Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Following the rules

It gives all bicyclists a bad rap when there are people on bikes that refuse to obey the rules of the road. This is a very contentious subject as one might imagine. I was just reading on Fort Wayne Observed about the Cyclist in South Bend (Patrick Sawyer) that was struck and later died of his injuries. I lived in South Bend for a while and I know that road that he was struck on (Cleveland). The 4 lanes are narrow. I wouldn't ride my bike on it. Where he lived though, he had no choice to ride in it to get where he was going. He was doing it right. He is a vehicle and he was riding on the street. Now I don't know how well lit his bike was (It was at 5:40 AM when he was struck), he was wearing a helmet though and still died from massive head injuries (I won't pass that information on to my wife), there are no Bike lanes on Cleveland, and cars really move on that road.
I believe that it is stories like these that cause cyclists to move onto the sidewalk and who can blame them? I know of one person who was killed this year riding his bike on Rudisill. I don't think that there have been any other bicycle fatalities but I might be wrong. So bikers, since they do not feel comfortable on the road, move to the sidewalk for fear of getting struck. That fear is well founded. I have been hit before on my bike. The one on the bike always loses.
My advice to bike commuters is this. Ride on streets that are a bit less traveled if at all possible. Where light colored or reflective clothing. Have a headlight and tail light that are operational and bright. But follow the rules of whatever road you choose to ride on. If you are not comfortable look to find an alternate route. Stay safe out there.


Tim Ellsworth said...

There are east and west streets parallel to Rudisill, as this part of Fort Wayne is laid out in a rectangular grid pattern. I have used Mckinnie Avenue for such a purpose.

fwbikecommuter said...

Thanks for the comment Tim!
I do like the old ways of City Planning for this reason myself.
It is nice to have options unlike those in the suburbs who will have to wait for "trails" to be built.