Please Watch for Bicycles

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I am writing again today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

With the economy going south and gas prices going up, more and more people are turning to their bicycles as a legitimate mode of transportation. This is a “win win” situation as bicyclists save gas and maintenance money on their cars, as well as getting much needed exercise. Many motorists respect the rights of bicyclists on the road and treat them as regular vehicles who they share the road with. However there are a few motorists who like to make life difficult for bicyclists. With more and more bicycles on the road I believe it is important for both motorists and bicyclists to be aware of the law regarding bicycles and sharing the road. While a bicycle does belong on the road I do highly recommend riding on the sidewalk when you can (watch for pedestrians!) or side streets to avoid busy roads and busy traffic. Below I have pasted a page from the website http://floridadrivers.com/traffic_court/bicycle_regulations.php/ to help familiarize everyone with bicycle laws and safety. I might also add if you are on your bicycle wear your helmet and don’t forget your sunscreen! Also you can click here for more safety tips on your bike or if you are walking.

 

This section provides a summary of Florida’s bicycle regulations. Click here for the exact wording of the State Uniform Traffic Control Law.

Regulations for Bicyclists and
Motorists to Share the Road
With few exceptions, there is only one road and it is up to bicyclists and motorists to treat each other with care and respect. Strict adherence to the law is the foundation for this respect.

 

Legal Status of Bicycles
In Florida the bicycle is legally defined as a vehicle. Bicyclists have the same rights to the roadway, and must obey the same traffic laws as the operators of other vehicles. These laws include stopping for stop signs and red lights, riding with the flow of traffic, using lights at night and yielding the right-of-way when entering a roadway.

Traffic Regulations Highlights – BicyclistsBicycle Regulations
(Section 316.2065, F.S.)

 

   Bicyclists must obey all traffic controls and signals.

   Bicyclists must use a fixed, regular seat for riding.

   A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped.

   An adult bicyclist may carry a child in a backpack or sling, child seat or trailer designed to carry children.

   A bicyclist may not allow a passenger to remain in a child seat or carrier when not in immediate control of the bicycle.

   Bicyclists and passengers under age 16 must wear a helmet approved by ANSI, Snell, CPSC or any other standard recognized by Florida. (Two Florida counties opted out of this law.)

   At least one hand must be kept on the handlebars while riding.

   Parents or guardians must not knowingly allow a child or minor ward to violate any provision of this section.

   Every bicycle must be equipped with a brake or brakes which allow the rider to stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 miles per hour on dry, level, clean pavement.

Sidewalk Riding
(Section 316.2065, F.S.)

   When riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks, a bicyclist has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian.

   A bicyclist riding on sidewalks or in crosswalks must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and must give an audible signal before passing.

Lighting
(Section 316.2065, F.S.)

   A bicycle operated between sunset and sunrise must be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from 500 feet to the front and both a red reflector and a lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible from 600 feet to the rear.

Additional lighting is permitted and recommended.

Roadway Position
(Section 316.2065, F.S.)

   A bicyclist who is not traveling at the same speed of other traffic must ride as close as practicable to the right hand curb or edge of roadway. A bicyclist may leave the right-most portion of the road in one of the following situations: when passing, making a left turn, to avoid hazards, or when a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a car to share it safely.

   A bicyclist operating on a one-way street with two or more traffic lanes may ride as close to the left hand edge of the roadway as practicable.

   Riding in single file is required except on bike paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles, or when two people riding side-by-side within one lane will not impede traffic flow.

Left Turns
(Subsections 316.151(1)(b)(c), F.S.)

   A bicyclist intending to make a vehicle left turn is entitled to full use of the lane from which the turn is made. After scanning, signaling and moving to the center of that lane, the bicyclist must obey any applicable signs or signals then proceed when it is safe to do so.

   In addition to the normal vehicular left turn, a bicyclist may proceed through the right-most portion of the intersection and turn as close to the curb or edge as possible at the far side. After complying with any official traffic control device, the bicyclist may proceed in the new direction of travel.

   Another option available to the bicyclist is to dismount and walk through the intersection in the crosswalk like a pedestrian.

Signaling Turns
(Sub-sections 316.155(2) and 316.157(2), F.S.)

   A signal of intention to turn must be given during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. If a bicyclist needs both hands for control, the signal need not be given continuously.

   A bicyclist may signal intent to turn right either by extending the left hand and arm upward or by extending the right hand and arm horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.

