Thursday, September 3, 2009

To All Bicyclists In Honolulu

Dear Bicyclist,

You are a vehicle. You need to follow vehicle movement laws when on roads. Yeah, it's really neat that you're smaller than a car and can slip through a red light more or less unseen, but you are only putting yourself at risk. See this page for more information. I am specifically referring to these:
  • You have to obey traffic laws. Stop running red lights.
  • You can't ride on the sidewalks downtown or in Waikiki. Please stop.
  • Having a bicycle does NOT give you automatic right-of-way over cars. You are a vehicle and zipping right out of your driveway or whatever in front of an oncoming car that has to slam on the brakes and swerve to miss you is YOUR fault, not mine. I don't appreciate the middle finger either.
  • You have your own stupid lanes on the road. Use them.
I'm all for "Share The Road" and such, but how about you put forth some effort in that area as well?

Thank you,

A car driver who really doesn't want to hit a bicycle


david said...

Some counterpoints from a bicyclist:

Bike lanes are the worst thing ever. Car traffic tends to clean a road by pushing debris to the edges, and all of that crap ends up in the bike lane. It's full of glass and Big Mac wrappers and broken bits of cars and is quite often unusable. Additionally, bike lanes give a false sense of separation to cars, leading them to often zip by unaware of the other users of the road instead of giving a little bit of space like they would on a normal road. My tire might be right of the line, but my handlebars probably aren't, because I'm busy dodging someone's bottle of Bud Light and the pothole that the city feels is safe to ignore.

Running red lights is a touchier topic, but remember that it's often a bit harder for a bicycle to stop. I have to brake first, of course, possibly and noisy or ineffective pads because who wants to fiddle with those damn things every single day, or maybe it rained a little while ago, unclip, stop, reclip, and at that point perhaps you, the car behind me or in front of me waiting to turn is waiting for my slow, momentum-free ass to make it through the intersection when instead, if it had been clear but illegal, I could have just zipped through and been out of everyone's way.

I disagree with running red lights—there are too many directions to track and too much that can go wrong, besides it being just rude—but I will admit to running stop signs as a matter of course. Just because I didn't come to a full and complete stop doesn't mean I'm not aware of my surroundings, and I shouldn't have to put my foot on the ground to claim a spot in the line if I don't have to.

I'm totally with you on the sidewalks, though. It's illegal and it's dangerous, and I wish more drivers saw that. I'm not on the sidewalk because I'm not walking, you jerks.

tsuehpsyde said...

From another cyclist...

I have yet to use a bike lane, but even using the shoulder is a rather interesting experience, at least in my excursions. If they're clear, they definitely should be used, but if not, so be it. Still, be aware that you're in the way of people on the road if you choose to use the road.

I think running red lights is unsafe and borderline retarded, no explanation required.

So more or less, I agree with the 1st David mostly, while agreeing that the bike lanes can suck and become unusable.

Still, pulling out in front of a car on a bicycle is just amazingly idiotic.

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