Enforce Bicycle Laws of North Carolina!

I am pretty amazed at how lax state and local governments are when it comes to the bicycle laws of North Carolina.Walking down Frankiln Street I saw numerous cyclists running red lights, not using hand signals, passing waiting cars, and riding on the sidewalk. All this was happening in plain view of Chapel Hill Police. There was even on man who was decked out in racing clothes who rode in the middle of the two lanes and cut in front of the car in the right lane and made a right on red without stopping.If you want to know the laws you can read them here:http://www.ncdot.org/transit/bicycle/laws/laws_bikelaws.htmlEither enforce the laws or get rid of them. I plan on bringing this up with the Carrboro police department.


Did you happen to notice that downtown on Franklin Street there is a twenty mile an hour speed limit that is never obeyed by motorists and never enforced by police?

James Coley

Yes, I do know that cars speed down Frankilin street and yes those laws should be enforced. But this thread is about Bikes.


My comment was not off topic. Your post is an example of the common tendency of the automobile-dominated mentality to overlook the continual violations of law by automobile operators, while regarding bicyclists as hooligans invading the space that should be the exclusive province of the car. Automobile dominance is in the head. This is relevant to any discussion of urban biking. I subscribe to the principles of the Green Transportation Hierarchy (GTH), according to which some transportation modes should be favored over others because they are better environmentally and in terms of safety. People should be treated equally; I should be treated the same when I drive a car as you are treated when you drive a car. But the different transportation modes should not be treated equally. One of the principles of GTH is "The more you wield, the more you yield." Automobile drivers should humbly defer to pedestrians, bicyclists and transit. Cars are deadly, so the legal restrictions on automobile operation should be stricter, and more strictly enforced, than those regarding bikes. It is more important, by several orders of magnitude, for motorists to obey traffic laws than for bicyclists to obey. And yet you single out bicyclists, indicating your annoyance at an inherenlty superior form of transportation which you should seek to accommodate, rather than rail against. All of this is relevant to the discussion. 

James Coley

I do not own a car. I do not like cars. If I could I would ban all cars.

 I agreed with everything you said. You are arguing against nothing with me.

 It has just been something I was noting with more frequency. 


Are you for real with this?  Perhaps you should look around you and realize there are much more important axes to grind in this community, like enforcement of the traffic laws for cars (stopping at a stop sign would be nice for cars too - and there's far too many speed bumps in town for any mode of transportation), the skyrocketing cost of housing, the empty store fronts on Franklin Street, the lack of adequate parking which will surely choke local businesses and the segregation that occurs between the communities (that's another blog in itself). 

The only bike law that should be enforced is the "don't ride on the sidewalk" one, which is something I see too much of (and it's dangerous for pedestrians).  And yes, I'm a bicycle advocate.

Did the bikers in question put anyone in danger with their actions?  The simple truth of the matter is that cars that disobey traffic laws can end up killing people... bikes would have to work very hard to cause an injury on anyone besides the biker themselves.

Why are people trying to pull this off topic? Yes, there are "more important" problems, but I am talking about this one. If you saying that the laws for bikes are bad then get them changed, but to disobey the rules of the road based on how you feel is anarchy. I find it funny that you think cyclists have the right to run red lights when they think it is safe. That is not the law, and the law is what I am talking about. Besides, why can't you wait at a red light? Is it some personality deficiency that appears when you get on two wheels?And you say that only the cyclist is injured in an accident? Have you ever hit someone with your car? Do you have any idea of the trauma one can go through after killing someone? And how many cyclists have insurance for that type of accident? http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/localnews/2008/07/09/man-dies-in-bi...  BTW, I am a bicycle advocate as well. 

So, Noah, the only possible answer to your question is a direct "Yes" or "No" to the "bike laws are good, laws are bad" inquiry?  Because if I give reasoning as to why I think this is a non-issue, I'm pulling it off-topic?  Well, okay then...

