I’m really ambivalent about what happened in this video. Cycling is my preferred method of transportation. I’ve never yet been doored. I assume that every door I pass can open at any time and wipe me out. Therefore, I slow down quite a bit when in a hazardous situation. The guy in this video likes to take changes as part of asserting his rights. Check out the way he shot through the pedestrians before the crash. The narrow path right before the crash and his insistence at traveling at a brisk pace were accidents waiting to happen. That he was wiped out by a door thrown into the bike lane angers me, people should be more careful opening car doors. On the other hand, almost all people who open car doors do it blindly. It’s a fact of life, like the fact that the tides go in and out. Further, the consequences of riding fast through hazardous areas will be an injury suffered by the cyclist, not those who throw their doors open. Hence, my approach of riding very slowly in such zones, even though I would be legally entitled to go as fast as I want in the bike lane. I’m sorry to see this guy wiped out, of course, but the video leaves me quite ambivalent about who was the victim.
Given that today’s high was in the low 80’s, I decided to ride my bicycle up and down the 11 mile St. Louis Riverfront Trail this evening. As for things to see, this paved bike path offers a bit of everything, including the Mississippi River (actually quite beautiful in the quietude of the sunset), but also industrial areas, junk yards and several areas under construction. It’s a worthy endeavor for anyone in half-decent biking shape. The end point is the Chain of Rocks Bridge, originally part of Route 66, but revamped as a pedestrian walkway and gathering spot, with vistas of downtown St. Louis far in the distance.
If you click the title, you can see eight photos I took along the ride this evening.
As I do much of the time, I commuted to my job on a bicycle. It’s a 4 1/2 mile trip that offers me many benefits. I park on the 6th floor of the garage. Though I sometimes ride up the circular garage ramps, today I decided to take the garage elevator. A woman stepped in; then I joined her with my bike.
“Oh, I suppose you are delivering something, but you are taking your bicycle with you in this elevator?”
“No, actually, I’m an attorney and I work in this office building.”
“Oh . . . ” [Giving me the expression of “Why would a lawyer ride a bike to work?”]
I work in a building that probably has more than 1,000 employees, and as far as I can tell, I’m the only person who rides a bike to work. That’s not how it would be in many cities, such as Denver or San Francisco, but that’s how it is here in St. Louis.
One of the many benefits of bicycling is the cost savings, and it’s not just about gasoline. On Thursday, a local bike shop is going to change out my chain and give the bike a complete overhaul, essentially for the cost of two gasoline fill-ups. Other than that, yearly maintenance mostly consists of a few tire tubes and some chain lube. Further, when the commute is less than five miles in city riding, it takes only a a bit longer than it takes to commute by car. It’s win, win, win, but a lot of people won’t consider switching over to bicycle because it’s undignified, or a “toy,” or you might get wet if it rains, or it’s simply not the way that they have commuted for years, and they are not going to consider changing. They should reconsider, because they are losing out.
I often commute by bicycle, so this article caught my eye. In three separate incidents, three cyclists in San Francisco have killed pedestrians by running into them. This most recent example suggests flagrant and reckless conduct on behalf of the cyclist.
I sometimes tell people that I prefer riding a bike to driving a car, because although I might get myself killed, it’s not like I’m going to kill someone else on my bike. Well, I need to rethink that.
Jonathan Patz is the author of a new study indicating the “Four Way Win” that occurs when people choose bicycling over the use of automobiles. I’m completely on board, and I speak from experience as a person who commutes by bicycle more often than not to my job, which is about 5 miles from my home. The study by Patz offers some impressive numbers:
In the study, published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, Patz and his colleagues looked to the more than 30 million people residing in urban and suburban areas of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. They asked: What if during the nicest six months of the year, those residents left their cars at home for round-trips of five miles or less? And what if they chose to replace half of those short car trips, which account for about 20 percent of all vehicle miles traveled, with cycling? According to their calculations, making those short trips on bicycles could save approximately four trillion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 1,100 lives and $7 billion in mortality and health care costs for the region every year. “Fighting global climate change could be one of the greatest public health opportunities we’ve had in a century.”