People on Bikes and Lanes for Them Are Here to Stay
Today I was going to post about a Safe City Cycling Class, but due to cedar fever, my body was devoid of most energy. So I posted up in my bed to take an extended siesta. I’m still feeling as if I were run over by a truck, so bear with me. I hope to attend the next class on Saturday and report on that then. Looking around for a topic, I realized the Next Door War on Cyclists going on today would be a “fun” one. Not being sure about permissions and copyrights, I will just quote from there instead of put whole posts. When someone brings out the word “douche” and they’re not French or talking about a shower or feminine hygiene, let’s just say it gets pretty heated.
Other People Say it Very Well
I was going to get into the nitty-gritty of the arguments, which also includes runners feeling entitled to using the bike lanes, laws be damned. But I found two posts that speak to this concern. This first is an article in The Mercury News – “Nextdoor: When a neighborhood app becomes unneighborly”. But this well-written summation of the issue of cars v. bikes quoted below speaks to the real issue. In this case, a cyclist was found at fault for causing severe fatal injuries to a woman in a crosswalk.
“The reason is clear: even one cycling-related death is one too many. But the fact remains that deaths caused by bicycles are incredibly rare compared to deaths caused by motor vehicles. The “lynch mob” media mentality, as (Tour de France multiple stage winner) Chris Boardman labelled it, suggests a deep-seated prejudice against cycling in the UK, which needs resolving – and with time, investment and understanding, hopefully that will happen.
Much of the reporting on this awful case, and of cycling generally, paints a polarised picture of cyclists vs pedestrians and drivers, forgetting that cyclists are people who also drive and walk. The three methods of transport are not mutually exclusive, and creating an us vs them scenario only makes the debate more toxic.
We should remember that roads are for everybody. Drivers must understand they are controlling a potentially lethal weapon; cyclists owe it to themselves to follow the Highway Code, ride safely and with adequate equipment, including working brakes and lights. We’re all people trying to get somewhere, and until more money and attention is invested at a political level in making roads safer for everyone, being respectful and considerate of one another is the best place to start.
– from “Cyclists Vs Anti-Cyclists: The War of the Roads Is Back On,” Sept. 21, 2017, www.vice.com, by Charles Graham-Dixon. Copyright/All rights reserved by owner.
“This is Not a War, It’s a City”
In the excellent 2015 documentary by Frederik Gertten, “Bikes versus Cars,” a
Brazilian cycling advocate who had lost several friends to car violence (I believe her name is Aline Cavalcante), uttered that line. This phrase still chokes me up, because most days I bike I do come close to being maimed or killed. Although I consider myself a safe and seasoned rider (I think I’ve earned that, after 10,000 miles in two years), there’s always room for error on both my side and that of drivers.
Just the other day my handlebars got clipped by a car; I could have easily been knocked over, drug under and run over by that or following cars. I wasn’t, but it was a very close call. So A Dude lives with a high degree of risk and that’s OK, but alot of it can and should be mitigated by car drivers. You know this, and most of you do fine. Those who don’t need to ride a bike for a week. It will change your perspective.
A Dude Abikes’ List for Being a Responsible Road User:
- Don’t do anything that might maim or kill anyone (especially no drink or drugs)
- Don’t text, put on make up, eat clothes, wear headphones or blast your music
- Always Be Checking for people on bikes, foot, wheelchairs or in cars to appear
- Drive defensively and just slow down when things are iffy like rain, traffic, etc.
- Don’t be a douche
This is a topic that merits alot more words, but that’s all the time we have for today. Be safe out there and be nice to one another.
Do you have any stories about close calls with cars while biking?
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