Friday, August 29, 2008

Talk of the Nation (NPR): Cars vs. Bikes

In case you missed the 30 minute NPR discussion of increased cycling and the issues this has caused to surface, including the Rob Anderson lawsuit in San Francisco that he brought against its bike plan, here is the link.

Interesting discussion.


Amy said...

Ok, I'm sorry, but I have to comment. I complained to Neale several months back that I'm getting really, really tired of seeing casualty notices in the League magazine, and in the NM Bike Coalition newsletter. That's one injury and one fatality I've seen in this blog now, and what gives? It sounds to me like these guys just had some bad luck, maybe they were being stupid at the time. It's hard to say because I haven't heard the story from their lips.

The thing I keep saying to Neale is that posting deaths and injuries is fear-mongering. It will keep people who want to start biking more from doing it because they will be afraid once they read the stories. I'm sorry that these cyclists were hurt or killed, but if you want to get more people out on their bikes, there are more constructive ways to do it than posting a death notice every time a cyclist gets killed. We do need to be aware of the dangers that come with biking, but as long as you're predicable in traffic, the odds are with you that you'll be fine.

Sorry Khal, but maybe notices about which cities are getting Bike Friendly Community statuses, or what we can do to get a Platinum award (wouldn't that be awesome) would be more constructive. thanks for reading.

Khal said...

Actually, Amy, I doubt this fatality is on of those that keep people off their bikes, nor do I consider it fear mongering. Perhaps if the rider had been shot by a pickup truck driver in a case of road rage, it might be a deterrent to other riders.

The cyclist lost control of his bicycle on a fast curvy descent in the mountains, riding downhill near Battleship Rock towards Jemez Falls. From what I have heard from several BikeABQ Board members, it was a simple freak accident, possibly caused by the rider overcooking a curve. Michael Barry had ridden the course several times as an MS-150 rider, so he was familiar with it. I am curious as to what went wrong from a teaching perspective.

Many LCI's don't have to worry right away about teaching students to handle fast descending. I think Los Alamos LCIs might want to add a short section on descending to our curriculum, since just about every road here goes either up or down. Better than novice level brakes, attention to tire pressure and tire quality, somewhat decent bike handling skills, and attention to detail are required for anyone going beyond a simple jaunt through town. We had one student, by the way, who showed up for our Canyon School class with a non-functional back brake. That is not a great idea in a mountain town.

I have several slides about topography and one on Charity rides in the seminar I gave at LANL a couple weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

I tend to read a lot of bike related blogs. I guess I could have worse habits. A recurring theme through all of them seems to be turning cycling into an issue of sort or another. One blog harps on the politics of biking, another on us versus them, and still others on the proper way to ride and so on and so on.

I read all of these blogs just because I love to ride my bike. I don't do it for the environment. I don't do it for my health. I don't do it to save money or gas. I do it just because.

I don't always stop a red lights or ride with lights at night. When I see someone else on a bike I'll acknowledge them. It's not always returned (especially by the day glo crowd, but maybe they're a little embarrassed by their attire), but I still wave.

I guess I just don't see the need to put so much effort into "cycling". People who don't do it, only shortchange themselves, not me. If a city is not bike friendly, I just go into urban assault cycle mode. If my bike has a mechanical fault, I'll ride accordingly until I fix it. If someone tells me I should do this or that or wear this or that, I just say thanks.

The bottom line is, bikes and how we ride them are as personal as what color underwear we wear and should be as equally free from public scrutiny and input.

Khal said...

Agree except for last paragraph: "...bikes and how we ride them are as personal as what color underwear we wear and should be as equally free from public scrutiny and input."

Well, when one is riding on a public road or sidewalk, one has an obligation to not hurt anyone else. Insofar as one abides by that, one should be free from public scrutiny. If one is riding in a way that is a hazard to others, esp. on a public right of way, it is the public's business. Just as if you were in a car or on a motorcycle.

Otherwise, agree. Have a great day.