I think cyclists should follow rules of the road, like signaling (for left hand turns only), not riding on the sidewalk (dangerous to everyone),  respecting the traffic signals (for their own safety - and yes, I occasionally see red lights as a "stop, look and listen" situation), and riding in a lane (taking up space from cars when a bike lane isn't available).  Bikes should stay off the highways and bypasses, shouldn't specifically block traffic just to piss off drivers, shouldn't threaten anyone with their locks and shouldn't laud themselves as superior environmentalists for their personal decision to ride. 

I also think bikes should always ride with lights at night (ALWAYS!), should ride with helmets (even though I'm guilty of not wearing one), should have bike lanes on each and every roadway and should always, always, always ride with traffic.

However, my objection to your post was actually that you just ranted about one incident and didn't offer a solution besides meeting with the Carrboro Police, who have no juristiction on Franklin St (that's Chapel Hill, as you pointed out), cannot change the DOT rules, cannot feasibly enforce bike traffic laws, will not take the time to chase down cyclists who disobey laws and generally won't care (tell me if I'm wrong... did you meet with them?  What did they say?  Or was that just blowing off steam too?)

So ranting without suggesting solutions is just non-sensical. And I don't believe for a second that you think doing away with traffic laws is a solution.

As a fellow bicycle advocate, perhaps you'd like to help by volunteering your time on an educational campaign aimed to publicize why bikers should follow the rules of the road.  Why it's important for them to co-exist and cooperate with cars.  That's the sort of program that both bikers and car drivers (and most bikers are car drivers too) could see as a benefit.I work with a bike organization that can help you get involved in doing something about what you believe in, if you're so inclined.

It sounds like you're just upset with someone breaking a law.  And breaking a law is something we've all done on occasion.  

Just noting a trend, increasing frequency. If you walk as much as I do you are slow enough to notice these trends.

 But why are you against having stepped up police activity on this matter if they are breaking the law?

And if the police start giving out tickets, isn't that an education?

 My solution is for the laws to be enforced. So I am ranting with a solution. 

I'm a cyclist myself I wish there was more respect for cycling laws as well.  While indeed when a bike hits a car the bike (and cyclist) are going to lose, there is a broader impact..

1. Who picks up the tab when Police respond to the accident allong with EMS and Fire?

2. Who picks up the tab when the cyclist doesn't have insurance?

3. Who picks up the tab when the already overtaxed ER has to handle a head injury that could have been avoided? 

4. Who picks up the tab at the head injury rehab center when the cyclist (who didn't need to obey the law b/c, well cars don't either) has no more insurance? 

5. Who fills in for that cyclist at work? 

6. Does the cyclist's family mourn the loss of their son or daughter or bother or sister who was just trying to get to class a little bit sooner?

Let's imagine the thousands of students coming back into town and how much we'd like for them to make it through College all safe and sound.  Obeying laws (both motored and human powered) is a good idea.  Let's not forget that we all pay taxes to fund our fine University and schools so in a very real way we are all helping to pay for the students to graduate and help our state and our country.  They aren't going to do that from an ICU.

Yes, and these same questions would apply to a motorist, pedestrian, hang glider, power sailer or dog walker who gets into a negligent accident without insurance.  You're taking the smaller example and applying it as if it was a majority truth.

Part of a motorists responsibility is to stay within speed limits and drive safely to avoid those type of accidents.  That's conveniently being forgotten in this discussion. The pedestrians tragically hit last year were crossing against lights, wearing headphones, walking into traffic without looking and crossing out of crosswalks but it would have been in bad taste to blame all walkers for flaunting rules.  We stop for people in crosswalks... why can't the same be extended to bicyclists?

In response to Noah too, I'm not the police.  Go and pitch your idea for more diligent supervision of Franklin Street to crack down on errant bikers.  I spoke with them (and the transportation dept) for close to 3 years about the fact that drivers streamed out of the one-way street in my neighborhood in the wrong direction, and not a thing was done, even though a children's bus stop was in harm's way.

I don't think a ticket is education because a ticket is never going to be handed out to a cyclist.  They're barely handed out to motorists.  They're never handed out to jaywalkers.

