Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Biking In Seattle

OK, I can't be the SPU student to watch this skit of Portlandia and immediate think of my own neighborhood. And I can't be the only one who has been nearly run off the road by the Seattle bikers, especially around the Fremont Bridge and the Ballard Bridge (the latter of which where I had my arm sharply bruised by a bicycle handle last spring).

Though I commend Seattle's efforts to make the city more bike-friendly, I also worry about some of the unintended consequences. More bicyclists mean more congested trails and bike lanes, which is breeds bicycle road rage. I have often seen bicyclists around SPU react rudely to cars and pedestrians alike. While I support their efforts to reduce vehicle emissions by leaving the car at home, getting constantly yelled at by these bikes infuriates me.

This seems to be a growing concern with the residents and the city of Seattle. The Seattle Bike Blog has posted more than one column advising bicyclists on how to manage their anger on the road.

Of course, many cyclists say that their behavior is a defensive tactic to keep themselves safe from cars, which is another problem facing the Seattle streets.

My main problem with this issue is that aggressive people on the road -- regardless of their mode of transportation -- make me want to avoid the more vulnerable modes of walking and biking. And it is such a shame that I can't fully enjoy my city because of a few jerks.

To make the roads safer for everyone, we really only need to follow some simple etiquette rules for cyclists and pedestrians:
  • Always pass on the left, using bells and voices to alert those in front of you
  • Walkers and slow-moving bikes stay to the right and allow others to pass
  • Be alert and aware of others around you
  • Travel at a safe speed, slowing down to meet the conditions of the road/trail
  • Mutual respect for those on the road
Riding defensively is one thing, but entitled riding is another.
What are some solutions you have for making pathways and streets safer for SPU students?

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