New Perspective
0 comment Wednesday, June 4, 2014 |
I don't drive my car very often, but when I do I pay close attention to the bikes around me. I pay attention not only because I don't want to hit them, but because it gives me a completely different vantage and an opportunity to better understand how cars and bikes interact. Today I watched two bicycle/car interactions and they have given me some insight into this tenuous relationship.
The first interaction happen on University, between Speer and Alameda. There I watched a mountain biker zipping down the sidewalk and plow directly into the side of a truck trying to turn right from a side street onto University. The truck immediately stopped to see if the bike rider was okay. The bike rider was fine, but looked furious. I don't know what happened after this point, but judging from the bike riders' flailing arms, puffed chest and yelling, I'd be willing to bet that it wasn't good. I found the biker's righteous indignation to be a little odd considering the fact that he rode into the side of a stationary vehicle.
The next interaction was on Alameda heading toward Lincoln. In the right lane of Alameda was a guy riding a hybrid VERY slowly and VERY close to the line between the two lanes of traffic. He seemed oblivious to the cars around him and the drivers looked angry - In the 30 seconds I was behind this bike I witnessed three cars almost hit him in an attempt to get around him.
What lessons did I learn from watching these interactions? The first is something I've always known: never ride on the sidewalk! Sometimes it is the quickest and easiest way to get somewhere, but there are just so many blind corners and unknowns that make it dangerous. The second lesson is something that has taken me a while to realize; I need to stop riding on super busy streets expecting cars to be okay with it. I realize this statement will not make me popular amongst my cycling brethren, but it is a sad reality. Yes, I have a right to ride on a busy street and it is wrong for a car to put my life in danger, but this is just a fight I don't feel like fighting anymore. Whenever possible I will be riding a safer route, even if it means adding a few minutes to my commute.