« Sausalito working to handle "Bike Problem" | Main | Swedish Embassy displayed an Awesome Bike »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Folks -- realize that they can run you right over when you are riding perfectly legally -- and they will suffer no consequences. Please ride very defensively -- and note that for bicyclists that has very little to do with riding legally.

Old Guy: Do you mean to say that defensive cycling means *much more* than riding legally, or that riding legally actually *endangers* cyclists? Just curious. (I would certainly agree with the first statement. I have yet to hear a compelling argument that following the law endangers cyclists, but I'm open-minded.)

This is horrible.

I can walk around at night knowing that although I might get shot in the head, if I do, the police will do what they can to find the person responsible and take them off the streets.

But if I'm on a bike, and the bullet is instead a car, that's not the case. Someone can kill me with complete impunity.

What's more, it'll probably be blamed on me. "He wasn't wearing a helmet." Never mind that a helmet wouldn't have helped. "His lights weren't on." Never mind that it was 5:30 on a sunny day in June. Imagine a shooting victim being blamed for not wearing a bulletproof vest.

Over and over again, stories like this, the message is clear:

When you get on a bike in this country, you surrender your right to live.

Riding defensively means running stop signs and red lights when there is no oncoming traffic, because that increases the amount of time spent riding without there being cars.

That as we know is illegal.

Car drivers get upset when we run stop signs and lights because they resent the "time we save."

But while there is that, for me it is more about maximizing the amount of time I can ride without abutting vehicle traffic.

I think what it comes down to in the United States is licensing and registration of bicycles and their riders. The only real law is the law of commerce and contract. Without that, cyclists will always find themselves in this position. No contract, no revenue stream - No rights.

I disagree. Read Pucher. Copenhagen's pro-bicycling environment was created in the last 40 years.

There are many trends which support greater urban-ness, including bicycling, at least in some places.

The key point is reaching the point of critical mass (what Gladwell calls the tipping point).

I don't know what that point is. It's probably around 20%.

Most places, because of the deconcentration of land use and density, won't be able to reach that mark. Center cities will be able to.

The point is to look at these kinds of issues and policies and infrastructure differentially.

I wholeheartedly agree with Richard Layman. I look forward to the implementation of additional Smartbike Kiosks around the city because I believe that the only way to avoid senseless tragedies (and the lack of prosecution) like the one that befell Alice is to have a significantly more cyclists on the road.

I know I am preaching to the choir here, but get out as much as you can; be visible on the street, make your presence known. We should all do that for Alice and for the cycling community as a whole.

Richard Layman,

Interesting argument, but I don't know if I follow. How does stopping *increase* your exposure to traffic?

"How does stopping *increase* your exposure to traffic?"

If she were still here, you could ask Alice Swanson. If you get ahead of traffic you have much more of a chance that they have seen you and leave you enough room. And in the city you can probably beat the cars to the next light. At least the way I ride most of the time, maybe not on a Smart Bike...

But treating stop signs and red lights as yield signs has its own perils of course, one of them being that is is not legal anywhere but in Iowa (or was that Idaho?).

I think it is a tragedy that there is absolutely no sanction against the driver. Seems like another example of the car-centric MPD just not being interested enough to undertake a valid examination of facts.

Another reason to have more members of the police force get out of their cruisers and onto bicycles, Segways or on foot patrols.

Hmmm, I'm trying not to talk about it, but let me just say that whatever you think happened in this crash - especially if you got it from this blog - is probably wrong.

Thanks. That makes a certain amount of sense, I guess. By the way, I didn't mean to imply that cyclists are somehow immune to being hit when stopped at signals.

The point is about maximizing the amount of time on the road that you are not in the midst of moving cars.

This means moving through stop signs (actually nothing prevents you from stopping and then continuing, other than the momentum loss) and stop lights--only when there isn't oncoming traffic--to be able to "create" more separated time on the road, but away from cars and trucks.

Considering how today I was boxed between a DC recreation bus tearing on North Capitol and a Chevy Suburban and the Suburban sideswiped me, I believe wholeheartedly in maximizing the time I spend in a road lane when abutting vehicles are not present.

actually nothing prevents you from stopping and then continuing, other than the momentum loss

So really the "legal" implications arise primarily with stop lights? (If I read you correctly, you are recommending that cyclists continue through red lights, with or without stopping, when there is no on-coming traffic.)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009


 Subscribe in a reader