I think it's sad that one of the biggest turnoffs to bike commuting is fear of the roads. We all seem to have our horror stories. It frustrates me that motorists don't seem to know the traffic laws concerning bicycles. I advocate awareness and education, building bike lanes and trails, etc. But while we wait for that, one of our best defenses as cyclists is increasing our visibility.
That’s so full of good juice that I want to take it piece by piece.
I think it's sad that one of the biggest turnoffs to bike commuting is fear of the roads.
And a lot of people are scared of the roads. (Mind you, there are people I know who are scared of exercise, too, but that’s a different matter.) When I set out to ride to work, my Lovely Lovely worries about me. I can see why she does. I’ve had my share of close calls, up to and including the time a lady in a jeep passed me and then pulled right in front of me and slammed on her brakes to turn into her driveway. It was only by throwing both bike and body desperately to the side that I avoided pancaking into the jeep. Apparently she was in a real hurry to make that turn. Perhaps she had some ice cream which she wanted to get into the freezer before it melted, I don’t know. It’s hard to argue that she didn’t know I was there, since she pulled around me to pass.
We all seem to have our horror stories.
I know I do - for instance, see my previous comments - but no serious injuries, though the backdraft from a tractor trailer going 55 mph as it blew past me without either slowing down or moving over did once knock me off the road and nearly into a ditch and then into a tree.
I’ve mentioned my buddy Dave before, but his website does a much better job of relating his experiences than I can do here.
It frustrates me that motorists don't seem to know the traffic laws concerning bicycles.
And you have to think that some of them wouldn’t care if they did know. I have seen my share of polite and courteous motorists, but I have also seen my share of motorists who gave the appearance of not caring.
Mind you, there is a sort of selective blindness out there. I don’t think a lot of drivers see us, and I know they aren’t looking for us. How you avoid seeing someone in an electric green jersey who is riding a bike painted six different shades of orange, red, and yellow, I don’t know. I would think that would kind of tend to stand out. (That isn’t a description of me, mind you. I was just using that as an example (although I do know someone who greatly resembles that description). I just wanted to make that clear.)
Whew. That's a lot of parentheses for one short paragraph.
I advocate awareness and education, building bike lanes and trails, etc.
Me, too. The town I live in has a population of around 40,000. (I don’t know how many of those people have bicycles.) We do have nearly four miles of bike lanes. The bike lanes don’t actually go anywhere, of course, they mostly just make a loop, and the four miles aren’t exactly continuous, but, still, it’s better than nothing.
But while we wait for that, one of our best defenses as cyclists is increasing our visibility.
Be visible and be predictable – my two favorite rules.
Missy was talking about something called the light lane. If you’re curious, head on over to her blog and read about it yourself. Meanwhile, stay upright and stay out of the way of anybody dangerous.
Oh, and have fun. I intend to.
See you on the road.