Las Vegas

I'll be returning to Las Vegas in May to start work on two very different but satisfying projects.

First, I'll be working on Jared Fisher's campaign for governor because Jared and his wife, Heather, are committed to improving and spotlighting Nevada's education, economy and environment. Jared is a Nevada original, launching his successful Escape Adventures bike tour business with Heather 25 years ago. He also opened what I consider is America's most environmentally green bicycle store in Summerlin in Las Vegas in 2012,  In fact, here's Jared's bike shop in Dec, 2012.

To offer you a glimpse into Jared's run for governor, see his video.

Jared will be connecting with Nevada's people on a bike ride around the state called, "The Listening Tour," starting Sunday May 1 from his home in Blue Diamond outside Las Vegas. I'm still recovering from a distracted driver who smashed his car into me from behind in the Fort Pierce area March 7. So, I won't be biking with Jared at the start. But I hope my progress is far enough so that I can join Jared toward the end of his bike ride around Nevada when he gets closer to the Las Vegas and southern Nevada.

Jared is unique and conventional politics are changing. He's no idealogue and the only mud slinging you will see with Jared is the mud that flies from under his mountain bike tires. You probably already know Jared's wife, Heather, because she is the public face of the Save Red Rock movement that is opposing a developer's plan to build thousands of homes in Red Rock Canyon.

Jared will stress growing Nevada's economy by attracting entrepreneurs, highlighting the state's amazing environmental natural resources and stressing education as a key driver to the state's health and growth. I know Jared and I'm on board to lend my writing, PR and riding skills to get Jared and Heather to Carson City next year.

Here's Jared and I biking in Red Rock Canyon.



Second, I'll be tapping my sports-business reporting background to launch a new Las Vegas-based website that will cover the growing and dynamic sports-business scene and be called, LVSportsBiz.com. This is a dynamic period in Las Vegas, with a $2 billion domed football stadium being built for the Oakland Raiders, an NFL team moving to Las Vegas from Califiornia. A new NHL team, the Vegas Golden Knights, is starting its inaugural season later this year at an arena on the Strip that I reported about for several years.



My website will be the authoritative source for sports-business news in Las Vegas and I hope to launch LVSportsBiz.com after I return to Las Vegas in May.

I have covered the business side of sports and stadiums for the South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel, Tampa Tribune and Las Vegas Review-Journal and launched a sports-business website called FoxSportsBiz for FoxSports.com in 2000. I also covered stadium issues while covering city hall beats in Denver and Seattle.

From 2012-16, I covered the sports-biz beat for the RJ, cultivating a comprehensive source network with Las Vegas Events, UFC, the Speedway, AEG, MGM Resorts International, NFR and I was the first reporter to profile Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. I also reported on the Raiders stadium subsidy deal.

I am tying up loose ends in Vero Beach, Fla and hope to return to Las Vegas in early to mid May.

Can't wait.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

'What Has To Change? Everything'

Chip Haynes is a pure bicyclist and writes all about pedaling two-wheelers when he's not tinkering with all types of bicycles.

You won't catch Spandex Lycra on Chip -- just shirts and pants and regular clothing for the upbeat Clearwater resident with the chipper sense of humor.

His enjoys penning books about bicycling and submitted a letter-to-the-editor to The Tampa Bay Times, after reporter Sharon Wynne wrote about how a motorist drove his car into me March 7 in St. Lucie County.

At every level, Florida has failed the bicyclist, the Times explained in an editorial The editorial ended this way:

"Safety requires a change of attitude, and until Florida quits accepting the injuries and deaths of pedestrians and cyclists as collateral damage in a culture focused on cars, don't expect much to change."

In his letter to the Times, Chip offered his own literary touch. Here's Chip in his words:

April 8, 2017
Editor,
While bicyclists and pedestrians have long been fighting a losing battle in Florida, with the loss of Alan Snel (“Failure to protect cyclists, pedestrians”, TBT 4/8/17), we may have just lost the war. That the driver was not ticketed for hitting Mr. Snel from behind tells you all you need to know about the official government view of bicycles in Florida: We are in the way. An annoyance in traffic. Something to drive around. Or over. We. Don’t. Count.

