Sunday, October 9, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
I was shocked on opening Saturday’s Seattle Times to find yet another person unaware of the rules of the road, angry at behaviors people are legally allowed to do for their safety while riding a bicycle [“Not for the view,” Northwest Voices, Opinion, June 4].
There is no condoning illegal behavior by bicyclists. However, the letter echoed three myths drivers hold about bicyclists:
— Bicyclists “impede” traffic when slower than cars;
— Bicyclists must use bike lanes;
— Bicyclists cannot ride on sidewalks.
All are untrue.
Bicyclists are legally allowed to take the lane moving slower than car traffic, are allowed to avoid bike lanes, can ride on a sidewalk and cross in a crosswalk for their safety. Bicyclists are usually in the traffic lane or avoiding a bike lane only when their safety demands it. When bicyclists ride in the lane, motorists have a civic duty to drive carefully around them.
Bicyclists of all ages demand safe treatment by drivers. Bicyclists riding in the lane or avoiding bike lanes do so for their safety and deserve considerate treatment by Washington motorists. Bicyclist safety isn’t a debate about dog parks.
Children and their parents are at risk when drivers operate with mistaken impressions about bicycling."
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Quick - Name one thing proven to reduce personal and governmental costs of
transportation, reduce wear and tear on city streets, reduce ,
improve air and water quality while boosting public health and well-being, that
makes economic sense for both personal budgets and city governments, all the
while being an expression of our fundamental American liberties?
Bicycling is a fundamental expression of our American freedom to travel,
affirmed in the rights and immunities clause of the constitution. Americans
have the widely affirmed right in this country to travel by foot, on bike, on
horse or by public conveyance without needing a license to do so.
That's why you don't need a license to enter Washington after a weekend in
Portland, or to take a walk with your kids for some ice cream.
Every state in the union, however, does require operators of vehicles posing
a grave danger to public safety and damaging to public roads be licensed, their
vehicles licensed to collect payments for road upkeep, and the operators
This has been affirmed by the supreme court in several cases, Hendricks V
Maryland 1915 was one of the first, and in 1927 ruled in Hess V Pawloski that
" Motor vehicles are dangerous machines, and even when skillfully and carefully
operated, their use is attended by serious dangers to persons and property. In
the public interest the state may make and enforce regulations reasonably
calculated to promote care on the part of all..."
Motorists and cars are dangerous, very damaging and pose a financial burden on
states. Motorists and motor vehicles can be licensed for reasons affirmed by
the US Supreme Court. Not so for bicyclists.
Improving public safety and public health go hand and hand with
promoting bicycling. Road rechannelizations undertaken in Seattle over the last
three decades have smoothed traffic and improved public safety. Children and
senior citizens are part of the third of Washingtonians that do not drive.
Increasing the ability to walk and bike is proven to improve public health in
communities while reducing a wide spectrum of public expenditures not commonly
associated with motor vehicle use.
The roads are open to all. Less than 100 years ago it was commonplace for
children to play in the streets. Woes about lack of sidewalks in neighborhoods
could become a non-issue if communities returned to an original understanding of
our public roadways not as speedways but as public space.
Want Seattle to decrease congestion, ease parking woes, build safer roads,
increase senior mobility and public health, save money across the board while
endorsing American values of independence and limited government?
Respect bicycling as the fundamental right everyone possesses to travel in the
United States. When driving, respect bicyclists. You do not need a license to
walk or bike to your neighborhood store for ice cream. Most trips outside the
home are very short trips, easily doable for many on a bike . Bicycling
exercises yourself AND your rights as an American. Get healthy while helping
yourself, your city and Washington save money.
Make it easy and safe to walk and bike along our streets again. Planning for
bikes on the roads has been shown to make it easier and safer for motorists to
drive around cyclists. Planning for bike traffic also encourages more bicyclists
to follow the .
Respect American liberties. There's personal and civic savings in active
transportation, better, less crowded roads and widespread conservative fiscal
virtues associated with riding a bike. Respect the ideals of limited government
and fiscal responsibility - promote, prioritize and normalize safer roads for
walking and bicycling.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
There are also the wandering or the nomadic riders. My wandering life was done in my teens and early twenties.
But many of us are now adults, work full time, and have a few weeks with which to tour, and the ability to squeak out 3 and 4 day weekends by combining sick days, vacation time, and national holidays. Many cyclotourists build up for an epic destination tour riding across country or europe or south america.
I say, why not see what's outside your doorstep, up that road and in the next county.
For much of my adult life I have been a regionalist. I believe that a diversity of riches exists within human-travelled distance of most people. I realize this is perhaps an entitled, western perspective but there is a world of riches right off most people's doorsteps. If they know how to look for it.
I enjoy tours within my own state and region, without a set destination or end point except back home the day before i have to be back at work.
To get to know the place you live, to get connected with the earth, the topography, the villages and the humanity, 'the lay of the land' so to speak, is invaluable and enriching.
Classic travelogues like Basho's 17th century "Narrow Road to the Interior" and new classics like William Least Heat Moon's "Blue Highways" or "PrairyEarth" hint at the riches hidden just down the road.
Live your own Prairyearth.