Monday, March 19, 2007

Bicycles on the Local News Radar Screen

The fair-weather cyclists are getting their dusty, rusty $89 Wal-Mart Specials down from the hooks in the garage. LOOK OUT!

As more bicycles start showing up on roads and trails in the springtime, the local news takes notice, for a day or two. And that's a good thing.

Natalie Bartley contributed a story in the Statesman about riding safely. One of the major perceptions that keeps more potential cyclists off the road is a perception that it's unsafe... Bartley's suggestions are good ones.

She also refers to the "Street Smarts" booklet, available at local bike outlets (for free). If you prefer the online version, it can be found here. It is an EXCELLENT resource, filled with valuable information. (And I'd also strongly encourage participation in the "Road I" riding course.)

There's also a story about a local cyclist who had an accident early this morning. He was riding mainly on the sidewalk and collided with a turning car. He was injured and cited for failure to yield. THE SAFEST PLACE TO RIDE IS AT THE RIGHT EDGE OF THE TRAFFIC LANE! (AND RIDING WITH TRAFFIC, NOT AGAINST IT!) That is where motorists will see you; if they see you, you're generally NOT going to get run into.

Ride safe!

4 comments:

Clancy said...

I have a silly question. Why do they put bike lanes on the left on a one way street (16th)? Sometime the drivers are not used to looking there.

danielo said...

I must respectfully differ with Bike Nazi on this one -- I've ridden down Fairview, and it's hellish. I won't be doing it again by choice, but if I were forced to, I'd be on the sidewalk.

I don't trust any car to see me, ever, and if they do see me, I don't trust them to make decisions in my favor, ever. Roughly, I assume that every driver is, at best, apathetic to my existence, and at worst, actively working to kill me.

As such, I put a buffer (curb) between myself and traffic wherever possible. It's a deep-rooted cynicism that extends far beyond cycling, and it's kept me alive thus far.

This recent accident is a result of a bicyclist failing to remember that you're invisible on a bike. With that important truth in your mind at every moment, you'll live. I promise you won't be seeing me in the newspaper.

Bikeboy said...

Clancy - one of the worst bike-lane designs can be seen on Fairview (approaching downtown) at 27th. The bike lane on the left hand side has not one, but TWO left-turn lanes intersecting it at that intersection. Accident waiting to happen.

Danielo - I'm not quite so cynical. I sincerely believe that MOST people would never deliberately run into me when I'm riding. Some aren't paying as much attention as they should... and there are a few who kinda leave you shaking your head. (They seem to be more "caveman-testosterone-driven" than typical folks. They somehow feel like their manhood is being threatened by anybody else.) But I'll take my chances OFF the sidewalk (unless I'm willing to behave like a pedestrian - yield at every corner). I've got a helmet rearview mirror; I NEVER wear earbuds, etc. in traffic... I rely on my senses and my wits to give me advance notice of any possible hazard, and to be prepared. (I ride up Fairview occasionally, and Orchard frequently - not because I'm particularly comfortable there, but to assert the right of cyclists to operate there. "Use it or lose it," as they say.)

danielo said...

Upon reflection, I realize I do behave pedestrian-like when I'm cycling on sidewalks. I yield at intersections. In truth, I'm always prepared to yield at every moment, so I never really think "I'm in pedestrian mode now," I just ride very carefully all the time.

My cynicism is mathematical. I suspect that around 99% of drivers are basically good people. However, it's not that 99% I worry about, because it only takes one crazy driver to kill me. Since I can't know ahead of time which driver is crazy, I ride as though they ALL are.