They always told me that you can catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar, which is why I gave you the opportunity to do something about it... a solution isn't a solution unless you can actually implement it.


I give up. 

"Part of a motorists responsibility is to stay within speed limits and drive safely to avoid those type of accidents. That's conveniently being forgotten in this discussion."

It is not being forgotten just because you say it is being forgotten. It was not part of my argument!

 You know what really catches flies best? A dead bicyclist on the side of the road.


Hi Noah,

you have a good point. As a cyclist I am frustrated with how much other cyclists don't follow the traffic laws. It makes it difficult to defend ourselves when our rights are challenged.

But I must agree with Mr. Coley & rgiorgi regarding automobile traffic.

I too would like to know why the traffic laws are not enforced more tightly for all modes of transpertation. My pet peave (lately) are j-walkers. It sure would be nice to see some cyclists get ticketed for riding against traffic, on sidewalks, running stop signs and red lights, and weaving. PLEASE share with us here your conversation with the Carrboro Police. Thank you.

 Some things legally forbidden of cyclists are completely safe.  Other things legally allowed of cyclisdts are very dangerous.  As a result, cyclists pick and choose which laws to observe. 

That annoys drivers when they see cyclists ignronig laws the cyclists don't want to follow but consider that if cyclists decided to observe every single that means they'd be permitted to drive 10 mph in the middle of the lane on MLK Road (I refuse to call it Blvd) all way way from Rosemary to Weaver Dairy.  Can you imagine if that started happening en masse?

 If you stared making cyclists stop at every single stop sign and red light, even when no vehicles were coming, they'd probably protest by driving 10 mph in the middle of the lane on every road in the area.

The law is the law but if a law is both ridiculous and unenforced then the de facto law is whatever the people do as the result of their collective actions and that is exactly what is happening with regard to cyclists and drivers in Chapel Hill.  Cyclists do whatever they do,  partly with regard to their personal safety and partly with regard to the law, varying by individual cyclist.  And drivers do the same.  And the sum total of all those decisions is the de facto law.

 There is still the legal law, which comes into effect in that tiny percentage of cases where there is a legal dispute, but most of the time the legal law is irrelevant and the de facto law rules.

"Some things legally forbidden of cyclists are completely safe.  Other things legally allowed of cyclisdts are very dangerous.  As a result, cyclists pick and choose which laws to observe."

If we all had this luxury....

 I want to ask you why is it dangerous for a cyclists to stop at a red light? Are you saying that there are times when it is more safe for a cyclist to run a red light then to wait for it to turn green?

 Why is it so hard for cyclists to stop at red lights? Can someone please explain? I never have that problem when I ride. And I see others that do not as well. 


Jose wrote that "Some things legally forbidden of cyclists are completely safe. Other things legally allowed of cyclists are very dangerous." Then NoahBody asked "[W]hy is it dangerous for a cyclists [sic] to stop at a red light?" This question makes no sense, and demonstrates poor logic, as well as a lack of understanding of Jose's post, on the part of NoahBody. Jose was saying that some things legally allowed for (or required of) cyclists are dangerous, not that all are! NoahBody's question makes sense only if NoahBody meant all, not some.

James Coley

 I was pointing out his logical fallacy. Begging the question.

What legally allowed part of the law is very dangerous?

  • Ride on the right in the same direction as other traffic
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals
  • Use hand signals to communicate intended movements
  • Equip their bicycles with a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 200 feet when riding at night.
  • Besides, they have exceptions to these spelled out in the law that explicitly allow for these exceptions. 


    "Some things legally forbidden of cyclists are completely safe." 

    Running a red light is legally prohibited, but Is running a red light COMPLETELY SAFE?  

    Remember, I am talking about flagrant breaking of the law. 


     I did use the wrong part of his argument and should have phrased it better. 

