A bicycle rant with a slant
Yesterday I went for a bicycle ride. I started at my house in Kalama and wended my way to Willow Grove, looped the Island and headed back home. When I had passed Tennant Way and was south bound to Kalama, I got my third flat. My first flat was on Tennant Way on the way out; my second flat was on industrial way. That third flat did me in; I got it on the freeway so near home that I called Jonnie, my wife, to come and get me.
Funny, how in San Diego I could ride and avoid the glass, but here the gravel is hard to avoid.
I like the freedom I feel riding a bicycle. The smells, the wind, the cool air in the hollows, just being away from the computer or phone … these and others are all things I like.
But, I want to tell about the things I don’t like … not the ones that are like a preference of ice cream flavor, but the things that other people do, for weak reasons at best, that make bike riding more dangerous and consequently less enjoyable.
Here are some in order of my greatest dislike first:
In the past I would ride on Tennant Way knowing that I had a wide shoulder even when I rode into the lower speed limit area. But then these ridiculous bump outs were built and that “safety” lane was taken away. Maybe I am being too selfish? So, I ask what do those bump outs do for the public, who has no choice but to pay for them? Instead here is what it does to them:
The public will get to see the pretty planters let go or be forced to pay more taxes for maintenance.
When they could make a right hand turn before, now, if the car ahead is going straight, they can’t.
Say you are a delivery truck going to make the right turn onto Commerce from Tennant: Before you could manage it; now you must swing wide into the oncoming traffic and still risk your wheel falling into the bump out hole.
The drivers get to pay for more wheel alignments.
Some motorized vehicle drivers won’t give the bicycle rider much room. On the ride this weekend, three cars came unnecessarily close to me on Industrial Way. One car blew past the recently turned red light and came way too close to me as I stopped and he pressed on the accelerator to run the light. This behavior is completely unreasonable and indecent. My life for his 10 seconds of hurry!
Many people think bicycles are toys and have no rights in traffic. That simply is bad education.
Bicycles have a legal right to the road.
Bicycles are not for sidewalks and are not exempt from stopping at stop signs or red lights.
Bicycles are not for riding on the wrong side of the road.
Bicycles are economical and wholesome transportation options.
Governments use our tax money to tell us how to live. We are told, "You must exercise!!!" What more convenient exercise is there than bicycling to work? Yet, when it comes to thinking about roadways and road furniture, if they do anything, it is to the detriment of the bicyclist. Just think about the bump outs or the complete lack of bike lanes in this area.
I was at a commissioners’ hearing about a year ago and an item on the agenda was the declaration of bicycle week (or was it month). The declaration was passed unanimously … what good did that do?
At that same session, I gave citizen input on the topic. The then Chairman of the Board stated that people had the dikes on which to ride. That was an amazing display of ignorance and arrogance.