The bicycle patter

by panglott

One bad habit of mine is commenting on Facebook news stories about bicycling, like this one. I’ve about got the patter down:

I am a regular cycle commuter and use bike lanes (especially 3rd St., Kentucky, and Breckinridge) at every opportunity. The bike lanes have been a godsend; before the first bike lanes, nearly once a week I’d have an angry driver screaming obscenities or throwing things out the car window, and that has dropped to maybe once a year on my normal routes, in my experience. There can be a big disconnect between “people on bicycles” (who dart into traffic, go the wrong way on the lanes, &c. &c.) and “cyclists” who take pride in their bicycle use and are aware of and follow the traffic laws. Sure, some cyclists run traffic lights, but so do motorists; the last time I was hit by a car was last summer when a car tried to ease through a right-on-red turn without stopping. The scariest crash I ever had was when a driver blew through a fresh red light at 40+ mph, clipped my front wheel, and smashed into the car to my left. Motorists and cyclists tend to run red lights in different ways; drivers tend to try to “make” a yellow light (and miss it), while cyclists tend to stop at the light, check for oncoming traffic, and run it. Besides, drivers frequently take it as an entitlement to speed 10-15 mph over the limit; I’d be curious if WDRB is going to run an investigation on how often cars speed and run red lights in the city? In any case, the traffic laws are really the only thing that keep us all safe. Stay safe, people!

It’s not safe to ride on the sidewalk, because cross traffic doesn’t watch for vehicles to dart into the street out there, and the bicycle will get hit. It’s really important for cyclists to follow the traffic laws, because they are literally the only thing keeping us safe. But let’s not pretend that the only scofflaws are people on bicycles: drivers feel entitled to speed, and run red lights all the time. Sometimes I think a traffic light hardly ever turns red in Louisville without a driver running it.

This year the Louisville Metro budget for road paving and improvements is $13.4 million ( http://goo.gl/sCIivF ). If $300k of that is being spent on bike lanes, that’s 2.2% of the budget being spent on bike lanes when 3% of trips are made by cyclists. If anything, more money should be spent on cycling infrastructure!

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