html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Pacing is for suckers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pacing is for suckers.

Speaking of life with expensive gas, I have anecdotes! I am definitely seeing more bikes out. I don't know whether it is the warm weather or expensive gas, but bikes are chained to my parking poles and we suddenly have to figure out the right of way when bikes arrive at stop signs at the same time. I've never had either trivial problem before. What is much worse, however, is that my last four near-collisions have been with new bicyclists. Dudes. Off the sidewalk!

I know you're scared of cars, and you should be. They're too big and the hazard is all one way. They might kill you just by inattention, which is too dangerous a threshold for something that humans do. But if you're on the sidewalk, I think you aren't understanding where the risk is.

New cyclists, the car that kills you will most likely hit you from the side. In Midtown, that'll be coming out of an alley or blowing a red light. You are much less likely to be hit from behind as you ride in a lane. Even car drivers are likely to see a cyclist moving in their same lane ahead of them. So ride in the street. After getting T-boned, the next most dangerous part is getting doored. DO NOT RIDE WITHIN DOOR RANGE. If the lane isn't big enough for cars to pass you when you are out of the range of doors, take the lane.

Chris and I were hanging out one time when he looked up from his laptop, startled. "That can't be right," he said. I asked what, and he said that he'd done a b.o.t.e. calculation that showed that someone will open a car door on you every ten miles or so. I thought about it. I live about a mile from work, ride back and forth every day, and someone opens a car door on me on that route about... once a week. Yeah. Getting doored is a big risk. Ride on the street like a car, and ride wide.

Anyway brand new cyclists, I hope you're loving being on your bike. But you are scaring me as you pop out of sidewalks or go the wrong way in the bike lanes. Please, get used to riding and then do what you do when you drive. Take the lane and turn from the left turn lane. You should especially take the bike safety courses. My friends teach those and they're good. I so want to welcome all of you to riding Sacramento's streets, but we need you to ride predictably.


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