What has to change? Everything: The government’s stance on the rights of cyclists and pedestrians at every level, from local law enforcement to the engineers that plan our car-centric public roads to the State Legislature’s failure to pass strong laws protecting the weak. And when might that happen? Don’t hold your breath. Too few in government at every level bother to walk or ride bikes themselves, and without this being a personal priority, as it is with both Alan and myself, I honestly don’t expect to see any change at all. Alan Snel will move out west, I will stay right here, and bicycles will still be bumper candy.
Maybe I should take up bowling…
Chip Haynes
Author, “The Practical Cyclist” (New Society Publishers, 2009)
1601 Pinewood Drive, Clearwater Florida 33756
Tel, (727) 442-8072
Email chip.haynes@yahoo.com.

Friday, April 7, 2017

How Many Bicyclists Have To Die And Be Injured In Florida?

It's happened again in Florida.

A motorist has killed a bicyclist.

This time, the victim was a former state legislator, Kissimmee city mayor and Osceola County Commission chairman. His name was Frank Attkisson and he was 61 years old.

It happened yesterday around 7 p.m. in the St. Cloud area in central Florida. A motorist slammed her car into him from behind as he rode his bicycle.

And predictably enough, the anti-bicyclist crowd will trot out their same point of view without even knowing the exact circumstances.

That bicyclists break traffic laws.

That bicyclists hog the roads.

That bicyclists do whatever they want out there.

It happened with me -- those comments -- after an admitted distracted, inattentive and careless driver rammed his 2016 Chevy Cruze into me as I bicycled on Old Dixie Highway in St. Lucie County on March 7. The motorist did not receive a ticket. I received two fractured vertebrae, a concussion and a knee that bloats with blood from so many leg muscle bruises.

Florida has by far and away more bicyclist deaths than any other state in the country. Not just per-capita deaths -- but the highest raw number of bicyclist deaths.

And I ask a simple question: how many bicyclists have to die and be injured in Florida before our state Legislature enacts harsh penalties for killer motorists?

The Tampa Bay Times wrote an editorial about this very topic.

ADD:
Celebration of Life
April 10th at 11:00am
Kissimmee Christian Church 
415 N. Main Street



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Florida DOT Delays Release of Wabasso Bridge Safety Report, Still Has Not Made Safety Improvements



Whenever I biked across the lagoon-spanning Wabasso Bridge north of Vero Beach, I always was amazed at two things -- how beautiful the Indian River looked below and how low the bridge’s concrete barrier stood.


I thought that if a motorist hit a bicyclist crossing the bridge, the cyclist would be pitched into the Intracoastal lagoon below and likely drown.




And I asked myself, how did the Florida Department of Transportation get away with building that bridge with such a low barrier?


Well, I was not the only one who feared that the bridge’s low barrier and lack of span space imperiled the safety of bicyclists.


Hugh Aaron, founder and executive director of the non-profit Bike Walk Indian River County group (Disclosure: I am a member of the group’s board), also saw the dangers on that bridge several years ago and his group prompted the Florida DOT to conduct a safety audit of the Wabasso Bridge.


And here’s where things go sideways.


The report, which included a variety of recommendations to deal with the safety concerns, has a January 2016 date on it.


But the Florida DOT only made the report public to Aaron and the public in February 2017  


So, state transportation officials withheld the safety audit report on the Wabasso Bridge for 13 months from the public.


After making several inquiries last year about whether the safety study was ready, Bike Walk Indian River County and Vero Cycling (the local bike club) received a copy of it only two months ago.


Aaron did not mince words. He told Bicycle Stories, “They have done absolutely nothing to make the bridge safer.  Now they are saying they have to evaluate any safety improvements in the context of a district for wide study of every bridge in the district.  There are something like 80 bridges in district 4.


“It seems to me that they were just looking for a way to shelve this report and that's what they came up with. For whatever reason, it seems like they do not want to make that bridge safer.”




In a November 2016 email to Aaron and two Indian River County planning officials, Carmen  B. Pullins, community traffic safety program manager for FDOT District 4, said the report was not ready.


In August 2015, Aaron had prepared a paper for Vero Cycling that outlined its bridge safety concerns.


It raised concerns about the low barrier wall on the bridge and the State Road 510’s shoulders, which are so narrow that they do not meet the Florida DOT standards for the width of a bike lane. State Road 510, or Wabasso Beach Road, uses the Wabasso Bridge to connect the mainland with the barrier island and is a popular road for bicyclists.


