Monday, September 08, 2008

Spokefest - a huge success! And a side of rant...

Congratulations to the organizers and volunteers of Spokefest. Yesterday was a great day. The ride was beautiful. I couldn't believe how many people turned out. The newspaper said there were over 1200. Bikes ran the gamut - from tricked out Stingrays to some beautiful racing machines. It was fun running into old friends and meeting some new ones. A lot of folks had questions about the Xtracycle.

Anytime we can get a lot of bikes on the road, it's good for us cyclists. Also, it's good for Spokane's drivers. They get used to having to share the road, and the sight of a bicycle not on a sidewalk doesn't freak them out.

Which leads me to my rant. I've been seeing more and more nice bikes riding on sidewalks. We've all become long accustomed to the indigent, transient population wobbling around on sidewalks, but lately there have been well-dressed, obviously well-off bicyclists on their fancy cruisers blasting down the sidewalks downtown.

It really gets your attention when they use the crosswalk at about 15 MPH. Hey NumbNuts, no driver (or cyclist) is expecting a speeding bicyclist in a crosswalk. They expect a slow moving pedestrian. As a driver/rider checks to his left, you are not there. When he finishes his left hand turn, your bike is on his front bumper or wheel. And, it's your fault.

Stay on the street. There are times in the winter, or maybe during some road construction where you may be forced to to briefly get up on a sidewalk. Don't ride any faster than you can walk. It's your responsibility to not hit a pedestrian and to make sure cars see you. Get back on the street ASAP. Your best bet (and the legal thing to do) is to walk your bike, if you are forced onto a sidewalk.

If you are too frightened to ride your bike on the streets downtown, don't ride downtown. Better yet, conquer your fear and ride on some of the less busier routes and work your way up. Remember to claim the lane as your own. Watch for people pulling out of parking spots or those in zombie-mode looking for parking. Stay clear of opening car doors that will clothesline you. Generally, drivers are very courteous and will give you a wide berth. But, don't let down your guard.

Seeing all the cyclists yesterday leads me to believe that we are really on the verge of a cycling revolution in our town. Thanks to all who are making it happen!

1 comment:

SiouxGeonz said...

Amen!! Rant on, rant on!