    NoahBody commits the same fallacy yet again, as though I had said nothing. It is not a counterexample to "Some illegal things are safe" to point out an illegal thing that is not safe, any more than it is a counterexample to "Some vegetables are green" to point out that a carrot is a vegetable that is not green. Again, "some" is confused with "all." Also, Josh did not beg the question; I'm not sure that NoahBody knows what begging the question is.

    James Coley

    Yes, you are right, I see where the problem is. I am trying to get logic out of a statement that was illogical. Isn't the use of "some" the problem with his argument? In fact, it was his trap.

    When in fact I was pointing out a specific example.

    I say that "the pepper was green".


    He says; "Some peppers are red."

    I cannot disagree with that and it does not make my statement false. 

    I said: "Walking down Frankiln Street I saw numerous cyclists running red lights, not using hand signals, passing waiting cars, and riding on the sidewalk." IE: The cyclists were breaking the law so we should ticket them.

    He Said: "there are much more important axes to grind in this community"  Sort of a false choice, yes? And a red herring.

    and "The only bike law that should be enforced is the "don't ride on the sidewalk" one, which is something I see too much of (and it's dangerous for pedestrians)" Cherry Picking? Maybe, but this one I have a hard time with. Kind of supports my argument but changes it.

    and "Did the bikers in question put anyone in danger with their actions" Anecdotal?

    All illogical arguments to me. 

    So maybe I should have just not responded to him?


    Maybe you can have a swing at Josh's further arguments:

    "if cyclists decided to observe every single that means they'd be permitted to drive 10 mph in the middle of the lane on MLK Road"

    I see that as an appeal to fear, yes? And Appeal to Consequences.

    "If you stared making cyclists stop at every single stop sign and red light, even when no vehicles were coming, they'd probably protest by driving 10 mph in the middle of the lane on every road in the area." Appeal to Fear, Appeal to Consequences





    NoahBody asked, in reference to Jose: "Isn't the use of 'some' the problem with his argument?" The answer is quite obviously "No." The word "some" is a perfectly fine little word. The problem, for the very last time, is that NoahBody confuses "some" with "all." The rest of the last post, a barely coherent compilation of poorly applied references to various types of fallacies, indicates to me that the critical thinking skills of NoahBody are too meager to deserve any further attention. The administrator was right to suggest that this is a waste of time.

    James Coley

    You pretend like you know logic, but you are very superficial. Or maybe you know logic but you are afraid that you know that Jose's argument was bad and cannot admit I mistakenly got caught in his stupidity.

    You do not seem to spend time looking at the other poster problems with logic who hold the same views as you. 

    Casting judgements with no proof is not logic. It may make you seem knowledgeable to some people, but it is very transparent.

    Bikes/bikers more resemble walkers than cars/drivers.  So if you're asking what things bikers can do legally but that are dangerous, one would be driving in the middle of the lane on MLK Road.  And if you're asking what things bikers can't do legally but that are safe, one would be crossing at lights like walkers do, although it would running a red light since bikes are technichally treated the same as cars.


    Please ask yourselves why you are arguing with someone called "Noah Body." Is that a good use of your time, and does it seem likely to lead to productive public discourse? 

    I'm disabling his account until he puts his name back on it and takes responsibility for his own words.

    I thought you allowed anonymous accounts here?

    And this comment is funny coming from someone called "admin". 

    There is no right to publish anonymously here, Christian.  It's a courtesy to allow a broader range of views, but when it disrupts the community it's not really the purpose of this site.  Since some of you don't seem to have read the guidelines that you agreed to upon registration on OP...

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    it's intersting how some bicyclists want to pick and choose the laws they obey. are these the same people that would attack george bush for picking and choosing the laws that he obeys? are these the same people that say if you don't like a law then you should use legislation to change the laws rather than break them...hmmm... go ahead, say it's different. say it's apples and oranges. but really, is it?

    So it is good to know I am not going crazy. A voice of reason in the woods.

    This really disgusts me. It seems all critical thinking goes out the window because you have a belief that bicycles are good. No better then the Jesus freaks or the republicans. Most people are ignorant to how the mind works. They cannot separate themselves from their ideas. They are their ideas. You can see it in the posts, they said that I was pro-car, that was a riot to read. They will make up anything in their little dream world.

