27 November 2021

Maybe They'll Get It Right...Some Day

I think it was Winston Churchill who said that Americans will do the right thing after they've exhausted all other possibilities.

Sometimes I think he was an optimist, at least when it comes to laws and polices regarding bicycles.  In my own humble (OK, I gotta say that:  I know I'm right because...well, I'm so damn smart and I've been riding for almost half a century!) opinion, no vehicle--whether it has one, two, three, four or more wheels--with a motor should be allowed in any lane designated for pedestrians, pedaled bicycles or any vehicle that doesn't have a motor.

I've presented my wisdom, I mean, opinion to everyone from the folks at Transportation Alternatives (of which I'm a member) to City Hall.  The response is almost always the same: "You're right. But how could it be enforced?"

So, we have to contend with "rocket" scooters, e-bikes with boosters, and hand-throttle e-bikes in bike lanes that are six feet wide--for bike traffic in both directions.  Or, in some places, we and pedestrians are "protected" by wrongheaded regulations.

The new year will begin with such a policy for folks who cross the Golden Gate Bridge.  Starting on 1 January, there will be a one-size-fits-all 15 MPH speed limit in the bike/pedestrian lane.  Currently, bridge-crossers are "advised" to remain within that limit.

Photo by Sherry LaVars, for the Marin Independent Journal

While I understand the concerns of pedestrians (having walked across a number of bridges, including the Triborough/RFK and Queensborough/59th Street, in bike-ped lanes), I can also say that most cyclists who are going more than 15 MPH have a commensurate level of handling skills.  The same cannot be said, I believe, for folks riding e-bikes and motorized bikes and scooters at 25 or 30 MPH.  Plus, a motorized bike (which, as often as not, is really just a scaled-down motorcycle) can inflict more serious injury or damage than a pedaled bicycle at any given speed.

My hope is that Churchill will be proven right and whoever came up with the new Golden Gate Bridge regulation will realize the error of it and come up with something more sensible--like, say, banning anything with a motor from the pedestrian/bike lane. 

26 November 2021

I Wouldn't Be Caught Dead In...

 The '80s brought us "fade" paint jobs.

The '90s--oh, where do I begin?  It was (mostly) a great time for me personally (including as a cyclist), but there was all manner of insanity in the bike world.  As someone who was both a road and off-road (mainly the former) cyclist for most of the decade, I can say I'm unbiased in laying much of the blame on mountain bikes, which brought us bar ends in weird shapes, wheels with spokes that looked like the twist-ties from bags of bread and anything that could be made in a neon color.

This century/millenium has also brought its share of unfortunate trends.  Some of them start off as sensible, even laudable ideas, like bike garments designed to make us more visible to motorists (and, sometimes, each other).  But they end up in absurdity or just sheer tackiness:

I mean, why do you need an emoji to be seen?

25 November 2021

A Fowl Holiday

 The other day, my friend Beverly told me she's going to spend today with her kids and grandkids on Staten Island.  I'm going "with bird in tow," she said.

I asked whether she'd planned to use a tow truck to drag a turkey across the Verrazano Bridge.  "That sounds cruel!" exclaimed.

Plus, it would definitely lead his fellow feathered friends in a fowl mood. (I couldn't resist that one!)

Happy Thanksgiving!