Monday, July 13, 2009

Another call for against-traffic bike riding

A letter-to-the-editor, composed by Sherry Horton of Melba:

Bicycle riders should be allowed to ride against the traffic just as a pedestrian walks against traffic - for safety. I want to know in advance if some idiot driver is veering toward me so I can get the heck out of the way. Otherwise, as happened to that woman at the intersection of Eagle and Overland, she didn't see the Hummer coming up behind her. She had no chance to react.

Safety is everyone's responsibility. Yes, bicycle riders should obey traffic laws when riding on the streets, but 90 percent do not, including the experienced riders.

It appeared in the Sunday, July 12 edition of the Statesman.

Now, chances are that you wouldn't be exposing yourself to a lot more danger if you rode against traffic on Potato Road in Melba. Or even Broadway. But Sherry's letter is more evidence that many folks just don't understand the dynamics of bike riding in traffic, and how much education is needed.

Even if Sherry's premise that her cat-like quick reflexes could enable her to swerve out of the way of a head-on "idiot driver," she's ignoring the additional hazards she creates for herself at every intersection, driveway, parking lot exit, etc., when side-approaching motorists aren't looking for her as she comes up the street the wrong way.

And how does she propose to deal with cyclists who are riding with traffic, and coming straight toward her on a collision course? Will she "get the heck out of the way," or not?

I don't know this for a fact, but I'd bet that there are more head-on collisions between wrong-way cyclists and cars, than there are rear-end collisions between right-way cyclists and cars.

Sherry needs to ride WITH traffic... and I'd also strongly recommend a rearview mirror to keep track of veering idiot drivers.


bob t said...

AMEN, and welcome back.

Clancy said...

Welcome back.

Sometimes I wouldn't mind subscribing to the "Survival of the Fittest" mentality. Those cyclist who are ignorant of the law or lawbreakers reflect poorly on me though.

db said...

Saw that in the paper, too. It's gonna take years of educational articles, editorials, and PSAs to get the message across. And I don't know of a better way to communicate it.

The state is adding language to the driver's manual, but how many people really read that?