(* on purpose) I posted this on Next Door tonight in response to yet another barrage of attacks on bike lanes on a street called Loyola Lane in Austin, Texas. I couldn’t resist sharing it verbatim with my blog readers. My previous two posts are here and here. I hope you like them all. If you’re in Austin, Texas and wanna join the gang (we’re nonviolent), let me know. Contact me via the About page.
I was on a night ride with five (5!) bicyclists total on Berkman and Loyola. Not including half a dozen other people we saw biking. This won’t be the last gathering or ride, so DM me if you want to join us next time. By the way, I am only speaking for myself here. It is not directed toward the vast majority of neighbors who drive safely.
But I think the Loyola bike lanes are fantastic! They made me feel much safer sharing the road with cars. Although a bit narrow on east side and a bit wide on the west, I think the engineers and planners had to do to that to preserve plenty of parking. Either everyone was out partying at 9:30 pm on a Wednesday night, or the fears of The Parkapocalypse are greatly exaggerated. (HINT: It’s the second one.) I’m not sure why. Change be like, hard, maybe?
One car was parked partially in the bike lane. Another stopped illegally in the lane, causing us to ride in the car lane (which is still completely legal for bikes, regardless). A third was illegally parked in the lane, facing the wrong way, right at a stop sign.
On Berkman, the lanes were less fill of debris than in the past, but still some was there, causing us to swerve, a few times into the car lane. A few poles and buttons do need fixing. One car was so afraid to pass they waited til they could change to the opposite lane completely. Another didn’t have their lights on when passing us. Most cars had no problem navigating the terribly difficult Circuit of the Berkmans. (That’s sarcasm, it’s not difficult.)
Our bikes were each well-lit up at night, we had helmets, rode legally, and no one died. Much more importantly than our lives or safety, no cars were harmed or inconvenienced – even for a second. (That’s more sarcasm.) Quite the contrary. It was a beautiful evening meeting some diverse and very lovely neighbors in real life. Imagine that!
There was the mother who transports her children to school and around by bike or walking with a stroller; a husband and wife; weekend warriors; commuters; those who ride for recreation and for exercise or just for plain transportation because they don’t have a car. We were from numerous walks of life: A teacher, a programmer, a nurse, a social media maven, and more. Not all white guys in Spandex, either. Far from it. And even they deserve to ride without fearing for their lives from bad drivers.
There were 10 people total, but half didn’t ride, and others couldn’t make it. A few don’t bike much or at all but are allies. None of us fit into one neat category either. Most have cars and walk, too We didn’t agree on every single thing, either. Democracy is messy but beautiful! There are many more of us out there, lurking, wondering if it’s safe to get on their bike, with very real fears of car drivers. Some drivers do not respect our lives, are drunk, texting or otherwise not paying attention, and some don’t even have insurance or a license. You know who you are and either don’t care or should stop it.
The point is, we are people: pedestrians – those who use canes and walkers – bicyclists – scooter users – skateboarders – wheelchair users – parents – siblings – daughters – sons – and your neighbors. We will not be silenced or go away because of a few hateful or mean comments, or by a few of you giving a little convenience, getting there a few seconds earlier, or aesthetics more importance than our safety and lives. Haters gonna hate. Shake it off.
So, may we please end this endless thread now? Or start a new one that’s kinder and gentler? How about those people still with confusion or concerns (most of which is better directed to the City) put down your phones and computers? How about you come meet some of your neighbors to listen and learn about what it’s like to bike a mile in our shoes? We’re not perfect, but let s/he who is without sin cast the first stone…
The moral of this story is very simple: Just be nice, civil, and responsible. Whether you’re in a car or bike or whatever, share the road safely ***As Required By Texas Law***, people. (No one is above it. Even me and YOU.) Thanks for reading if you did.
Thank you for visiting me on WordPress or at https://ADudeAbikes.com. Feel free to add your Likes and Comments and to Follow the blog through WordPress if you have it, or by email. Contact me on the About page with any questions. Please feel free to Re-blog and Share as long as you give credit and the permalink to this post.
© 2019 A Dude Abikes. All rights reserved.