Friday, August 27, 2010

Mostly Bicycle Friendly Community

Note: I had written but not posted this when the Curmudgeon noted the Bicycle Friendly Community sign. I am not taking issue with the designation, but this coincidence did have something to do with the title for this post.

With Colton and Standard all ripped up and that being part of my primary bike commute, I have temporarily diverted my morning commute back to the Hwy 2-Country Homes-Wall-Post route I used to follow three years ago. As you can see form the map there's a way to avoid the arterials and end up near Wall and Monroe. Morning traffic is usually pretty light so it's not like I'm holding up cars, it's just more pleasurable to go through the neighborhood.

But even with light traffic there are a number of drivers who can't stand "losing" several seconds being "stuck" behind a bicycle. Where Wall intersects with Francis and again with Wellesley there are cement medians that restrict the lane and allow the creation of a left turn lane for the opposite side. Consequently, cyclists and vehicles don't have room to be side by side. I ride in the right wheel track to make sure I have room to my right and that reduces the space to my left enough that should signal a vehicle behind me that they should wait. Most drivers hang back and wait 10-15 seconds until the median ends before they pass me. But not all of them.

I'm here to tell you that there are some drivers with the eyesight of a hawk and the geospatial ability of a mover fitting 1700 cubic feet of household goods into a truck that holds 1600. Such are their superhuman driving skills that they are able shoot the gap--as if the sudden acceleration makes it work better--and squeeze by, their side mirrors just barely missing me and allowing them to gain precious seconds in order to be the first one to arrive at the next red light. A fellow in a white pickup and an older woman in a silver sedan are two of Spokane's eagled-eyed drivers who have mastered this skill. Unfortunately, I concerned that the way I find out they're getting rusty is when they hit me.

While I have no evidence that their intentions are unfriendly, I can't say their behavior is sterling either.

1 comment:

T.K. McGuinness said...

I just want to point out that bicycles are vehicles. When I ride through the above mentioned intersections and others like them I ride in the LEFT wheel lane to prevent and passing in the restricted zone. Once through I purpoesfully move back to the right side of the lane where it is safe for the other vehicle to pass. This is allowable under
RCW 46.61.770
Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.

(1) Every person operating a bicycle... shall ride as near to the right side of the right through lane as is safe...
Clearly it is unsafe for a motor vehicle to pass in these resricted zones. It may cause upset, but it didn't cause injury.