Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another car wars piece, this time from the NY Times

This is a fair-handed article about the strife in the streets of our cities and suburbs. It's three well written pages of commentary, quoting cyclists, peds and drivers. Everyone's angry, it seems...

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Maynard-
I actually ride without conflict with drivers. I ride in northern NYS, which has a basic culture of live and let live, and I don't look for trouble. I never count on drivers doing what they are supposed to do, and I am not mad if they don't, but I think the real reason is I am not in drivers' way. NYS builds wide roads that allow cars and bikes to travel along without hindering each other. I am a native of Kentucky where this is definitely not the case, and where I believe there is much hostility between drivers and cyclists.

James Thurber said...

It's difficult not to get angry with bicycles that never obey traffic laws. The stop sign runners around Woodside (California) are endemic. Likewise the sidewalk bicyclists at Stanford University and in downtown Mountain View. Until we (bicycle riders) accept the vehicle code and behave appropriately we're going to have to deal with angry drivers. Remember that they ALWAYS have the right-of-way (based on the basic law of gross tonnage)

Khal said...

Good read, Maynard. Thanks.

James Thurber makes a good point. As long as cyclists are at a disadvantage, one has to take the moral high ground. When the mode split is 50:50, we can change the law and tell the obnoxious drivers to get the &^$$ off the road.

Seriously, we know that a lot of drivers break the traffic laws, but they often do it in less obvious fashion (speeding, for example) rather than flagrantly blowing red lights or riding on the wrong side of the road.

I would also suspect that cyclists get ticketed less since we are quite reasonably not considered as much of a threat to life and property than a guy in a speeding 6,000 lb SUV. Seeing little enforcement we feel that we can get away with almost anything without being held accountable. I think it is well established that quite a few motorists, sans attempts to impose accountability, behave badly. Hence speed radar and camera enforcement strategies.

So while one can make the argument that cyclists are no different than motorists in their respect for the law, its a race-to-the-bottom argument that we are bound to lose. We do need to clean up our act.

Will Handsfield said...

Maynard,

Just heard about your bike crash. For the benefit of other readers, Tamar said you fractured your femur, and needed surgery, and are in the hospital now, but are otherwise doing well, considering.

I'm pulling for you, and can't wait to hear about it in detail.

I'll post any updates on your site, I hope you don't mind.

Tom said...

Wow- Maynard, sorry to hear about the crash. Hope for quick healings. My prayers are with you.

Khal said...

Yikes. Take care, Maynard, and hope you are well soon.

Will Handsfield said...

I spoke to Maynard this evening, he sounded like they'd given him some painkillers, but he was talking. He's going to be at Denver Health for a while. If you want to send over get well wishes or cupcakes, please send them to Maynard's local bike shop:

Salvagetti's
1234 Speer Blvd,
Denver, CO 80204

They are just down the street from the hospital, and can ensure that he gets any messages.

Khal said...

Will, that sounds like a nasty crash to break a femur. Any idea what happened?

As it happens, I'm teaching a bike safety seminar today.....

Mike D said...

There's an update at http://ayearofbikecommuting.blogspot.com/2008/08/maynard-update.html , it sounds like he's done some standing already, which is great news considering.

Will Handsfield said...

I visited Maynard on Friday, he desperately wanted a Coca-Cola, so I went downstairs and got him one. He was able to stand on his right leg and pivot over to the bed with help from his nurses. It seems as if the pain from cracking his femur and having a plate of titanium bolted on to keep it together is what is limiting his motion. Moving the left leg even a little looked excruciating.

When not moving his leg, Maynard is as talkative and good natured as ever, and everyone expects him to make a full recovery given time to heal.

The crash was due to some sand on the path from recent flooding of Cherry Creek. I'll let Maynard color in the details.

Amy said...

Maynard,

You may not remember me, but I hope you are healing and on the road to recovery. Many positive thoughts are being sent your direction.

An old cycling friend from Carson City, Nevada,
Amy