A few days ago, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer stopped across the highway (Hwy 150) from the Mules and told us that CHP was getting a number of calls about us being in the middle of the road. We said when there is no other place to go but on the road, we are going to use the road. He said you can’t be on the road. We said Highway 150 is a public thoroughfare that all venues have the right to use it be they bicycles, pedestrians, equestrians or somebody in a wheelchair. He said if he gets any more calls about the Mules being on the road and he has to come back, there will be issues. We said that we have the same right to the public thoroughfare as any high speed motorist.
It seems the high-speed motorist and the CHP have made an unholy alliance. First the CHP collects a number of calls from the high-speed motorist claiming there is somebody with horses on the road, then comes out using those calls as a justification to remove the Mules from the public thoroughfare.
2015 California Department of Motor Vehicle handbook page 62 and California Vehicle Code 21759 Caution in Passing Animals clearly states “riders of horses or other animals are entitled to share the road with motor vehicles. It is a traffic offense to scare horses or stampede livestock. Slow down or stop, if necessary, or when requested to do so by the riders or herders.” The vehicle handbook does not say to call and scream to the CHP that there are horses in the road, come and get rid of them, they slowed me up.
The high speed motorist is clearly breaking the law. The crosses (memorials) we see along the highways are not there because of The Mules. The crosses are there because of speed by the high-speed motorist. For the CHP and its ally, the high-speed motorist, to try and shift the responsibility of its deadly excessive speed over to the Mules moving at three miles per hour doesn’t work. It can’t pass the test of basic common sense.
These pictures attest to the fact that there is often no choice but to be on the road, which in this kind of circumstance, the high-speed motorist must slow down, obey the California Vehicle Code 21759, share the road, and not call the CHP to demand removal of the Mules from the road.
You see the “Share the Road” bicycle sign occasionally. A feeble acknowledgement by the state of California’s Department of Transportation and California Highway Patrol, that yes, the Public Thoroughfare is not for the exclusive use of the High Speed Motorist (HSM). It must be shared by all venues. We saw the sign once on Hwy 150, and not at all on Hwy 33.
The sign on the left should look more like the sign that I drew, placed at the entrance to any and all dangerous blind curves and constricted passage ways! Keeping the HSM aware that it must reduce his/her speed and be ready to slow down or stop in these most dangerous areas. “You must share road with Bicycles, Pedestrians, Equestrians, Raccoons, Skunks, Deer and all others. Be read to stop or slow down.”
The HSM screaming to the CHP will not save anybody’s life. A concerted effort by the Department of Transportation to properly sign many of these and most dangerous roads traveled by the HSM will save many lives.
Getting rid of the Mules will not stop the carnage of the HSM. The crosses on the sides of the roads were there before the Mules and will continue to appear until the HSM is reigned in and made to obey the law.