I don’t know what it is about the stretch of Aloha Street eastbound from 19th to 23rd Avenues. There’s a four-way stop at 19th. A light and “T” intersection at 23rd. Two schools (St. Joe’s; Holy Names). A single narrow lane in each direction. For whatever reason, this stretch seems to be the epicenter – indeed, the Hellmouth – of anti-bike behavior on my commute. Downtown? Pike Street? 12th Avenue? I hardly ever have issues. But this scant stretch of Aloha, which I only travel on for 2-3 blocks . . . I’ve been tailgated, honked at, flipped off, passed on the right and passed on the left.
I take the lane, but it’s THREE BLOCKS. And they’re short blocks. And I ride through there at close to 20 mph. I have no idea why so many of the drivers on this stretch are such asshats.
Sure, it looks peaceful . . .
I could avoid this stretch of Aloha, but the alternate route has less visibility. Plus, this is my neighborhood, for christsakes.
Seattle Bike Blog reports that Gov. Gregoire has signed into law the Vulnerable User Bill. It basically ensures that drivers negligently killing/injuring cyclists will get a slightly larger slap on the wrist than the ticket they can expect today. They might pay a fine of up to $5K and lose the right to drive for 3 months.
Apparently, the goal of the law is to “focus on accountability” rather than being “overly punitive.” That’s probably what it took to get it passed, and it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Still, my experience is that it’s easier it is to get people to be accountable for not breaking a law in the first place if the consequences are sufficiently punitive.
Interesting interview of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in The Huffington Post. While I’m a bit dubious about his “that’s the reason we have these bike lanes” comment, here’s hoping this sentiment picks up more traction with politicos far and wide:
“Bikers have as much right to the streets as anybody driving a car and I am concerned about [their safety].”
Amen, brother LaHood.
My experiment with riding fixed gear has made me more attuned to other fixed gear riders. I don’t usually see too many, but yesterday I had 3 separate sightings as I chugged up Pine Street out of downtown. None of them had brakes. None of them were wearing helmets. Two had earbuds in.
Oh, and it was raining.
Look, I am certainly growing to appreciate the skill and technique it takes to stop a fixed gear bike without brakes. It’s chaotic, but elegant if done correctly (and I’m a looong way from getting there). But it’s also pure affectation. And on a hill where it’s easy to go 25 MPH while descending, a potentially lethal one.
Is there a plausible defense of brakeless fixie riding other than “fashion statement!”
I wrapped up 30 Days of Biking by getting my 12 y/o daughter out for her first ride of the year. With Seattle finally getting a little sun this weekend, we were able to take a leisurely ride through the neighborhood. It’s going to be a while before she’s comfortable riding amongst the cars, though.
All told, through 30 Days of Biking I rode 134.5 miles, under skies that were typically overcast. Although I liked the idea of daily riding, the reality of trying to pursue such a rigid consistency led to some odd results, such as a near-midnight spin around the block after returning from a business trip and pushing through more than one flurry of Oregon Coast hail.
However, it also got me to run a few errands by bike that I might not of without the need to get my “daily ride” in, so that’s to the good. I even kicked May off with a grocery-getting ride.