The bridge wall is only three feet high. It led Aaron to write, “The average bicycle seat is between 2.5 to 3 feet high. Accordingly, if someone riding a bicycle right next to the concrete wall falls (or is knocked off) his or her bicycle in the direction of the concrete wall, he or she could easily go over the side of Bridge. Given the height of the Bridge, going over the side would most likely result in death or critical injuries.”


Interestingly enough, the DOT audit suggested the agency install a fence outside of the current three-foot barrier wall to address the barrier’s low height.


Unfortunately, that recommendation was in a consultant report provided to the public on Feb. 16 -- more than a year after the January 2016 date listed on the report itself.


And the fence has never been installed.

I reached out to FDOT District 4 officials for comments, but they have not responded.


Maybe you will do better -- here are the emails of the people to contact at the FDOT:


Alexander.Barr@dot.state.fl.us,
barbara.kelleher@dot.state.fl.us,
daniel.hiden@dot.state.fl.us,
paul.lampley@dot.state.fl.us

Thursday, March 30, 2017

No More Bloodletting In Florida; It's Back To Las Vegas And The West

It's time to spill the beans.

I'm returning to Las Vegas, southern Nevada and The West.

The Grim Reaper of Florida, better known as The Motorist, came a calling on March 7 while I was cycling in St. Lucie County. Claiming he never saw me, the driver plowed into me from behind, leaving me with C2 and L1 fractures in my spine, concussed and so much battering of my right leg that blood still is collecting in my knee to this day nearly four weeks later.

Prior to this inattentive driver by the name of Dennis Brophy, 65, of Fort Pierce smashing into me, things have not clicked as well as I had hoped for in Florida.

The fact that Brophy slammed his 2016 Chevy Cruze into me without even receiving a ticket from the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office was a strong message.

It's time to leave Florida. It's an outrage that a careless, inattentive motorist can slam into a bicyclist without any legal culpability and citation.

My specific plans will become evident in about a week.

What is crystal clear is that I could not be on the road to recovery without so many generous people who sent cards, prayers, donations, food, positive vibes, healing mojo and their love. I know who you are and I will always be grateful.

It hasn't been easy.

Last week, my doctor was done with the giant syringe and needle after filling a plastic cup with my blood.

He extracted the red liquid from my bloated knee because so much blood had collected there that it looked like a water balloon compared to my good left leg.

The hematomas and bruises in my quad and thigh muscles had leaked so much blood to my knee that the collected blood formed a blanket of liquid enveloping the knee joint.

It inhibited the knee from bending.

So, the blood just had to go.

My doc squirted my blood from the syringe into the cup. And soon after, flexibility to the knee joint returned.

Plus, I was happy for another reason.

The crash, indeed, fractured my C2 and L1. And this is where a higher power intervened. The fractures faced in toward my skeletal frame and away from my spinal canal.

That meant my nervous system was unharmed.

No tingly feelings. No paralysis.

So, tomorrow, which the marks the fourth week after the crash, I will be able to remove a cervical neck collar brace I have been wearing 24 7 since the moment I showed up in the Lawnwood Medical Center ICU.

My real estate agent has planted the "For Sale" signs in the yard and I hope to be returning to The West by mid-May.



And my intention is to be pedaling in Red Rock Canyon once again.


*     *     *

My former Denver Post pal -- Steve Lipsher -- wrote a Sunday column on how the police and justice system treat bicyclists as collateral damage at the hands of careless drivers.

And Glenn Henderson, my former Palm Beach Post editor, was angered over the fact the driver who smashed his car into me walked away scot-free without one iota of legal culpability or a citation. Glenn wrote this powerful Facebook post Sunday that puts everything into perspective:


