Monday, June 7, 2010

Thoughts from Today

The photo above is 5th street Extended here in Charlottesville.  This is heading back into town toward the Elliott/Cherry intersection.  You can see there is a decent bike lane.  However, at times there is debris and other hazards in it.  I've experimented a bit with my riding position on this road.  I'm not sure of the posted speed limit.  I'll try to take note of that at some point, but motorists drive fairly fast on this road.  When I am riding to the right of the bike lane white line, it seems that motorists are more inclined to remain fully in the right lane without getting over much to give me space.  I have felt the push of air as they pass me at times.  However, when I ride to the left of the bike lane white line, almost all motorists move into the left lane either fully or at least partially to pass me, giving me much more space.  The bike lane is definitely more sizeable, probably more than any other bike lane in Charlottesville.  However, you can see the curb, which could be hazardous, and sometimes there is debris forcing a cyclist into the lane.  

On my way out of town, a motorist passed me and honked while telling me to get off the road.  I was to the right, causing no hinderance whatsoever.  This person was experiencing some frustration simply from seeing me on a bike on the road.  I wonder if she just felt uneasy, not wanting to be responsible for any possible accident that could occur between my bike and her car.  Nonetheless, her ignorance of my rights to be there was apparent.  

On my way back into town, I saw a person on a bike in the bike lane.  That would be great, except she was riding toward me in the same bike lane!  She was going against traffic (very dangerous for a cyclist) not to mention that this particular spot has the bike lane up against parked cars.  You can be doored just the same going in either direction, and she was really hugging the side of the lane closest to the cars.  The other side of the street did not have a bike lane, so I assume she was afraid to be over there without it, thinking since she was in a bike lane (even though facing opposing traffic) that she was safer.  This is far from the truth.  A motorist most likely would not expect to see a cyclist coming toward them on their right side.  Remember, a bike should be driven like a car as much as is possible.  This increases your safety, and puts you in the best visible position for motorists.  

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