November 3, 2011

Pedestrians, Bicyclists and Motorists Oh My

Everyone has somewhere to be, thank-you-very-much, and that's completely understandable! You don't leave somewhere and say, "Self, I would like to get to my destination in a slow fashion." Instead you say, "Self, why the hell aren't there teleportation devices yet?" and that's part of how we get into vehicle collisions.

Bicyclists, unfortunately, are odd-man out in traffic. We don't go the speeds of cars and we apparently injure pedestrians all the time. Motorists believe we belong on the sidewalk (not true) and because we don't have a ton of metal around us, motorists can force the point if they are irrational enough to do so. 

This is not to say that motorists are bad and that bicyclists are law-abiding citizens. That is completely false. What I am saying is that bicyclists are minor inconveniences to motorists but for the most part, we do not have the ability to delay motorists more than a few seconds. I do not want to be worshipped for my “street cred” or my “green cred” or my “big-quad cred.” I only ask for motorists to use 10 seconds of their day to safely pass me and in return I will try to avoid heavily congested roads when possible.

For example, recently I was waiting at a stop sign to cross Sullivant Avenue. A large yellow van pulls up to my left which blocked my view of traffic. I thought self, that kind of sucks but hey, he’s going to turn left and it’s possible that he did not realize that I was unable to see through his mostly solid van. Unfortunately, he turned right onto Sullivant.

New York City has recently used a Don't Be A Jerk campaign towards bicyclists. Thanks a lot NYC. What they should have emphasized is that no one should be a jerk. Pedestrians, don’t walk out immediately in front of a vehicle, that's illegal. Bicyclists, don’t run red lights, that's illegal. Motorists, don’t make a right turn in front of a stopped bicyclist who is going straight, that's illegal.

Next time: Bike Shelters and Parking

Cool link of the day: Coning

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