    Picking and choosing laws, yeah, that cracks me up. It is all about selfishness really. That is fine, but lying about it is ignorance. These same people will tell you to vote cause it makes a difference. Hah! What difference does voting make if you feel it is ok for people to pick and choose the laws you obey?



    Well, Noah, I have been posting on this board for half a year or so and I have realized that there are quite a few people that have some good ideas, and then there are some that never let logic stand in the way of their emotion or their dogmaticism.

    Here's a funny story - when I went to college there was this really "earthy" girl with whom i worked who was all upset because the college was getting rid of the card catalogues and replacing them with computers. She was sad because the card catalogues were something you could "touch" and she immediately labelled the change of technology as "bad". You will get the same response here when you talk about cars, oil, plastic, nuclear power, guns, etc...

    There are good and bad aspects of all things, a balance if you will. This inherent balance is not necessarily appreciated on this board, however -republicans are bad, cars are bad, growth is bad, Wal-Mart is bad, guns are bad. Bikes are good, liberals are good, mom and pop stores are good, solar power is good, "natural" is good etc...

    Unfortunately, emotion rules the day here. Again, while it is true that one can find something to gripe about any issue, it is fairly simplistic to throw a blanket label at something, especially when one is not educated on the subject.


    I realize that this is a progressive board, but there is less "tolerance" than one would expect for ideas that don't fall in line. In my opinion, that is not necessarily a good thing because i think with most ideas and concepts the truth lies somewhere closer to the midpoint than on the extremes...

    Slightly but not completely tangential and in defense of your "emotional" girl:  there has been a LOT of discussion in library science, info science, sociology, literary history, etc. (including a long article in the New Yorker) about what is lost when card catalogues are replaced by electronic media.  Quite a bit is lost, actually.  Electronic media are "good at" some things, including facilitating searches and storing huge amounts of information.  Card catalogues are "good at" some other things, including adding information supplied by users and, notably, recording, organizing, and storing information in a way that doesn't require electricity. 

    Are bicycles thereby analogous to card catalogues or electronic databases here? 

    as i said, there is good and bad in every thing - bikes are good for some things, cars for others. the point is, progress happens; if one examines all attributes of card catalogues and computers, the marketplace and comsumers will eventually make an informed decision as to what suits them better...

    "There are good and bad aspects of all things, a balance if you will. This inherent balance is not necessarily appreciated on this board, however -republicans are bad, cars are bad, growth is bad, Wal-Mart is bad, guns are bad. Bikes are good, liberals are good, mom and pop stores are good, solar power is good, "natural" is good etc..."

     There are some things in this paragraph I disagree with a bit but I could have let it pass were it not for the final item in the list.  Natural is good?  I know a lot of people instinctively think that but it falls apart upon inspection.  Smallpox is natural and the cure for it is not.  Which one do you want?

    The natural way to communicate with a bunch of people would be to walk to each persons house and tell them your message.  The unnatural way to do it would be to use this website.  Which one works better?

    Back when everything was natural, human life expectancy was about 25 and existence was wretched.

    I could make a long list of items where unnatural is better than natural.  And I also could make a long list of items where natural is better than unnatural.  But the point is, to determine whether something is good we should judge it on its merits, not on whether it is natural. 

     Saying that things are automatically good if they're natural or bad if they're unnatural is dogma.  And dogma is bad.

    jose - i think you misunderstood me - i agree with you completely.

     when i wrote "republicans are bad, cars are bad, growth is bad, Wal-Mart is bad, guns are bad. Bikes are good, liberals are good, mom and pop stores are good, solar power is good, "natural" is good etc..." i was summarizing what many people on this board believe. it wasn't clear. sorry about that... 

     here is what i belive - nothing is completely good or bad. that's what i was saying. cyanide is natural. uranium is natural. both can be used for good and bad purposes. if you look closely enough at anything, there can be found both good and bad. yin and yang. light and dark. one cannot exist without the other.

