Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bicycle Stories Surface During National Bike Month

If you think the tensions and conflicts between bicyclists and car drivers in the hilly San Antonio area outside Tampa and the equally roller-coaster terrain of the Clermont area outside Orlando are isolated, think again.

Across the country, conflicts are playing out in urban settings, suburbal sprawl and on rural roads.

This being National Bike Month, newspapers and radio are taking at look at what happens when more bicyclists take to the road and more car drivers take to the road (some in vehicles the size of Rhode Island). It's a sometimes combustible and dangerous mix.

My bicycle pal Laura Sarantis of Rockville, MD sends a Washington Post story about the increased bicyclists on the roads and the conflicts that can arise with motorized vehicle drivers.

Washington, D.C. bicyclists were upset recently when a local radio sports guy by the name of Tony Kornheiser criticized the city's decision to put bike lanes down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue and suggested hitting cyclists.

Close to home here in Tampa, my bike friend Nico sends me an NPR piece that features a Q and A between NPR host Neil Conan and Bicycling Magazine Editor Loren Mooney about bicyclists and car drivers trying to co-exist.

Mooney talks about bicycling in New York City and coping with everything from cabs to hot dog carts. As a former bike commuter in Manhattan, I was doored twice and received brused collarbones both times.

Here's an interesting story about the first time I was doored in New York. It happened when a woman getting out of a cab swung her door right into me while I was biking in a bike lane next to her parked cab. I went sprawling to the pavement and the woman walked away without even checking on me. But several New Yorkers on the nearby sidewalk came to me aid, including one kind woman who took my wallet that had fallen from my pocket and placed it back in the pocket of my jacket.

Speaking of bike lanes, the Florida Bicycle Association and other bicycle leaders in Florida are asking Gov. Crist to veto House Bill 971, which includes a part that would require bicyclists to use bike lanes in nearly every circumstance.

The Sarasota Herald Tribune ran a story about Sarasota resident and FBA lobbyist Mike Lasche mentioning that there are times when the best and safest thing to do is leave a bike lane.

And some bike lanes are next to parallel parked cars, where drivers could suddenly open doors in front of cyclists, Lasche noted in the Herald Tribune story.

I learned all about that while bicycling in New York City when I got doored.

And lastly, Randy Wynne, program director of listener-supported WMNF radio, sent me this gem from the Onion magazine about bicycle helmets. Remember folks, The Onion is just goofing on ya.

No comments: