Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't call it dangerous

A modest amount of controversy on Cycling in Wichita regarding whether and when to ride on the sidewalk. If you follow the links from the post, you'll see that it seems to be pretty acceptable behavior within certain parameters (riding in the right direction, walking across intersections, taking care of pedestrians). It's also legal in Wichita, I understand, except in a certain area downtown.

The controversy is in the comments. I commented that just the other day I had to ride from my office at Woodlawn and Central to the Starbucks on Rock and Central for a meeting. There is no other way to get there than directly along Central, which is a four-lane road, no shoulder, with a 40 mph speed limit. I considered this dangerous, so I rode on the sidewalk. Coppercorn jumped all over my s**t saying that I shouldn't say it's dangerous, it's not, she does it all the time, and linking to a how-to ride in traffic page.

Well, to each his or her own, I guess. I can't even imagine how I would move from riding in the right lane on Central across the 40 mph traffic to the left hand turn lanes at Rock to get to the Starbucks. I have chosen, and most of the people I have spoken to have chosen (even experienced bikers) to stay off the main roads, especially at rush hour peak times. For instance, I was able to take Tara home from my meeting, it parallels Rock between Central and Douglas and lets me out meters from the entrance to my street. But on the other hand, I do ride on Douglas during the morning rush, at least the 200 or so yards from Rock to the first entry point into the Rockwell neighborhood, which is the back way I take to work. It's a major road, but it's not Central.

All I know is, if my wife found out that I was riding on Central at 5 in the afternoon a car wouldn't have to kill me, because she would.


John B. said...

I was puzzled by her response to you as well. All I can figure is that she assumed that those who choose not to ride in those streets that she and her husband do implicitly calls her judgment into question--which, of course, was not the case, as I tried to state.


ssr said...

with all due respect, (ahem) I really don't care what any of the other bikers are doing around here. Y'all can ride in the middle of the busiest street in town during rush hour and then go home and wax enthusiastically about it to all your buds.
You, however, had better stay on the sidewalk because I prefer you alive and not dead. This is coming from a person who has been hit by a car and it was not when I was riding my bike on the sidewalk. (and, yes, I was in the proper lane, using hand signals and following all the rules. The idiot who hit me was just impatient and itching to get to the stop sign 30 seconds faster than me).
anyway, it is the sidewalk for me all the way. I have now been riding for almost 2 weeks and have seen one, count 'em one, pedestrian. he didn't seem too fazed by my bike riding on the sidewalk and I think *all* the car/truck/semi drivers were very happy not to share the road!

coppercorn said...

I am sorry I offended you.

If you can't see why I was upset over you using the word "dangerous" then there is really no point in continuing the discussion.

coppercorn said...

And, I'm sorry, that comment is a little more strident that I intended.

rebmoti said...

That's fine, I wasn't offended, I just disagree with you. And so, as I predicted, does DW (also known as SSR above). Everytime I see someone driving in a SUV with one hand while talking on the cellphone, it reaffirms my belief that, in cycling as in so much of human behavior, discretion is the better part of valor.