    i was listing things that some people on this board are dogmatic about. some people believe that nuclear reactors are inherently bad. they believe that U.S. built reactors can fisson, causing a nuclear blast. it can't happen. misinformation. sure, you can have leaks and meltdowns, but not a fissile blast.

    some people believe that semi-auto and auto handguns are the same. couldn't be further from the truth. some people believe that if you tag a gun with "assult rifle" it is inherently more dangerous than someting called a "hunting rifle with a scope" - not true if you have a marksman behind the hunting rifle...some people believe that violence in all instances is wrong. would killing hitler have been wrong? some people believe that coersion (torture if you will) is always wrong. would it be wrong if it made a terrorist confess to a plot being forged to blow up more planes?

     you are correct, jose - dogmaticism can cause many problems, despite the philosophical side from which it eminates. i think if people chucked the emotion and educated themselves they would find, again, that the truth behind most things lies closer to the center than they at first believed...

    Oh, well sorry for mis-reading you then.  It seems you're one of the minority able to recognize that automatically categorizing certain things as good or bad doesn't make sense and instead conclusions should depend on the situation.  I think the reason so many do it is that it is an easy and quick shortcut but sometimes there is no shortcut to the right conclusion.

    Rich Giorge wrote of his contempt for bike riders on the sidewalk.  And I agree that since a bicyclist is silent and goes faster than a pedestrian, it is easy for  him to scare or even injure a pedestrian, especially one operating in another world,  i.e., one talking on his cell phone or plugged into his ipod.

    But Rich, here's a real-world example:  I'm a daily bicyclist who rides up the South Columbia Street hill every day.  North of Mason Farm road, I have to  make a decision.  If I stay on the pavement, I am literally six inches from death from a motorist, frequently in his own world paying half attention to his driving and half attention to his cell phone conversation.  I can't ride to the extreme right because there is a  two-inch dropoff from the asphalt pavement to the gutter pan, itself a hazard due to the debris in it.  So if I choose to ride on the pavement, I'm risking my life.  Plan B is to ride on the brick sidewalk.  It is FAR FAR SAFER for me  on that sidewalk than out in the traffic.  Am I therefore endangering the pedestrians on the sidewalk?  Not if I go slowly and announce my presence as I approach them from (their) rear.  What do you suggest?

    Turning to the behavior of UNC students on their bicyclists:  We all know of the tragic accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians that have occurred in the last two decades near UNC, and in almost all the cases, the victim was indeed at fault, either by violating the laws or simply by not paying attention, again often the cell phone and ipod thing --  it's truly sad.  But the best way I can summarize this issue is to cite a Chapel Hill bus driver who came to the Town Council in the middle 1990's, pleading (correctly) for a higher salary for all drivers.  He said  "We drive these 36 foot, 12 ton vehicles through 25,000 students who think that they are immortal".

     About a decade ago, I wrote a letter to the Triange Transit Authority board of directors in which I stated that the drivers of CH Transit are trained to be very careful in the chaos of UNC campus, while the TTA drivers seem to bring an I-40 mindset to the campus, driving more fast and more aggressively.

     Improvements, though slow, are coming.  A ped overpasses over South Road at Fetzer is coming, and eventually a wonderful ped path from Manning Drive, through a hospital arch, over the Bell Tower parking deck, across South Road (all elevated) onto Polk  Place should make that walk much more safe and enjoyable, and without any need for pedestrians to mix with the cars.


    Hi Joe... I understand about that hill but it's my understanding that on the hill up South Columbia and the hill up Franklin Street that the sidewalk acts as the bike lane.  I thought they even had the bike lane symbol painted on those sidewalks...

    And in that case I think that's appropriate.  A bicyclist coming up either of those hills is generally going to be traveling at a much lower speed than on a flat (unless they're Superman) (or Superwoman, of course).  So the low speed almost completely eliminates the possibility of you hurting a pedestrian.  When you're traveling at lower speeds, you have more time to consider what's coming at you, what you're heading towards and how to avoid hitting it.