A nationally known bicycle safety advocate is riding his bike through St. Lucie County and is struck from behind by a motorist who admits he was distracted. The bicyclist survives but suffers a broken bone in his neck and other injuries -- saved only by a helmet that was crushed between his skull and windshield but provided sufficient protection to prevent a devastating, or possibly fatal, brain injury. And yet, authorities decide this is not worthy of ticketing the motorist, as if momentary inattention somehow does not equate evidence of negligence.
This saddens me on so many counts:
-- First, the bicyclist is Alan Snel (see his blog item attached), a longtime friend and former co-worker, who has now decided to move back West, where motorists show at least a semblance of concern for those using two wheels to get around.
-- It provides further evidence that St. Lucie County is a very dangerous place for cyclists and pedestrians, who have limited options but to share roadways with those who see two-wheelers as an inconvenience to get around.
-- Florida law enforcement views bicyclists as contributors to accidents in which they are victims, something that will only change if legislators decide this is an issue that demands action.
-- And finally, despite the fact that this ironic and cautionary tale has occurred in our own backyard, no local media has covered the story, though the news has appeared in the Tampa Times and Denver Post, where bicycling is obviously more of a community concern.
This past Christmas, my wife and I considered buying bikes again, primarily for health reasons. But I held off over concerns that our health might actually suffer -- at the hands of "inattentive" motorists. It appears I was right. Sadly, nothing will change until laws are passed that, we hope, will force feed a new perception to those behind the wheel of a potential killing machine that everyone between the yellow lines deserves respect and attention.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Another Motorist Smashes Into A Bicyclist Without Even Receiving A Ticket (And I Know Because I Was The Bicyclist)




Welcome to lovely St. Lucie County, Fla., where a motorist can smash into a bicyclist with complete immunity and not even draw a citation.

I know all about it.

I was that bicyclist.

A 65-year-old motorist by the name of Dennis Brophy from Fort Pierce drove his 2016 Chevy Cruze right into me from behind without a single attempt at driving around me and sent me to the Lawnwood Medical Center ICU for two days -- and the responding officer did not believe that the culpable motorist deserved a ticket, summons or citation.

Brophy says in plain black-and-white in the crash record that he was in the process of inhaling "a breathing treatment" when he drove his car right into the back of my bicycle and me as we both headed south on Old Dixie Highway at 8:03 a.m. on March 7.

Brophy also stated, according to the report, he was "blinded by the light and never saw the bicyclist until he hit him."

And he admitted "he suffered from extreme sleep apnea." (And Brophy also told the deputy that "he has yet to participate in a sleep study or use a C-pap machine," according to the crash report.)

On the report spot listed as "Driver Distracted By," a single word is typed in: "Inattentive."

And driver's condition at time of crash is "fatigue/asleep."

Inhaler. Flash of light. Falling asleep.

Brophy threw every excuse out there.

I guess it worked.

No citation.

The deputy did email me these soothing words, "This will not effect the fact that you were the victim of this crash."

The rear wheel of the Cannondale road bicycle was broken into pieces and the rear of the Specialized Propero helmet was crushed in, the helmet cracked in several places.







I could have been killed or left for being a vegetable without that helmet standing up to the crash when Brophy drove his Chevy into me.







Thankfully -- and I think by nothing less than a miracle -- I left the ICU and am recuperating at home.

My lawyer, J. Steele Olmstead, of Tampa, is handing the case, the hospital bills and the insurance issues.

The force of this collision was met by the love and generosity of my friends and family and strangers in the greater bicycle community who donated a stunning $4,000 in the first 24 hours of internet fund raising so that I will have some money to pay my bills and meet living expenses while this case is sorted out.

My sister Debbie worked with bike friends Joe "Metal Cowboy" Kurmaskie and Bridget "French Cottage" Sweeten to post a You Caring fundraising link on Tuesday evening.

And I get choked up thinking about so many people stepped up and gave money and shared the fundraiser link to help me.

I face a long recovery but with family and friends joining this voyage I hope to one day hop back on the saddle.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Giant 'Thank You' For Your Love And Help

On March 7 shortly after 8 a.m., a motorist slammed into me from behind as I bicycled on Old Dixie Highway in St. Lucie County north of Fort Pierce, FLA and rescue workers transported me to the Lawnwood Medical Center ICU. Thank you first responders, including Deputy David Felix.

I am home recuperating from serious injuries, which is why this bicycle blog has been dark since the motorist crashed his vehicle into me.

Bicycle lawyer J. Steele Olmstead of Tampa is handling my case.

I want to thank three people who put together a You Caring fundraising page to raise money to cope with my living expenses and bills.

My sister Deb worked with close bicycling friends Joe "Metal Cowboy" Kurmaskie and Bridget "French Cottage" Sweeten to launch the You Caring page.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for those who donated and sent cards and well wishes.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dear Mr. President, Let's Ride Bicycles When You're In Florida (So That You Keep Off The Twitter)

Dear Mr. President,

It's so cool that you enjoy Florida!

You're back in South Florida today -- and I live here too.

