Wednesday, February 18, 2009
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.