Friday, August 29, 2008

How's biking around Rochester, NY?

Did those high gas prices this summer get you out into the streets with your bike? If so, how did that go? Did you find the rage in the NPR story below?

My personal observation is that there is a lot of room for improvement, though I did not observe much road rage. As bicyclist in Rochester, there seemed to me to be a heighten awareness by cars and motorcyclists alike that I was there—and cars would give me space if they could. Overall, good drivers greatly respect good bicyclist, sharing the road with their gasless friends and weary of those racing down the sidewalks, or speeding down the wrong side of the road. Good bicyclists moved seamlessly through our streets hand-signaling keeping their eyes pealed for danger spots.

The trouble I see for potential problems is with bad drivers and bad bicyclists—though the car drivers always win (except in the courts.) Bad drivers talk on cell phones oblivious of bicyclists and pedestrians, don’t even slow down on “right on red”, and cop a ‘tude about bicyclists, who have as much right to be on the road as they do. And, bad bicyclists race down sidewalks oblivious to the fact the pedestrians cannot hear them approach from behind them.

Bad bicyclists don’t stop for street lights, observe any signs or rules of the road (not less care) and think it is the car driver’s job to find them amongst the myriad of things going on on a busy street. Though, bicyclists may be right, they may also be dead—as vehicles win in any collision.

My suggestion is that everyone learn about bikes and cars and rules of the road and sharing and become good drivers aware that bikes have as much right to be on the streets as they do and for bikers to realize that car drivers need to see them, meaning bicyclists should know the rules of the road too.

Here's the story by NPR: Cyclists And Drivers Vie For Space On The Road "Talk of the Nation, August 26, 2008 · High gas prices and heightened environmental awareness have led more bicyclists to take to already-congested streets. Road rage has escalated quickly — drivers complain that cyclists ignore traffic laws and cyclists contend that drivers deliberately try to run them down."

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