Safer cycling

I’ve mentioned before that I work at a university.  One of the things I’ve noticed as I hit town during my daily commute is an increasing number of cyclists on the road, biking to and from campus.  I think we’re all noticing more cyclists lately, because of high gas prices, but the ones I’ve been seeing are worth a comment.

More and more cyclists seem to be practicing what is called “vehicular cycling,” where bikes take their place among other traffic on the road, and cyclists follow the same rules cars must follow.  This morning, one fellow waited in a left turn lane about four cars back from the stoplight.  When the light changed, he pedaled hard to stay with the flow of cars around the corner, then reached the bike lane on the road he was turning on to, and settled in.  The cars behind him were not delayed by following a bike.

A four-lane road leads from the interstate highway toward campus.  This morning, a cyclist rode “as far to the right as practicable” and moved at a pretty good clip.  Cars passed him closely, because there’s no room for a bike lane on this road, but there is enough room for two cars and a bike — if everybody pays attention.

I’m also seeing more riders stop at stop signs and signal their turns.

Of course, there are always some jerks, but that’s not what this post is about.

As a larger number of cyclists ride according to the rules of the road, that boosts the chances that motorists will be more likely to accept their presence, and perhaps ease the antagonism between cyclists and drivers.

And before you ask — no, I’m not one of the bike commuters.  Unfortunately, I live 30 miles from work, and riding there is not a realistic choice — for me.

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5 thoughts on “Safer cycling

  1. Good post. Observing cycling styles is becoming a bit of hobby of mine.

    I’m always brought up a little short by ‘hardcore’ cyclists who weave up to the front of a traffic queue, dangerously close to vehicles, to ensure starting first at traffic lights.

    Sometimes I’ve been heckled for not pushing ahead through slim gaps.

    I’ll give it a go if safe, but often I tend to sit where I would if I were in a car. I drive my car rarely these days, but I used to be driver first and foremost. That could be the difference.

    On the other hand, I do tend to overtake long lines of stationery traffic quite confidently, even though I’m made quite aware that some motorists resent this by trying to stop me from filtering back in…

    Anyway, good blog – keep it up!

  2. I think I’m starting to notice the same things in Springfield — more cyclists taking the lane and more motorists being comfortable with it. There seems to be more repect all around.

  3. Unfortunately, I almost hit a cyclist the other night; the guy was going the wrong way on Sessoms. And while he had a blinky light on the front of his bike, he was dressed darkly and hard to see. I know he is an exception, but I was a little shook-up after.

  4. If you don’t want to commute the 30 miles you can do what I do – drive part of the way and bike the rest. I live 35 miles away from work, and while I could probably physically ride the distance the time it would take is impractical. However, 15 miles takes me about an hour each way and is an easy way to get some miles in during the week.

  5. Glad to hear you’re seeing more intelligent riders. I have just moved to Pennsylvania and it’s quite the opposite here: nearly all the cyclists I see are riding like idiots. I hope things will improve — I try to set a good example, but I’m not sure it helps.

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