Freeways and Interstates
(316.091, (2) and (4), F.S.)

   Bicyclists are not allowed to ride on the shoulder or roadway of limited access roadways (freeways) or interstate highways.

Headsets
(Section 316.304, F.S.)

   A bicyclist must not wear a headset, headphone or any listening device other than a hearing aid while riding. (Wearing a headset blocks out important audio cues needed to detect the presence of other traffic.)

Civil Penalties
(Sub-section 316.065 and 318.18, F.S.)

   Civil penalties may be issued for violations of bicycle laws as well as for moving and non-moving violations if applicable.

Local Ordinances

   The local governments of counties, cities, towns and other municipalities can adopt ordinances regulating bicycle riding. Some towns may also have registration and licensing ordinances. Sidewalk riding may be prohibited entirely or only in certain areas such as business districts. Local law enforcement agencies can provide copies of local ordinances.

A note about bike lanes – Bicycle lanes are lanes on the roadway set aside for preferential use by bicyclists. Just as with most roadway lanes, they are almost always designed for through bicyclists. Bicyclists who are turning right must use the right turn lane if one is available, and may use available left turn lanes. At intersections with turn lanes, turning movements should not be made from the through bike lanes.

And about shared use paths – Shared use paths, sometimes called trails or bike paths, are used by pedestrians, skaters and bicyclists. Although bicyclists frequently use them as an alternative to riding on the roadway, bicyclists may still use the roadway adjacent to the path.

There are numerous reasons a cyclist may not wish to ride on the path. Roadways typically have fewer stop signs. Higher speed cyclists may wish to avoid conflicts with pedestrians, skaters, and slower cyclists. Frequently, a cyclist’s destination may be on the side of the roadway opposite the pathway and accessible only from the roadway. Most proficient cyclists prefer to ride in the same direction as traffic on the roadway; this makes them more visible to motorists, particularly at intersections.

Traffic Law Highlights –  MotoristsMotorist responsibility to exercise care
(Sections 316.130 and 316.1925, F.S.)

 

   Not withstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.

   Any person operating a vehicle upon the streets or highways within the state shall drive the same in a careful and prudent manner, having regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and all other attendant circumstances, so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person.

Overtaking and passing a vehicle
(Section 316.083)

   The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

When overtaking on the right is permitted
(Section 316.084)

   Upon a street or highway with unobstructed pavement, not occupied by parked vehicles, of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving traffic in each direction.

A note about passing on the right – This information was included in this summary as a reminder a cyclist may pass a queue of stopped motorists on the right. Many cyclists feel if one can make it through on the next green signal, passing on the right should be discouraged. However, being allowed to “queue jump” during a traffic jam is a benefit of riding a bicycle.

Following too closely
(Section 316.0895)

   The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the highway.

Driving speeds
(Sections 316.183 and 316.185, F.S.)

   No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing. In every event, speed shall be controlled as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, or vehicle on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.

   The driver of every vehicle shall drive at an appropriately reduced speed when approaching and going around a curve; approaching a hill crest; traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway; or when any special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions. 

Please also visit my personal website with lots of Bible studies and devotionals.

My Mother’s Day Tribute

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My mother Sara, visiting with Santa last Christmas.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.      When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  John 19:25-26

 “As the eyes of Jesus wandered over the multitude about Him, one figure arrested His attention. At the foot of the cross stood His mother, supported by the disciple John. She could not endure to remain away from her Son; and John, knowing that the end was near, had brought her again to the cross. In His dying hour, Christ remembered His mother. Looking into her grief-stricken face and then upon John, He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son!” then to John, “Behold thy mother!” John understood Christ’s words, and accepted the trust. He at once took Mary to his home, and from that hour cared for her tenderly. O pitiful, loving Saviour; amid all His physical pain and mental anguish, He had a thoughtful care for His mother! He had no money with which to provide for her comfort; but He was enshrined in the heart of John, and He gave His mother to him as a precious legacy. Thus He provided for her that which she most needed,–the tender sympathy of one who loved her because she loved Jesus. And in receiving her as a sacred trust, John was receiving a great blessing. She was a constant reminder of his beloved Master. 

