12.22.2010

Virtuous Cycle


This is comforting: data from Portland that suggests that more bicyclists on the road means safer roads, and not only for bicyclists. Slower, more mindful drivers means fewer high-speed collisions, which is a good thing.

Here in Philadelphia, we're trying to be bike-friendly, but a lot of bikers are jerks, which predisposes pedestrians and drivers to be against us. And, in this kind of cold, you're just not expecting the bike lane to be used by a bicyclist, because what crazy dude would think about hauling their little boy on the back of his bike, no matter how comfy and cozy are the ski masks they're wearing? Hence, I have just decided to assume that everybody around me - pedestrians and drivers - is not going to expect me to be there, and I proceed with caution accordingly.

Sure enough, I can't begin to tell you how many pedestrians have stepped off the sidewalk right into my path, or how many drivers have swerved into my lane, only to see me at the very last second, having anticipated their move, waving them through with a resigned look on my face that says, "I thought you would do that, so I stopped . . . but next time, please take the time to look first."

Here's hoping more of us will brave the elements and the roads and get around on two wheels. After all, if Portland (or Copenhagen or Amsterdam or Munich) offers any insight, it's that more bicyclists means more safety for everyone out there.
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