Today is such a sweet March day here in the Sunshine State for both of us. Strong tropical breezes off the Atlantic Ocean, yet the humidity is still low so that we're not sweating our balls off!

Yet, for some reason, when you come to Florida you seem kinda, well, stressed out and those fingers of yours go running across your cell phone and out pops another tweet that really grabs America by the . . . hmmmm, I'm not sure I better finish that sentence.

Well, anyway, you were back in Florida and back on the Twitter and out jumped this twittery gem.

Alan SnelTweet text


Man, that's quite the doozy!

You're one intense dude.

So intense, that you threw in an extra "p" into "tapp."

Talk about ppassion!

So, here's the deal. Even your closest pals think you're overdoing it a bit with this Twitter thing.

SAD!

So, I have an idea.

Let's go bicycling instead of you twittering when you come to Florida.

Didn't you hear? Bicycling is the new golf!

I get stressed out, too, sometimes -- just like you.

But instead of tweeting I go biking.

I love bicycles.

You love bicycles. Well, maybe once you did, when you put on the Tour de Trump bike race back in the late 1980s.


You had the golden touch even back then. This protest stuff is not new. Check out some of these folks way back in 1989 at your bike race.


Anyway, I'm happy to take you out on a bicycle ride.

I have a bicycle for you. Or, I have lots of friends who would be happy to loan their bikes to you, too.

That's the beautiful thing about bicyclists -- we come in all shapes and sizes and political backgrounds, so we'll definitely come up with a bike for you to pedal.

Just one condition.

No tweeting and biking. (And no Putin either).

Deal?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wanted: Clark County Commission With A Backbone



The prospect of 5,000 new homes being built in Red Rock Canyon means the Clark County Commission must stand up for the tens of thousands of people who have signed a petition against this obscene and outrageous project that would scar the Red Rock experience forever.

Red Rock Canyon runs deep inside me, so I wrote this column for The Nevada Independent about the Commission's failure to stand for the people.

Just yesterday, The Indy's Jackie Valley wrote this story outlining the issues about this outrageous project.

Keep the pressure on.

Friday, February 24, 2017

An Obscene Development For Red Rock Canyon Endures Because Clark County Commissioners Just Won't Say No



First, frustration -- and some confusion on Wednesday.

Now, I'm feeling anger today about the way the county is dealing with the fate of Las Vegas's natural treasure -- the Red Rock Canyon corridor that includes a massive home proposal of more than 5,000 homes near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

This morning, I just listened to Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak talk on KNPR and explain the commissioners voted (5-2) two days ago to allow a developer to withdraw a plan to build 5,025 homes on 2,000 acres at a mining site on Blue Diamond Hill in Red Rock Canyon.

It was with the understanding that the 2011 plan for this project was still alive, Sisolak said.

And besides, Sisolak told radio listeners, if the commission rejected the application by controversial developer Jim Rhodes and Gypsum Resources, he COULD sue the county or even worse, a judge COULD rule that Rhodes can build six homes per acre -- or 12,000 homes.

After all, Sisolak said, Rhodes can build 1,100 homes at the site under the current zoning.

Welcome to the way public policy is shaped in Clark County.

Through fear that a developer COULD do this or a judge COULD do that.

This is absolute bullshit.


A county's governing board is making decisions based on hypotheticals and fear of litigation?

Here's the deal: The application before the county commissioners -- assuming the 2011 plan is still in effect (there's debate and confusion about that too) -- is for 5,025 homes on 2,000 acres.

So, vote on that by stamping, "reject," on it. It's a laughable proposal.

Don't vote on speculating whether you think Gypsum Resources' lawyer might do this or a judge might do that.

The fact is every decision you make as a seven-member county commission can draw a lawsuit.

But you're entrusted with the responsibility of standing up for the best interests of the county -- not worrying about whether an applicant is pissed off by your decision and might sue.

Here's what makes my blood boil. Sisolak admits he would not like a single home built on that mining site but that Rhodes has a right to build some 1,100 homes there.

But that's not what is before the county.

A 2011 proposal for more than 5,000 homes is apparently still alive before the county and if you think a project of that scope is way out of line for one of the most valuable natural resources in the western United States, then vote that way.

Stand up for nearly 50,000 people who have signed a petition against this obscene development proposal and for the more than 100 people who attended a seven-hour hearing to explain in every which way why this project would scar and damage our natural treasure in Las Vegas.

