Friday, July 25, 2008

Bicycle & Automobile Coexistence.


Tension between cyclists and motorists over shared use of the roadway has been an ongoing issue since cars supplanted the bicycle as the dominant vehicle of personal transit. Recently however a road rage incident in Mandaville Canyon in which a motorist intentionally used his vehicle to seriously injure two cyclists has become a lightening rod in the debate about what it means to share the road in Los Angeles.

Although there are things that both cyclists and motorists can do to more harmoniously coexist, I noticed in reading online comments there is often a lack of understanding on the part of motorists on certain safety concerns of cyclists, common cycling behavior as well as the laws for bicycles (I will be discussing primarily California law). So I would like to address some of these common misunderstandings and for starters all laws concerning cars apply also to bikes, and bikes can use all roads except where expressly forbidden by signage, such as most urban freeways. I admit that when I primarily drove to get around I didn't know much about any of this even though I had always done some bike commuting. Education on cycling issues is massively under whelming, which is something that really ought to change. As mentioned toward the end of one my blogging cohorts recent posts, simply adding a cycling question to the DMV test could help educate and is a relatively simple thing to change.

In the interest of furthering education on sharing the road, I will over a series of future blogs posts address various points of confusion or contention, entitled Bicycle & Automobile Coexistence. These posts will primarily focus on educating drivers, however there are things many cyclists need to be aware of all well (I'm looking at you cyclists riding the wrong way in the bike lane). So lets all hold hands and share the road like little bears with delightful icons on their chest or something.


Meghan said...

awww! the bike and the car are in love!!

IRMA said...

i would wear this as a t-shirt!
i feel that the department of transportation could do a better job raising awareness about sharing the road with bikes. Here is one, instead of plastering crappy movie and t.v. ads on the side of buses, they could place "share the road" "bikes are traffic" have the vehicle codes spelled out for everyone to read, as well as "car doors kill"

Dave said...

This is a fantastic idea. I constantly see this here in seattle, people are upset at cyclists who are doing things legally and safely because they simply don't understand that it's both.

One of the most common themes I hear is some that cyclists act entitled. This is undoubtably true, but in many cases I suspect motorists don't know that the cyclist IS entitled. Personally I'd like to see this addressed in the driver education course. I hear people get upset about this because they think that I'm only intersted in educating drivers, but almost everybody rides a bike (in seattle, maybe not NYC) also has a drivers license. Driver education courses are simply a good means to an end in this case, getting 90% of the audience in a single fell swoop.

Anyway, I'll do more ranting on my own blog ( Stop by for a visit.