Thursday, December 01, 2005

Protruding pipe hazard to cyclists

Yesterday, 30 November 2005, I was cycling north on the Mathews Avenue bicycle path in front of Smith Memorial Hall shortly before noon. Paying attention to the other pedestrians and cyclists on the ground near me, it was only at the last instant that I realized I was going to smash my head into a black pipe if I didn't quickly duck under it, which I did. A truck parked adjacent and perpendicular to the bike path was carrying several long pipes, one of which was so long it protruded at about head level (for a tall seated cyclist or a medium-sized one standing on the pedals) into the bike path. As I was late for a class, I left the scene and hoped that the truck would soon be moved before it caused an accident.

When I returned to the scene after class a bit before 1:00 pm, I saw that the truck with its pipe hazard was still there. I called campus police on my cell phone to report the hazard and the dispatcher said she would send someone to check it out. I waited for over 30 minutes, warning cyclists to "duck" before they reached the pipe. As the police still did not arrive, I attempted to push the pipe back, but it was cinched too tightly to the truck's carrying rack. I was able, however, to loosen to the rachet straps securing the load and push to long pipe back away from the bike path. This however, made it protrude from the rear of the truck and presented a hazared to traffic behind the truck which I judged less dangerous than leaving it protruding in to the bike path. I left a note on the truck's windshield informing the driver of the hazard and that I had pushed the pipe back.

I unfortunately did not have my camera with me to record the hazard. But I did note that the truck was from Automatic Fire Sprinklers (Tel. 888.781.9665) and the licence plate was Illinois 206879D. I called the number later that afternoon and reported the incident to the receptionist who appeared concerned.

I find it ironic that a company that is supposed reduce hazards would have an employee that would endanger others in this way. I also wonder if anyone from the campus police ever showed up and did anything about the truck with its dangerous load (like have it towed away).