Monday, May 05, 2008

In search of missing links/First Bike Month post

Last month I started work on a little rehab project here at Bike Year. As some of you may have noticed, I failed to measure twice and cut once. The result being I lopped off the links section. So, if you keep a bicycle-related blog and include Bike Year as a link from your site, please let me know in in the comments section so I can reciprocate.

In other news, I thought I'd celebrate Bike Month by returning to this site's roots. Throughout May I'm going to post boring accounts of my commutes and other utility cycling non-adventures. Not since the thrilling post about the guy pulling the lawnmower in the bike lane has this URL seen so much excitement. I'm sure everyone is hanging on the edges of their seats awaiting the first astonishing episode, so without further delay, away we ride:

I'm noticed that dispensing stations are charging higher prices for car juice these days. Some folks are saying the prices are too high, despite the fact that my fellow Americans and I don't even pay full price for the gasoline we use. In fact, two of my fellow citizens are floating a crazy scheme that will actually accelerate demand and increase prices!

Still, I didn't see much evidence that higher prices are influencing local driving habits this morning (nor did I notice any change two and a half years ago, when gas prices spiked to then record levels). Motorists still seem willing to burn extra fuel to escape the humiliation of driving behind a cyclist. This is the case even when the race to overtake a bicycle clearly ends just yards ahead at a stop sign or traffic signal. And vehicles of all types are left idling, sometimes in bicycle lanes.

As I approached the corner of Lincoln and Henry streets this morning, I received a warning horn blast from a woman piloting an westbound Jaguar. My speed on approach to the intersection was perhaps 5 miles per hour. Hers was — by my estimation — at least 45. Presumably she sounded her horn, to dissuade me from pedaling into her path. In doing so, she demonstrated a mindset I often detect in rants from motorists who claim cyclists' well-being as the basis for their exhortations:

"Don't these crazy 'bikers' realize they are not cars?"

"If they want to ride in the middle of the street, I can't be held responsible for running over them!"

"Why don't they ride on the sidewalk where it's safe? They must have a death wish!"

Truly, I don't think anyone wants to hit a cyclist. But there's a sort of cognitive dissonance at work here when motorists claim to have cyclists' best interest in mind, while operating (and storing) their vehicles in ways which endanger others. If the Jaguar driver above was seriously concerned about others' safety, would she be exceeding the speed limit in a dense urban neighborhood populated by pedestrians and cyclists, including children?

2 comments:

Jason said...

We link to you at RocBike.com and link to your posts in our Links of the Day.

Grazi!

Jason from Team RocBike

Fielding Crestwood said...

I am getting one step closer to meeting all of my Savannah requirements.

I was hit by a car today while I was riding my bicycle.

Long story short, he pulled into my lane from a parking spot and I rammed into his hood. I managed to have just a few scrapes, and I didn't want to deal with it so I told the driver just to leave.


Five minutes later I realized that my front wheel was damaged.


Lesson learned: When you get hit by car (which will inevitably happen in this city), get their number even if you are fine.