 The perfect example of Christ’s filial love shines forth with undimmed luster from the mist of ages. For nearly thirty years Jesus by His daily toil had helped bear the burdens of the home. And now, even in His last agony, He remembers to provide for His sorrowing, widowed mother. The same spirit will be seen in every disciple of our Lord. Those who follow Christ will feel that it is a part of their religion to respect and provide for their parents. From the heart where His love is cherished, father and mother will never fail of receiving thoughtful care and tender sympathy.  {Desire of Ages, p. 752.3}   

Jesus’ mother was not perfect. She made many mistakes. At a wedding feast she was filled with pride and wanted Jesus to show off in front of everyone. Later she was actually embarrassed by His claims and joined his brothers and sisters in trying to call Him back home where they thought He belonged (John 2, Matthew 12:47-50, See also the Desire of Ages chapter entitled “Who are My Brethren”).  Even though she may not have been perfect one thing is certain, Mary loved her Son. I can more than just imagine that as Jesus hung on the cross, Mary would have done anything she could to trade places with her Son. No doubt Mary would have died for Jesus. This is what made His mother so precious to Him. In Ephesians 5, Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Jesus loved His church. This means a husband should be willing to die for his family. Later in the same chapter Paul tells wives to reverence their husbands. That word “reverence” is very powerful! Think about it, nowhere does the Bible tell us to reverence a priest or pastor but yet we are to reverence those who love us so much they would die for us. I believe that is because there is no one more Godly than a person who has in their hearts the self sacrificing love that God Himself has placed there.

 I remember visiting my grandmother with my mother one time when I was around ten. I forget what it was but my mother was not letting me do something and I got upset and said some mean things to my mother. My grandmother told me never to talk to my mother that way because she would die for me and you don’t talk to someone that way when they love you enough to die for you. I have never forgotten that. If my grandmother had told me to be respectful, because my mother was “the boss of me,” or because she is older or whatever, I would have resented it. Instead my grandmother pointed out that my mother earned my respect because of her love for me. That I will never forget.  

We reverence God, not because He is bigger and stronger than us, but because He gave His life for us. God would have us to reverence that love wherever we see it manifested, especially in our parents.

 Satan has filled our world and minds with all kinds of lies about God. Every false doctrine is an attack on the love and character of God. False doctrines like sinners being in eternal torment in hell, and being saved by works instead of grace and many others make it hard for us to really comprehend the love of God. God has given us the Bible to find the truth about God’s love. More than that, He has given me a wonderful Mother who has always truly loved me. I am wise to Satan’s lie that God does not really love us, because I have seen God’s love in my mother. Thanks to the love of my mother and father, I know God is love. I reverence that love.  

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you!

 

Love,

 

William

 PS Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there!

Please also visit my site filled with Bible Studies and devotionals at http://www.InLightOfTheCross.com

Solo Con Dios

new-bike-016I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. 

Last Friday I bought a new bicycle. It is a Specailized Hardrock mountain bike. With the economy the way it is and car dealers supposedly making great deals these days I had my eye out for a new car if I could find a great deal. Still with the economy the way it is I was wondering if a new car was really good stewardship. I need to drive relatively new cars as I am no auto mechanic. I dropped out of the new car market though when I found this new bike.

 

I took my old walmart bike to the bike shop to have a tire fixed. While there I was looking around at new bikes. I have been trying to save gas money and get more exercise by riding my bike for work when I don’t absolutely need my car. I remembered a while back, a friend telling me that if I was serious about riding my bicycle instead of car all around town then I really needed to get a serious bike. So I made a compromise with myself. Instead of buying a new car I bought a nice new bicycle! Boy am I glad I did! With this new bike I glide across town! My old bike wore me out but this one is amazingly comfortable and easy to ride.

 

I was so excited with my new bike I rode it to church Sabbath. I left early and stopped at Lowry Park on the way where I had my personal devotions on a park bench by the river. I then rode on up to church. Sunday I had already been invited to join the Adventurers on their bike ride. I actually rode my bicycle about five miles to where the ride began. It was when I was half way there that I realized I had left me cell phone at home. I was not going to turn around on a bicycle and ride all that way back to get it. I had left early as I was not familiar with our meeting place. I left way too early! I had no trouble finding it and showed up an hour early! There I was an hour early with no cell phone, no books to read, nothing to do! That is when I heard God speak to me… “Now I have you all to myself, no distractions! You and I can just hang out and talk for a while, there is nothing to distract you.”  There are often people I wish I could spend time alone with without any distractions. I realized God wanted to spend time alone with me too. I am special to Him!

