Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Dark Side of Spring

Spring almost always evokes a joyful time - the hard winter is over, flowers are blooming, birds chirping, bees are mating, and soon the villagers will go out and plant sorghum or something. In Atlanta, however, the relationship with spring is more ambiguous. For one thing, the winters are pretty mild and the first flowers appear in February. And while the spring is beautiful, it also means that another long, hot, muggy summer is on the horizon. Then there is the pollen. I don't have a problem with it (knock on wood!) but many people do. For at least a month, people are obsessing over daily pollen counts and even staying home from work.

And then there are the new bicycle riders of spring. Every year, people who haven't ridden a bike since they were 10 come creaking out of their driveways. Now, I am really happy to see new riders in general. I think people should just get out there and start traversing the city by bicycle regardless of age, experience, or current physical activity level. But not regardless of traffic rules.

Yes, you were allowed to ride on the sidewalk as a kid. Now you are not. You are required to follow traffic laws like everyone else on the road. There are classes to help you learn the rules and get comfortable with following them.
Riding on the sidewalk against traffic increase your risk of a crash by 5 times

I don't want to sound negative, but seriously. I probably saw two dozen people on bicycles on my commute home yesterday, and every single last one was doing something illegal and dangerous. Riding on the sidewalk. Riding the wrong way on a very busy one-way street. Riding the wrong way in traffic. Running a red light. Believe me, I understand how poorly our transportation infrastructure accommodates bicycle traffic, but at least try...

Maybe the city will start sending out a Georgia Bike Sense guide to every resident each spring and add bicycle education to middle and high school curricula, hmmm?

1 comment:

  1. I've nominated I Dream Of Bicycling for a Liebster Blog award: