Repeat after me: “I must follow rules of the road on my bike”

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.

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  • rockdalian

    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.

    As for me, I find the paperwork far too intimidating. ;>)

  • Ymarsakar

    The solution to packs that are becoming a problem to society is putting down the animal leader of that pack.

    Grim commented about “Critical Mass” in that if he was in a car with his children and wife, and the bikers outside were pounding the car and scaring the children, Grim would put the floor to the gas pedal”.

    That’s Grim Beorn for you.

    This is a perfect example of the decadence of civilization, Book. Most sane people with common sense are not suicidal. Meaning, they do not go up to tigers and bears in order to kick them around and act like tin pot gods on earth. A bike is unarmored and with not much mass than the person riding it. A car is far more massive and protected, with no inherent physical way for riders to damage the occupant of that car except by using up a lot of time after a car’s engines have been disabled.

    Here’s the brutal truth of the matter. Riders like Critical Mass members know that car drivers are socially indoctrinated not to hit and run or hit and kill and celebrate. Critical Mass, by justifying their lawless and violence actions with the fact that cars are more powerful than bikes, is engaging in not only decadent behavior but anti-social behavior as well, Book.

    We all live in society and thus sacrifice our liberties in return for the protection of that society. Thus it may be said that we do not kill each other on a whim simply because we want to be protected from another that might feel himself free to kill on a whim if we didn’t live in a society that agreed to certain rules.

    When people purposefully take advantage of other societal members’ unwillingness to use violence because of social restrictions, in order to dominate, intimidate, and endanger numerous members of society, those people would normally be called psychopaths, serial killers, mass murderers, or sociopaths, Book.

    But we live in such an age that attempted mass murder and the threatening of innocents may be excused as rowdy bicycle riders that are just harmelss and powerless compared to homicidal Joow I mean drivers, Book. There’s decadence for ya. Which is why barbarian cultures tend to replace civilization in the cycle of history.

  • Jose

    Following my one visit to SF and Oakland, I drove north along the coast to Washington. It was a beautiful trip, but there is nothing like rounding a blind curve on a busy road and finding bicycles in front of you, even at slow speeds.

    I can appreciate wanting to bicycle up the coast and admire the scenery, but doing so on a winding road designed for, and predominately used by, motorized vehicles, is suicidal.