 

Don’t get me wrong I spend time with God but this is often how it goes. I get up in the morning and start praying. While I am praying I pray for all the people I am studying with, those in the hospital or needing encouragement. Then when I start reading my Bible my mind will wander to all the people I need to see and things I need to do and as weird as it may sound I actually feel guilty sitting there reading my Bible because there is so much I need to do! As I talked with God that morning waiting for everyone else to show up, God told me I did not need to feel guilty for spending time with Him. He reminded me He was an important Being to spend time with just as much as all my Bible study interests. He also reminded me that our conversations are real. I am not just thinking to myself and or daydreaming, but I am actually having a real conversation with another Being. God told me that while I think e-mail, cell phones and Facebook have greatly improved communications that they are actually light years behind prayer. God has something that has kept people linked together long before Facebook, it’s called “being in the Spirit.” While we have neighbors we still don’t even know and people on Facebook we still never hear from those who are in the Spirit have always been closely knitted together.

 

After panicking because I had no cell phone with me I realized again how awesome it was to have God’s undivided attention and for Him to have mine.

 

Everyone showed up and we had a great bike ride together. Afterwards I rode my bicycle home where I met my friend Adam. We rode our bikes to Davis Island and back. By the end of the day I had put over 40 miles on my bike and was not the least bit worn out! Today I am on my bike again. I have not touched my car since Friday. I am hoping this new bike will get me in better physical shape, save me money on gas and ware and tare on my car. With no stereo on my bike I am also looking forward to more time alone with God as I ride across His wonderful creation going from Bible study to Bible study!

Please enjoy more Bible studies and devotionals at my personal website http://www.InLightOfTheCross.com

I am Celebrating Five Years in Florida!

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I am writing today from my beautiful church in the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

 

Wow! This April 16, I will have been in Florida for five years. In some ways it seems like I moved here yesterday and in other ways it seems like a long time. Here are some things I have learned here in Florida over the last five years.

 

We don’t have elections every day here in Tampa. At first I thought we did. Then one night I understood what the weatherman was really saying, “For all you BOATERS out there.” Okay boaters not voters. Now I get it. At first I was wondering what we were voting about all the time.

 

God has wonderful people everywhere. I used to think all the wonderful people were in Texas and Oklahoma, but then I moved to Florida and found all kinds of wonderful people here in Florida. Then I went on a mission trip to Peru and found even more wonderful people. Actually they were good friends I just hadn’t met yet. Turns out even in this sin-darkened world, Christ is still lighting the earth with His glory.

 

I could write all day about how everyone in my church from young to old has touched my heart. Over the years I have mentioned many things either in my sermons or writings, so I want to mention one thing I have never mentioned that really touched my heart. Ever since I met the Ogaus family their mother was sick. I studied with them and became friends with them and watched them watch their mother die. Mano was around 14, Javens around 13 and Jonise 7. At the same time my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I have never lost anyone in my immediate family before and I was at amazed at how bravely these kids went through what they did when their mother died. I was amazed how faithful they were to their family and their God. I was amazed at their faith. While they thought I was teaching them I was actually desperately learning from them how to face life’s fiercest trials. One night after their mother died I got a call from Javens. He needed a personal favor and I explained I could not help him right then because my mother who was visiting had become ill and was in the hospital here. Javens cheerfully accepted my excuse but then just before he hung up he said, “Oh William, I will be praying for your mother that she gets better.” As I hung up it hit me that a child was praying that I would not have to experience as an adult what he had already tasted as a child. That has always touched my heart.

 

During an evangelistic campaign I called and asked the Ogaus family if they could help me stuff and stamp some envelopes. They told me I did not need to call and ask just bring things by for them and they would always take care of them for me. Javens also offered several times to clean my car whenever it needed it to show his appreciation for my ministry to his family. Either he was very thankful or thought I had a dirty car. The Ogaus family has moved on to New Jersey but I will always remember Mano and Javens as a wonderful young woman and young man and not as kids. I still keep in touch with them. No matter where they go or where I go I will always be their friend. They taught me so much.

 

Well if I kept writing about how this family and all the other families have touched my heart here I would be writing for the next five years!

 

Another thing I have learned in my five years in Florida is that Tex-Mex is not the only real food there is. I have to admit it was quite a culture shock when I moved here and found out that not all Spanish food is Mexican food. Don’t know what I was thinking though. I knew not all English speaking people drink hot tea just because they do in England. While I have met a lot of new friends my stomach has met a lot of new foods. Just like God has good people all over the world He also has some good foods all over the world. Yellow rice and black beans is one of my new favorites.

