Saturday, May 19, 2007

Biker Chick

I had a fabulous bike-to-work-day last week. I even recruited another co-worker for the event. We also had a guy that ran to work since he didn't have a bike. Interestingly enough, it was the young folks in the office that were excited about the prospect; the middle-aged people wanted nothing to do with it. One of my dear co-workers said: I have a prius now, I don't need to worry about biking to work! Oh dear.

Most of my bike route is along the Santa Ana River which is nice because it’s a well-paved path, kind of an equivalent to the Burke Gilman Trail in Seattle. Unfortunately, the last mile in on a busy street that is seriously lacking in the sidewalk and/or bike path department. It’s a bit of a nightmare. At this point, that last mile is the only thing holding me back from biking on a regular basis. Part of that is because Chris and I saw a bizarre bike and car accident while in San Francisco. We were eating breakfast outside at a sidewalk cafĂ© when we heard a big crash. A man and his bicycle were sprawled in the middle of Market Street, perhaps one of SF’s busiest streets, during morning rush hour. Evidently, a woman getting out of her cab had opened the door directly in front of the cyclist. He went flying over the handlebars after colliding with the door. The door of the cab was completely broken. Thankfully, the cyclist wasn’t seriously hurt. Events like that always reside in the back of my brain though when I’m bicycling through heavy traffic.

I think it’s completely understandable for bicyclist’s to be wary of inattentive drivers because the bicyclist will always lose, no matter who is at fault. I had a coworker once that regularly kicked out people’s tail lights because he used to get so pissed off at people driving him off the road. Actually, (on a totally unrelated note), that co-worker had an article in the Seattle Times that can be found here.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:44 PM

    Good for you for biking! Did you ever look through this website? I've encountered many of the scenarios described in this guide, and it's pretty comprehensive about the things that people usually don't think about (like dooring, the situation you've described--it can kill cyclists).

    I find it quite frustrating to feel like there are places I cannot access because I am on a bike. Unfortunately, in places that are built for cars, this is often the case.

    -Rebecca

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  2. Rebecca,
    What a fantastic website. Thank you! I'll have to admit though, after clicking through to the link of people that were killed by opening car doors, I was less enthusiastic about riding!

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  3. Anonymous8:19 AM

    I agree that the section on people who have been killed by doorings is disconcerting. But it's relatively uncommon, and avoidable if you know to ride far enough away from parked cars. I was actually doored twice in high school (both times on my way to crew practice along Boyer), but the doors only hit my handlebars and messed up my steering a bit. The experience taught me to be more assertive as a biker and to confidently take up the space I need. Cars are *usually* surprisingly generous about leaving enough space for bikes because it's not like the cars are going to pass a biker on the right-hand side. They aren't always as good about leaving space when passing on the left, though...So if you give yourself a little bit of extra space, you should have enough maneuvering room to prevent serious accidents.

    That said, biking is always going to be a dangerous undertaking. We can do a lot to make it a safer experience, but it's a good reminder of how fragile life can be. And I know for certain that there are many, many places in Arizona where I will never ride my bike because it's way too dangerous.

    -Rebecca

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