Stealing a turn from the fantastic DC Metro blog WashCycle I have finally decided to start a blog of my own. I don't know how often it will publish but I will endeavor to keep it current. My focus will be bicycling in general, bicycle touring, bicycle commuting, bicyclist advocacy, bicycling in GSO, NC and "green" technology as I see fit to link to it.
I should note I said bicyclist advocacy and not bicycling advocacy. There is a difference. Bicyclist advocacy works at making the operating environment better for bicyclists. Bicycling advocacy works towards getting butts on bikes. At times these groups work at crossed purposes although they often aren't obvious to the noobs to the fields. One of the more problematic planks of bicycling advocacy is the focus on paint and path. New cyclists often make very grave errors in thinking the bike lanes and separate paths are somehow safer than operating in the road using the existing rules of the road. Bike lanes offer no protection from overtaking vehicles (that white lane will not stop a drifting motorist) and often direct the cyclist to the wrong point to negotiate intersections (up against the curb is a perfect setup for a right-hook and takes the cyclist out of the field of vision of oncoming traffic thereby increasing the chance of a left-cross not to mention the issue of making a left turn). Separate paths have problems of there own if they actually go somewhere. At some point they intersect with the road network and these points have a high level of crashes because cyclists and motorists aren't sure how to deal with the interfaces.
Everything in the prior paragraph can be dealt with properly with education and enforcment of the existing vehicle code. The education piece needs to happen at multiple levels. Cyclists need to know their place in the scheme of things (best summarized as: Same Roads, Same Rights, Same Responsiblities). Motorists need to know about the cyclists rights and respect them. Law enforcement needs a better understanding of the vehicle code--there are far too many stories out there about police who take the law into their own hands and try to bully lawful cycists off the road because the officer didn't know the actual vehicle code but though bicycles were toys that had no business on the road. Finally the judiciary needs to be brought up to speed. Too many judges don't know the code until it is spelled out for them. The vehicle code is designed to promote safety, motorist convenience is always second fiddle.