 

Actually the diversity in cultures here in Tampa has inspired my ambition to learn more about the rest of the world. In 2006 I was blessed to be a part of a mission team in Peru. I long to go back and also go on missions to other parts of the world too.

 

While I love Oklahoma and Texas, Florida is the first state that made me buy a digital camera! So much beauty here and I had to capture it and share it. Now when I drive across the Howard Franklin Bridge from Tampa into St.Petersburg and look out on the beautiful bay I just think to myself, and when I drove from Fort Worth to Dallas all those years all I saw was concrete. Let me take the time now to apologize for sending so many pictures of the same Florida scenes over and over. I realize you all know what a sunset looks like and have probably seen alligators at the zoo. I know too you could Google Florida and find pictures of the exact same things I send you. Still there is so much beauty here in Florida that just makes me grab my camera over and over again.

 

One thing I can honestly say about myself is that I work hard and I play hard. I can put in a 60 hour week at work, play a round of golf, keep up with my personal Bible study and prayer life as well, and still have time to sit on a park bench every now and then and watch the sun set as I sip on my lemonade. I guess being single does have its advantages. Notice I said single but did not say not having a family because I do have family, a huge family! Come to think of it I bet renting instead of owning helps keep my life simple too. Not only has my ministry blossomed (if you will allow me to modestly say that) here in Florida over the last five years but my personal life has too. So many new friends and adventures kayaking the bay, biking the trails and golfing on the most beautiful courses in the world.

 

What is more beautiful than anything else in Florida are the people who have come to accept and know Jesus as their personal Savior. Many were older and many have been younger. Many have stayed right here and blossomed and grown so much that I forget there was a day when they were just beginning their walk with Christ. Others have moved to different parts of the state and even world and are now leading others to Christ. While I can honestly say without any hesitation that the last five years here in Tampa have been the best five years of my life, I also know our God does not live in the past. I believe as we all draw closer to Jesus the best is yet to come!

 

 

 

Please enjoy more Bible studies and devotionals at my personal website http://www.InLightOfTheCross.com

Online Sermon/Study Videos

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Just wanted to share some sermon videos I have made with the help of my friend Joel. Several are short videos where I attempt to simplify dificult Bible texts. others are just inspirational sermons. I hope you find these helpful. Enjoy! http://onewaytoheaven.ning.com/page/william-earnhardt-sermons  The website my sermons are posted on is not my site and I am not responsible for the content of that site.

You can also find more difficult text explanations on my website http://www.InLightOfTheCross.com just click on difficult texts.

Sexual Abuse of Boys No Laughing Matter

3I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.  Luke 17:2

 

 

I usually keep my blogs and devotionals positive, but today I am writing about something that deeply grieved me. Last Tuesday night I turned on Leno around 11:40pm to get a couple of laughs before preparing for bed. Then Leno told a joke that broke my heart instead of making me laugh. He told about the boy in Utah who had been a victim of statutory rape by two female teachers. Leno said, the boy was okay besides the fact that since the females had been arrested and taken away from him his best days are now over. Everyone laughed. I was stunned. I was stunned that everyone including Leno thought that a child being sexually molested was funny. I am no Elijah. I know I was not the only person who realized this was anything but funny. Still my heart broke for this boy and his family who are seen as anything but victims.

 

A friend explained to me the double standard. I know there is a double standard between men and women and boys and girls but I draw the line at sexual abuse. Our society does not want to recognize men and boys as victims, only perpetrators. I am a man and have seen this many times. I have never spoken out publicly when I have seen myself misrepresented, misunderstood or wronged because I am a man. Even if it is wrong, as a man I can tolerate it even if I don’t like it. However, I will not stay silent when male children become the victims of this kind of treatment. I would not dare laugh about a girl’s best days being over after being sexually molested by two male teachers and I will not laugh about a boy’s best days being over after being molested by two female teachers. We need to protect our boys! For one they are real people just like anyone else. Second, you know how on an airplane they tell you in an emergency to put your mask on before helping a child? That is because if you are not taken care of first you will not be able to breathe to care for the child. The same is true for boys. Boys are to be protectors. We raise them to protect girls and as they get older women. However if no one protects boys in our society, how will they be able to protect girls and women? Most rapists and molesters were abused themselves. That is no excuse to become an abuser. However I hope society realizes we need to protect the people whom we need protecting us.

 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the young man who was not only abused but was also the laughing stock of a primetime network show just because he was a male victim.