Reject this 2011 concept and say, Hell no to 5,000 homes in Red Rock Canyon. Now now. Not ever.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Clark County Commission Fail: Members Failed To Explain Why They Allowed 5,025-home Project In Red Rock Canyon To Move Along



I sure would have liked to have known what the hell was on the minds of the county commissioners who voted for this project.

Because, you know, all they do is represent the people of Clark County, Nev.

It's hard to fathom that after 120 speakers came before them during seven hours of testimony, there were hardly any comments by most of the seven county commissioners about the merits and faults of the actual project that would change beloved Red Rock Canyon forever.



5,025 homes on 2,000 acres atop a hill in Red Rock Canyon.

That's developer Jim Rhodes' plan for the mining company Gypsum Resources' land at Blue Diamond Hill in a canyon controlled mostly by the feds, the Bureau of Land Management.

The county commissioners moved along the project by voting to support that the 2011 proposal was still in affect instead of simply rejecting this application. At the meeting, the commissioners voted to accept the developer withdrawing the 2016 proposal and keeping the 2011 plan in play.

This is a laughable and obscene proposal -- a project calling for more than four times the number of homes allowed under current zoning that permits 1,100. The scope of the proposal is so beyond any reasonable measuring stick that the county commissioners should simply stamp, "reject," on this application. It's a no-brainer, folks.

But after the public comments, there was hardly any debate among the commissioners. Hardly any discussion. The whole deal looked like it was choreographed in light of little public comments by the county commissioners.

5,025 homes. 15,000 residents. Stunning numbers. This is the very definition of sprawl.

And those numbers would translate into profound impacts on one of the sacred natural jewels of not only the Las Vegas area but the entire West.



It was a long day of comments from impassioned opponents from Save Red Rock, and also from a few of Rhodes' employees who spoke in favor of the project.

But as I watched on the live stream 2,400 miles away, I was struck by the fact that after the public comments ended hardly any of the county commissioners addressed the actual comments by the speakers who waited patiently on a long line to offer their three minutes of testimony. I have reported on literally hundreds of government meetings across the country and typically elected officials will offer up some type of public schpiel to explain their vote. But not Wednesday at the Clark County Commission chambers.

In the end after seven hours of comments, the commissioners voted, 5-2, to move the project from 2011 ahead.



Know who pushed along this plan -- Steve Sisolak, Mary Beth Scow, Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Larry Brown and Susan Brager.

Commissioners Chris Giunchigliani and Lawrence Weekly voted against.

The project will change this canyon. Red Rock is no place for the lights, traffic and visual intrusion.

Red Rock Canyon was one of Las Vegas's signature identity markers and the Metro Valley region is already marred by sprawl spilling out in every direction.



Listen to the voices about why this decision will hurt so many.


I'm sorry to say that the commissioners voted 5-2 to push through Rhodes' 2011 concept plan. That's not the vote that was on the agenda, that's not why we spent 8 hours at the county building today testifying on the 2016 concept plan. What happened is that five of our elected officials who signed up for the job of making tough choices and to be the voice of the people opted to take the easy way out.
So the 2011 concept plan is a go.
This is Nevada lawmakers voting against the environment and the people. 

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How we all feel as beautiful Red Rock falls to GREED and IDIOCY as set forth by our politicians who ignored our outcries.

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Beyond disappointed that my county commissioner Susan Brager voted with developers, against preserving Red Rock. Expected more from you.


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5-2 Clark County Commissioner dirt bags voted to uphold Rhodes' 2011 development concept plan to build on Blue Diamond Hill. It took me a while to gather myself after the decision and although I can go on and on about why this proposal makes ZERO SENSE, I will instead choose to acknowledge the LOVE today. So many people, young and old, offered their stories, dreams, and support of Red Rock as a local RURAL gem. I am in awe and admiration for the support and strong opposition by my friends in the community. This is one of many future battles and I will see them to that challenge. We will win. Red Rock will win. ❤️✌️❤️

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Mark Antonuccio It will hurt us more than them. Red Rock is a public treasure.. We need to protect it for generations to come, and frankly I need it for my sanity. It is the one place in this town you can go to find a unique beauty and peace. It is absurd to say that the development will not diminish Red Rock. 5000 homes and as many if not more cars, plus the light pollution. The low density housing was bad enough, but the expansion to 5000 homes is a travesty. I wonder why the County Commission approved this. Is nothing sacred? Answer: no.
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