Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bikes vs. Cars: who's out of control?

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From the Arcata community bike meeting last night:

A typical semi-truck weighs 80,000 lbs and at 55 mph takes 300 feet to stop. (Put that in your water bottle Mr. Freeway cyclist, and stir carefully).

Bike riders obey some traffic laws between towns. Inside towns it's a free-for-all: cyclists ride everywhere in sight including oncoming lanes. At night they appear suddenly, often without lights and will swerve in and out of traffic--over curbs and off sidewalks-- at any time.

This semi driver's view of bicycling came from a professor at College of the Redwoods who teaches a course in professional truck driving. He is a life long bike rider. This guy LOVES bikes. Nevertheless, he said cyclists are a real problem for truckers.

We cyclists have our horror stories about abusive drivers. Alas, there's another side to that coin. If we expect to coexist harmoniously with cars we've got to do something about cyclists who ride like a two year old with temper tantrums.

Apparently, those "tantrums" don't go unnoticed. The Arcata Chief of police observed that he couldn't get through a conversation in his office without noticing half a dozen bikes blithely flying through the stop sign outside the police station.