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An Exercise in Frustration
Here is a tip on recommended coffee break reading for a Friday. Check out this piece in the Wall Street Journal online, Risking Life and Limb, Riding a Bike to Work in L.A.. Caution: not recommended for bike commuters with high blood pressure.
In the wake of a July road-rage incident that sent two bicyclists to the hospital when a driver apparently slammed on the brakes just ahead of them, the WSJ reports on a collection of anecdotes from those few brave enough to venture into LA traffic on their bicycles. Bicycle Infrastructure Lacking
Lynne Goldsmith, manager of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority's bike program, says the city has 1,200 miles of bikeways. But the debate over cars and bikes competing for the same space, as well as questions about bicycles sharing space with pedestrians on the sidewalk, continue.
Liz Elliott, a founder of the grass-roots organization Cyclists Inciting Change Thru Live Exchange, says the problem is that the people who design bicycling infrastructure are not bicyclists themselves. We can see that claim and trump it with the observation that too many drivers cannot remember what it is like to be completely exposed on a 30 pound frame next to a ton of speeding steel. CICLE offers defensive biking courses, and participation is growing.
WSJ quotes skateboarding VP Michael Marckx, a former professional bike racer, who calls auto drivers "caffeine-infused psychotics":
There's something about being in the car that is kind of anonymous. It's a veil to hide behind, and people seem to like to get their aggression out on cyclists.
As I am still recovering from a bicycle accident myself, I empathize with Kim Jensen Marren, who says she is saving $220/month commuting by bike now that she has recovered from a broken ankle after a truck pulled out in front of her. Our only hope?
When we're used to seeing more cyclists, we will treat them better.
So grab your bike, and join the cause. Just be sure to check your insurance policy first.
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Freakonomics on Bike Safety
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Wall Street Journal
Risking Life and Limb, Riding a Bike to Work in L.A..