Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dumb Ass Cyclist Of The Day

Bike Lane Icon

Broadway in Santa Monica is a very popular route for West/East travel by bicycle commuters thanks to it's bike lane and relatively tame driving speeds compared to some streets. The threat of doors from parked cars is still present, but Broadway is the route of choice. Lots of bikes go by, no where near as many as someplace like Portland, but enough to be note worthy. In case the arrows on the ground were not obvious enough, it should be obvious which way bicycle traffic flows, by well looking at what all the other cyclists are doing. However not everyone understands the perils of wrong way riding, since most bicycle traffic fatalities involve wrong way riders. Perhaps this should be a mandatory lesson in physics class. If a cyclist is traveling 15 mph and is hit from behind by a 35 mph car it will be as though they were standing still and hit by a 20 mph car, but in a head on collision with the same speeds, it would be as though standing still and being hit by a 50 mph car. Which hurts more, hmmm? All this on top of the fact that drivers, or other cyclists for that matter, do not expect something coming straight at them, which reduces time available to react and increases the risk of accidents occurring in addition to increasing their severity.

We cyclists often rant about the drivers we see on the road, but cyclists are far from being free of deserving ridicule. Despite what should be obvious, common sense and logical, I encountered my first wrong way cyclist on the Broadway bike lane coming right at me at a decent speed this morning. This is all kinds of wrong, and behavior like this could get him killed or someone else, or him and someone else. In unexpected head on traffic it is a common problem that both people may make evasive moves that counter each other, but I decided the moment I saw him coming to signal and leave the bike lane to enter the flow of car traffic. I then yelled at him as he deserved some yelling at before he hurts somebody. The next time I see this, I don't care how hostile the other person is, or how much a hurry I am in to get to work, I am tracking that person down and giving them a lecture whether they want it or not. Somebody has to teach these people since parents, the DMV and law enforcement have all dropped the ball. If he wants to take him self out Darwin award fashion, that's his own deal, but I don't want to see someone like this drag others with him.


Anonymous said...

"This is all kinds of wrong,"


This has happened to me on Sunset in the bike lane. Very clearly stupid.

There ought to be a law? :)


Definitely a lecture at least. Next time.

Gary said...

While I'm not aware of a specific law for wrong way riding in a bike lane, it is against the law to be riding or driving against the flow of traffic on the road. With the exception of the exclusion of automobile through way travel, bike lanes are legally like any other lane of traffic flow. So not only does a rider signifcantly increase their risk of injury by riding the wround way, they shift liability onto them self by breaking traffic law.

I can maybe see the angle for cyclists in an area with one way streets and long alternative routes, but this isn't New York where everyone is driving slow and expecting jay walkers at any time. It's just plain a bad idea espcially in Los Angeles. On a small, low traffic volume, two way street with bike lanes on both sides and plenty of people using them the appropriate way, I cannot see any remotely reasonable explaintion for wrong way riding.

bikinginla said...

I've run into that more than once in Santa Monica. My theory is that the presence of salt air lowers the IQ 15 or 20 points. The problem is -- aside from the obvious Darwinian aspects you noted -- the rider going the right way usually has to swerve into traffic to avoid the idiot/jerk going the wrong way.

I've also yet to find one who seems to give a damn what anyone else might have to say on the subject.

And don't get me started on joggers in the bike lane...

Will Campbell... said...

Stay the heck away from the University of Stoopid Cyclists. Jefferson and Hoover are infested with the wrongway retards. It's like they get course credit for biking against traffic.

jhaygood said...

I usually am on 11th going north/south but today I was riding Broadway. I started your post and thought, "Oh crap, did I pull a post-worthy screw-up?"

Phew. Someone else. So I'll pile on.

What an idiot!

Lauren S said...

In New York they call them 'salmon', which I quite like.

Gary said...

My girlfriend is also fond of the salmon term, we are both readers of BikeSnob NYC, and he uses that to describe them a lot. I'm mulling over in my head ways to try and confront this issue. Maybe a youtube video that makes it crystal clear why it is so dumb.