Friday, June 11, 2010

How to Not Get Hit by Cars

I was listening to the Bill McKibben talk, "Earth to Humans: Enough Already," and at one point he talked about his 5-day walk across Vermont to call for 80% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2050.  With the oil spill in the gulf going full-bore, why don't we have a walk across Florida -- say, from Tallahassee to Pensacola, to call for extreme energy reform.  Eighty percent reduction by 2050 isn't going to cut it anymore, I think. 

Anyway, I was thinking, how long would it take to walk/bike/Segway across Florida, from Tallahassee to Pensacola?  Before I get to the answer for that, as I was searching on Google, I came across an oldie but a goodie of bicycle safety, Michael Bluejay's seminal "How to Not Get Hit by Cars," on his Bicycle Austin website.  I mentioned this site in a post from 2007, and looking over it again I realized I should post it here because it is very relevant to situation right now with HB 971 and the wording in the bill that would require cyclists by law to ride on the right-hand shoulder or in bike lanes.  After reading the bicycle safety guide again, I decided to post this screen shot because it makes a very good case about why the wording in the bill is not a good idea:

Even if you are riding on the right-hand side of the road, you are still at risk of colliding into a car.  I encourage folks to read the rest of the guide -- it's fairly short and succinct in its advice. 

Last night I was thinking about another reason why this would be a bad idea.  Since DJ got a new bike for his birthday, he has been wanting to go on evening bike rides when he gets home from school.  I've been incredibly nervous on these rides because DJ is still a little inexperienced with a bigger bike, and he has been looking down at the pavement in front of him instead of looking for cars.  On our way to the new bike trail (one of his favorite trips), I have to start yelling at him when we get closer to Main Street and go past the Kangaroo's really busy driveway.  On the sidewalks he rides in front of me, but  on the side streets I like to ride to the left of him, so that I can see cars coming from behind or in front, and generally play defense with the traffic.  If this new law went into place, I wouldn't be able to ride to his left, since the law was worded to stop 2-or-more-abreast team cycling.

UPDATE:  I just realized that I never did say how long it would take to walk/ride/run to Pensacola from Tallahassee.  Well, I decided not to do anything with this idea, anyways, so my apologies if you were expecting an actual answer :(

Got the screen shot from
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