Wednesday, November 07, 2007

[Cyclelicious] New comment on Folk cycling.

Fishbones has left a new comment on your post "Folk cycling":

Fishbone, do you live outside the U.S.? Most cyclists in America appear to be recent immigrants riding bikes from *Mart or yardsales and pawnshops.

I'm waaay out side the USA.

Bikes actually outsell cars by a big margin, thanks mainly to the *marts. This is having a significant impact on the ubiquity of bicycling. Which in turn affects govt expenditure and driver attitudes. Local studies show that the #1 way to improve bicyclist safety is to get more bikes on the road.

Legally, adult riders are vehicular road users. Depending on what state/province you are in the rules vary but usually there are a few cycle specific regs, such being allowed to pass stopped traffic on the "wrong" (ie kerb) side. Helmets are universally required.
Importantly, the bike specific rules are covered in learner driver tests.

The demographics of cyclists vary widely, but there's basically:
* kids on bikes
* recreational *mart MTB riders on bike paths. Adults across the spectrum.
* lycra clad sports bike (group) riders on roads. Mostly higher income - seen the cost of a trek madone lately?
* commuters - mainly white collar workers
Oh, and
* couriers.
There's a fair bit of overlap between the groups, obviously.

The road rules are regularily bent to suit reality: probably the most common would be riding on a footpath. I'd say a fair number of *mart MTB riders wouldn't know it was illegal. The couriers know but don't care.

In everyone's defence, the intermittent nature of bike paths and roads often makes at least a small amount of footpath use sensible on many, many trips.

For second place "Failure to indicate" would have to fight it out with "failing to stop at red lights/stop signs". The lycra brigade are particularily bad and are doing the cause no good on this front.

Myself I tend to jaywalk across red rather than ride as the odds of being nicked are less.

Sometimes the law is an ass - in which case we should try and change it. I'd love to see some Iowa style laws come in.

My final comment would be to draw a strong contrast between "civil disobedience" and a) ignorance or b) rules-are-for-other-people

Some of folk cycling are actually trying to change laws and attitudes from a well-informed and deeply thought out position. Critical Mass generally meets that criteria.

But I've yet to see an example of a lone cyclist riding the wrongway down a one-way street meet that criteria.

Posted by Fishbones to Cyclelicious at 11/07/2007 08:31:00 PM