Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

I Hate Sharing the Road

7 Comments

I know it’s not politically correct to say so, but I hate sharing the road with bikes – and with big city buses, too, for that matter.

Oh, I completely understand the “green-ness” of taking public transportation or leaving the car at home and getting exercise on a bike while getting to a destination.  I took my share of public transpo when I lived in Boston and considered it normal.

But here in our smallish old college town, there are no bike lanes on the road and the car lanes (which is all we have) are not as wide as the city buses that tootle around on them.  Get a bus passing a bike and the rest of us risk getting pushed into the incoming traffic, which isn’t high on my list of things to do on the way to work.

Get closer to campus and we add in college student pedestrians to the mix.  Good lord, they think they are invincible and they have a tendency to saunter up to the intersection (or just pop out between cars in the middle of the street) and look at the cars coming at them in mystified wonder.    Add in further that we have more campus constructions and road projects going on simultaneously than I’ve ever seen, with traffic detours and construction zones jutting out into already confused traffic, and you have a mess.

Just wait until winter and piles of snow and sheets of ice and it will be even more fun!

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7 thoughts on “I Hate Sharing the Road

  1. I should bring my kids there to learn how to drive. When teaching the oldest (I AM drivers education), I was constantly saying – what would you do if a toddler popped out from between those two cars. You have to be ready for a toddler to pop out between those two cars. And the oldest was always saying – where are all these toddlers (coming from)? And why are they out wandering the streets alone?

  2. I hate sharing the road with cars too. 😛

  3. p.s. I really do hate my bike route to work, because there are no shoulders and the space is small. There isn’t that much traffic, but some drivers think that having to slow down temporarily or move over for me is a terrible hardship. But there aren’t bike lanes for me to use, so I’m stuck with no better option and have to hope that no one hits me.

  4. I’m with you on this one, Anne! I personally feel that if bikes are going to use the road they should first of all pay the same taxes we do to register our cars. Both the bike and the rider should be licensed in order to use the road.

    I had a personal trainer who was big into biking and when I used to talk to him about this he said that there are actually laws here (GA) that govern what bikes are allowed to do on the road. FIrst, they are only allowed to ride in the 18″ closest to the curb – yeah, right, that’s what I seem them doing (NOT!). They are also supposed to signal what they’re doing and … here’s a good one … they’re supposed to obey the traffic lights – which they absolutely DON’T do.

    Nothing more frustrating that working your way around a bike and then having them pass you by running a red light you had to stop for – then you have to work your past them all over again.

    On the whole college town thing, I grew up in a college town and I know exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to crossing the streets. Sadly, it’s how I learned to go about it myself, and I have a tendency to be an aggressive pedestrian even all these years since moving away from that environment.

    Hang in there and keep an eye out for all those folks who make it a challenge to get from point a to point b!

  5. I understand your POV and believe me, my town is very bike-happy with LOTS of bike lanes. What I don’t understand is how our local bikers want to be treated with respect (and I don’t blame them: bikes vs. cars, we know who will win) but they don’t obey traffic laws. It’s really honestly very rare to see a bicyclist stop at a red light and stay with the traffic. It’s so rare that I’ve rolled down my window & thanked the bicyclist.

    People in the country usually get upset over teams of bicyclists on small country roads spread out.

    Jen, I hope your town might consider bike lanes. It does make traffic a bit easier for me at least.

    As for student pedestrians….we haven’t had anyone hit (yet) but last year we had several kids hit by cars. Three factors: time of day (dusk/night), alcohol involvement (by the kid) or the kid jumping out wearing iPods or talking on cell phones. And yes, they jaywalk all the time and jump out everywhere and ignore “don’t walk” signs. I’m not sure if it’s invincibility or arrogance but it’s scary.

  6. When I saw this article about the “shared space” concept I thought of this post: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0912/p07s03-woeu.html — it seems really radical (and scary) to me, but apparently it has decreased accidents in the towns that have tried it. My theory on why is that people in a hurry would just avoid areas where the shared space plan is in effect (I know I would!) so the resulting traffic is less hectic.

  7. Believe me, it’s just as stressful for cyclists.

    I agree though about red lights. I get annoyed when I’m waiting -on my bike- by a red waiting for pedestrians and a bike goes sauntering past. I frequently shout “Red light!” Which can make them think a bit more. The argument of cyclists is that bikes are slower and less dangerous, but so what? It doesn’t gain understanding and respect, and it could cause injury.

    Cycling away from the kerb (which is permitted in Germany where a bike is legally a car) does make cycling safer because it stops people in cars passing dangerously closely, or gives us escape space when they do.

    As to paying tax, etc. I can see the point, but as in many places roads are paid for out of local taxes, then we do pay. As to a specific bike tax: a bike makes a lot less damage than a car, and takes up less space, so a proportional tax based on road wear would be so small it would cost more to administrate. You could argue that we should then pay enough for it to be viable, but as cyclists are keeping themselves healthy (reducing healthcare costs) and not polluting (Further reducing healthcare costs) then it’s difficult to see why we should pay proportionally more than a driver of a car.

    Besides, haven’t the police enough to do without checking tax stickers on bikes?

    Just a few thoughts from ‘the other side’…

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