Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bicyclist/motorist interactions

For bicyclists and drivers, navigating traffic is a two-way street is the title of an article in today's Post about the increase in bicycle traffic and the accompanying increase in conflicts between bicyclists and motorists. Michelle Harburg sums it up about right:
"About 60 percent of the drivers are positive," Harburg said as she locked her bike a few minutes later. "And 40 percent are negative, and when I say negative, mostly I mean just not aware. About 10 percent of them just don't like bikers. They shout at you, 'Get off the Road!' or beep just to try to scare you to death."
Friday is Bike to Work Day and we all need to be aware of our surroundings. Cyclists need to obey traffic rules and motorists need to give cyclists the respect they deserve. [BTW, WABA has been having problems with their Bike to Work Day registration page. It appears to be working now so if you had problems registering earlier, try again.]

We don't agree with Fairfax Co Police detective Neville:
"The people who do it for sport generally handle their bikes pretty well," said Detective Scott Neville, who investigates fatal accidents in Fairfax County. "It's the people who are biking to and from work, without so much awareness or understanding of the law, who get into trouble."
Competitive cyclists may know how to handle their bikes better but in my experience they are some of the most blatant offenders when it comes to obeying traffic rules (behind bike messengers). Bike commuters are out there every day and most know the consequences of bad behavior. They usually travel alone, not in race packs where there's strength in numbers and more incentive to blow through lights and stop signs.

As more people decide to go by bike, motorists will learn that they need to share the road. I think attitudes are changing slowly. I see more cyclists on the roads every day and motorist behavior seems to be getting ever so slightly better.

For a change the weather forecast looks great for Bike to Work Day tomorrow; warm and mostly sunny, with a predicted high of 88°. Hope everyone has a great day.


Read this article this morning and was frustrated by the detective's comments. Such unsubstantiated generalizations do no one any good. So my only (tongue in cheek) response would be that its clear that police detectives are generally less well informed about cycling issues than the general public.

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