Saturday, April 14, 2012

Uneasy co-existence

I am not an urban cyclist. I wish I were, but replacing the car with the bike just doesn't work for me. In part this is because my primary use for a car is as a locker room: I drive to the city's green places; dump jacket and keys in the bowels of the car; and run long miles on foot, secure in knowing I'll have clothes to come back to.

But also, I'm simply scared of riding in traffic. My brave commuter partner has had two injurious bike accidents while riding to work. Cars too often treat riders as so much lint to be brushed off -- and every once in a while, a rider runs down a walker. It's a jungle out there.

I've seen Amsterdam. Cycling works as transportation there because the bikes and the cars have separate lanes. We're just beginning to get some of those here.
re-striped GGP.jpg
Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park is currently being re-striped so as put a bike lane along the curb, separated from traffic by striping. Parked cars sit well away from the street's margin. In the photo, the car on the right is legally parked in the new parking strip. It looks lonely in the early dawn, but when the strip fills up, the parked vehicles form a barrier protecting cycles.

gas pump.JPG
Some of the more difficult conflicts between bikes and cars happen when drivers are pulling in or out of locations adjacent to roadways. Drivers need to learn they may be crossing a striped lane reserved for bicycles. Here's a sign on a gas pump near the park explaining the right and wrong way for drivers to enter the gas station safely.

Additional bike use is going to require a mix of smart design and more considerate riders and drivers. As more people ride in cities, we're developing more of both.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

In Portland I see a lot of cyclists and also out where I live 20 miles by blacktop for any town. They are at risk on our roads as there is rarely any kind of space for them to get off if a car comes on them and they can't see ahead enough to go around into the other lane. They do a lot of events on these roads also which for people like me who live here, means we try to plan our town trips for a different day. I wish we had more good bike lanes but given the roads aren't all that good or wide, it's unlikely to come soon for economic reasons more than anything else.

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