Monday, May 12, 2014

Bike to Work Week is Upon Us

BTW Day, 2006

Given it is Bike to Work Week (or as Ian Brett Cooper calls it, "Motorist Bike To Work Week"), a few more folks might be riding to the Laboratory or elsewhere around town. A couple caveats:

Riders should maintain their situational awareness at all times, but especially when in areas in and around intersections and driveway access points. I would guess that the most hazardous stretch of road for people cycling to LANL is the Diamond Drive bike lane between the Orange/Sandia intersection and West Road, where there are ten intersections or curb cuts, inclusive of those two streets. Each of those is a potential conflict point and there have been a few crashes and a number of near misses there, most of which were caused by motorists overtaking and turning in front of a cyclist in the bike lane, the so called “right hook”. One such crash put a cyclist in the hospital. Watch traffic around you and plan a strategy if an actual conflict situation arises. That strategy can include safely moving out of the bike lane. If you are the motorist, keep an eye out for cyclists in the bike lanes to your right and yield to them before turning across a bike lane.

You won’t learn everything from a booklet or video, but John Allen’s Street Smarts is a good place to start, and is available online. Some good videos on the LAB site too.

Biking to work can be a refreshing, healthy alternative to the daily drive, but does require some skills and awareness when riding in traffic. Don't get lulled into complacency by paint stripes or promises of "safe facilities". Safety is largely determined by that grey stuff between the earlobes. On that note, I saw one rider ride diagonally across the Diamond/Jemez intersection this morning, hopping off the curve against the light and signalling motorists to let her through. Also this morning, my team leader was almost hit by a bicyclist when walking across the Omega Bridge on the sidepath.

Its supposed to be bike to work, not bike to your doom, knuckleheads!

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