    And in all cases I'd rather see bikers on the sidewalk as opposed to being in a dangerous situation.  And I agree with you, Joe, that the South Columbia Hill is a dangerous situation for a biker due to the narrow lanes, the drop off for the drains, the high curbing and the volume (and speed) of the traffic.

    I think that's why most people ride the sidewalks in town, because they feel safer.  Bike lanes on all roads would help but we're a ways away from that (but we're getting there).  I'm not advocating anarchy for bike riders, far from it.  Actually, I've already stated pretty firmly where I stand on what bikers should and shouldn't do... but those can't be taken as absolutes.  Much like any law (or rule or opinion) there are always exceptions.  And it's up to each individual to gauge them for their own safety and the safety of others.

    So, please Joe, stick to the sidewalks on those hills.  (By the way, I wish I had your legs if you ride up that thing daily.)  That's the smart thing to do -- you have assessed the danger and decided to stay out of that danger, and I think you've made the right decision. 

    But that being said, no one needs to be barrel-assin' down the sidewalk past Peppers Pizza on their bike on a Saturday.  Or even on a Tuesday.  Once that hill ends and you're safe, jump back into the road with the rest of the commuters.

    If you DO choose to ride on the sidewalk, please ride on the correct side.  Motorists turning right onto the main road from a side street or driveway will be watching to their left for approaching vehicles, or for a break in traffic.  Vehicles to their immediate right should be moving away from them.  They are not expecting traffic to be approaching from their right.  If you operate on the sidewalk on the left you are putting yourself in far more danger than if you rode on the right (on the walk or in the lane), even if it does "feel" safer.

    This isn't much of an issue with pedestrians, both because they move slowly and they can stop or change direction on a dime. Cyclists are operators of wheeled vehicles--thinking of them as "wheeled pedestrians" leads to dangerous conclusions.

    Visibility is key to safety.  Safety is maximized when perceived danger is greater than actual danger.

    Please don't ride on the sidewalk unless you absolutely have to, it's much more dangerous than riding in the street. I think every bike accident I've ever had happened on a sidewalk or entering/exiting a sidewalk. Instead of S. Columbia there's an alt route through the Westwood neighborhood -- Coolidge St. to Smith Ave -- Woodland -- Westwood -- W. University -- Ransom St.  It's a lot easier than biking straight up S. Columbia, too.

    For some reason when I read Joe's original post I substituted the part of North Columbia near Franklin Street (including the hill coming up MLK past the fire station into the center of town -- from Estes on up the hill) instead of SOUTH Columbia, which is my bad... sorry if that caused any confusion but Ethan surely has a much better (and more enjoyable) route up that hill right there...

    Just watch out for the drivers coming the wrong way out of Coolidge Street (it's a one-way going in but they come right out anyway - that's exactly the street I was referring to earlier on)...

    That section of South Columbia is PRIME for a bike lane, by the way... 

    Why all these posts about those shameful disobedient bicyclists? It is almost blaming the victim. Automobile operators disobley laws at least as much, with potentially deadly consequences. And when a cyclist does something dangerous, it most likely endangers themselves; motorists are mainly a threat to others. I constantly see automobile operators speeding downtown, ignoring or blocking pedestrian crosswalks, driving too close to cyclists, and swerving dangerously from behind a bus at a bus stop because they don't think they should have to wait literally thirty seconds. For only the last century or so in human history our cities have been overrun by these inherently dangerous motorized vehicles moving too fast and threatening the very lives of those who just want to walk around and bike. But we are so conditioned by the car culture that even among us supposedly enlightened progressives it is the bicyclist who is seen as the threat, and "at fault" when they are killed by a motor vehicle.

    James Coley

    Thank you Mr. Coley. I agree with you 100%.

    Since we are discussing blame I'd like to throw my opinion in. (after all isn't that what this site is for?) Who is at fault has nothing to do with who becomes injured. What I mean is while the cyclists will most likely become injured that is not necessarily due to their actions. It could be as a result of something they have no control over at all.


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