As I was driving my daughter to a play date today, I found myself on a 35 mile an hour road leading to two freeway on-ramps (one north, one south), stuck behind three bicyclists going 5 miles an hour. Immediately to my right were (a) a bike lane and (b) an entirely separate bike path. They were causing a traffic back-up which was, I guess, better than the alternative, which would have been an inattentive driver plowing into the back end of one of these people.
I used this situation to tell my children of the study that found that most bike accidents occur because bikes don’t follow road rules. They drive in car lanes, but completely ignore the rules governing either cars or bikes. They make themselves extremely vulnerable. At long last, though, towns are starting to crack down. Sausalito, which is something of a bike mecca because of its position at the immediate north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, is finally, preventing bikers from committing suicide on the front end of innocent cars:
An increasing number of bicycle accidents in Sausalito has officials concerned about safety as police write tickets and conduct stings to slow riders who fly through the city.
While most drivers coming to Marin zoom past Sausalito on Highway 101, the city is the gateway for bicyclists who ride north over the Golden Gate Bridge, down Alexander Avenue and onto busy Bridgeway, where cars, pedestrians and bicyclists mix.
“There are places where you get wedged up between moving cars and parked cars, and there are pedestrians,” said Ken Eichstaedt, who has been riding through the city to his job in San Francisco for the past 17 years. “You have to be aware when you ride in Sausalito.”
But, increasingly, riders are unaware or don’t care
Sausalito Councilman Paul Albritton said “Spandex warriors” who ride in groups through the city are the biggest problem.
“They come in packs and refuse to ride single-file and they are going 25 to 30 miles an hour and they bang on cars and spit at cars and have a pack mentality,” he said.
“They just come flying through town.”
As you can see, I’m not libertarian at all about this one. That is, I don’t believe that, if biker riders want to be stupid, they should be allowed to be stupid. This is the kind of stupidity that involves innocents. It is way too much to ask a driver who inadvertently kills a Rambo biker to give up guilt simply because it was the biker’s fault.