Friday, November 06, 2009

New Cyclist Finds Comfort On Spruce St Bike Lane

The Daily News follows new bicycle commuter Thomas Sestak on his ride from South Philly to Center City. He admits that he is not comfortable in heavy traffic and uses the sidewalk on South Broad Street (which is regrettable because riding on sidewalks is against the law!) However when he arrives at Spruce St he feels comfortable in the bike lane. Goes to show that protected bicycle facilities do make bicyclists feel safer.


Dr. Phila said...

i'll be damned if that guy doesn't work at the Clean Air Council! I used to use that same entrace

Anonymous said...

i understand it's against the law, but i don't see the need to give the guy a hard time for using the sidewalk. until cyclists can get insurance that covers them from accidents AND the police actually handle bike accidents the same way they do vehicle accidents, riding on the sidewalk shouldn't be illegal, in my opinion. sometimes it's the only option when feeling threatened by traffic that doesn't make room for you

Peter said...

Anonymous - not only is the guy a risk to pedestrians, riding on the sidewalk, he's a risk to himself. Look at how he rides out into intersections when it is obvious he can't really see the cross traffic well enough in time to stop.

The major risk in bicycling is getting hit in intersections, and riding on the sidewalk increases this risk 4x or more.

At least he rides a little safer in the bikelane, although I still saw a couple of moves by him that made me cringe for his safety.

He's obviously a somewhat experienced bicyclist, but for some reason he bikes in a manner that is extremely dangerous. I'm surprises he hasn't been hit by a car.

I wonder why someone with some bicycling experience hasn't learned to ride in a safer manner?

Andrew J. Besold said...
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Andrew J. Besold said...

Yes, as an LCI I agree he is putting himself into more danger but to him riding on the sidewalk has the perception of being safer and that's why many do it. Not everybody is going to feel comfortable riding in heavy traffic no matter how much training they have.

Heck!! I don't feel comfortable riding in heavy traffic either!

This is why designated (sometimes protected) on-road facilities are very important in a city environment.

Peter said...

Andy B - look at the video. Many of the streets that the bicyclist is riding next to on a sidewalk have very little traffic. As a LCI, you should be concerned as to why people ride in a dangerous matter, not promoting facilities that, for bicyclists who know how to ride safely, increase their risks.

Andrew J. Besold said...

Don't go all John Forester on me now Peter.

I respectfully disagree with your and the common vehicular cycling notion that ALL bicycle specific facilities are more dangerous then properly riding the existing roads as built without bike facilities. Some recent research would seem to agree me (See: ).

As an example, I'll ride the Schuylkill River Trail over Kelly Drive any day! However, I'll slow it down to an appropriate speed when trail traffic is heavy AND I'll be very careful at the driveway entrances into the park. My training and experience has taught me how dangerous those driveways can be. Overall, I'd rather ride relaxed, then worrying about the homicidal drivers doing 50mph in the 12foot lanes on Kelly Drive. Still, the annoying speeding roadies on the trail do pose a real hazard but I'll choose the lesser of two evils.

Finally, I believe as long as the bicycle facility is built in a way that essential replicates proper vehicular cycling technique I have little problem with it. Other more inventive design can be good too but not always.

Still, out in the countryside where one will never see a bike lane (and really shouldn't) VC is the ONLY way to ride.