caption: Anything behind that post between the left window and the windshield?
"Watch out for motorcycles."
I know what those bumper stickers mean.
"Look twice for motorcylcles."
I thought I knew what those bumper stickers mean — until last Sunday.
That is when I learned almost the hard way that the same "look twice for" admonition applies to bicycles as well.
Driving east at the intersection of Seagate Drive and Crayton Road, I looked once and just as I was about to proceed, my wife, in the passenger seat, motioned for me to stop.
A fraction of a second after I had stepped on the gas, I stepped on the brake — in time to see a woman on a bicycle peddle very slowly in front of our car, from left to right.
She was blissfully unaware anything was wrong — or almost very wrong.
When I looked once, this bicyclist happened to be at a bad place at a bad time.
She was obscured by the part of the car body that separates the windshield from the driver side window.
Simple as that.
You can’t see through plastic and metal.
A split second earlier or later and she is in clear view through the glass.
If you want to call me a dummy for not having known that or not having practiced that until last Sunday, be my guest. I’m even going to take my dummy-ness to the next level by making a picture for you of what I was and was not looking at.
Have you ever experienced the same thing? Could you?
Hope this helps. It scared the daylights ot of me.
Chalk one up for the good guys.
Thanks to the eagle eye of a real armed-services veteran and the astute questioning by a Collier County Sheriff’s deputy, one of those help-the-veterans solicitors from the east coast was shooed out of town with a trespass warning last weekend.
For as long as this column has been on the case of these guys, this is one of the rare victories.
The story goes like this: When Duane Billington of Golden Gate Estates came upon a solicitor from the Veterans in Need Foundation with a card table and five-gallon bucket outside the Walmart Super Center at Collier and Davis boulevards in East Naples, the guy in fatigues told Billington he had the support of the local VFW.
Billington, a well-known civic troubleshooter, happens to be a member of the VFW and never heard of Veterans in Need. He checked with the local VFW post and was told no such endorsement had been issued.
Then Billington called the cops.
An official incident report says the investigating officer started by asking the solicitor about his military record. Initial claims of a 25-year Navy career quickly gave way to a seven-month hitch ended by smoking marijuana, the report says. Plus, he did not have a county solicitor’s license, the report says.
The report says Walmart management said the solicitor did not have prior permission to be there; hence, the trespass warning.
For the record, a man who answered the phone at Veterans in Need in Pompano Beach said the solicitor did in fact have permission and was chased away by management intimidated by the officer. Walmart officials at headquarters in Arkansas confirmed the prior permission part, but added the solicitor did not report to store management before he set up shop that day. Walmart added that the firm works to cooperate with local law enforcement, is fine with the way things worked out and will be consulting with local stores’ management on how to deal with such solicitors from now on.
What about the money that had been collected?
The investigating officer, Cpl. Daniel Michalski, says he was unable to find evidence of Veterans in Need being less than legal, so he had no grounds to confiscate the cash.
The man who answered the phone at Veterans in Need said the organization is transparent and hides nothing from the public, but refused to tell me how much money was in the bucket or how it will be used — unless I come to the east coast and see the whole housing/counseling program and write a complete, balanced, honest story.
There are few other ways to get information. The organization’s web address leads you to a notice of its web site being under construction, and annual reports filed with the state fail to track money in and money out.
The man who answered the phone said one more thing: It’s a sad day in America when federal budgets are slashed and money can’t be raised for veterans in communities that harass people trying to help.
The man who answered the phone said his first name is Jeff, like mine.
When I asked for his last name the line went dead.
It goes to show how vigilant the community ought to be about giving hard-earned money to strangers for any cause — especially one that tugs so mightily at your heart strings.