Video of the week...and a rant
(updated: Apr 30, 2010)
I'll start off with the video. First of all, has anyone ridden here? It looks awesome. I would go here, but once I get to the mountains, like near Boone, I just ride there. I-40 is now open through the NC mountains, but it's still a haul.
Anyway, one of the guys in front, the one that crashes, is sporting a $900 set of I-9 wheels.
Now onto other stuff...
Yesterday my wife and her friend were riding around the Porter's Neck loop, doing a training ride for the White Lake triathlon. Some guy in a Mercedes pulls up to her friend and starts telling her she shouldn't be riding in the car lane (yes, he said car lane). There is no shoulder or bike lane or anything on this part of the road. There were also no other cars around -- this was 10am. She actually apologized for being in the lane. Well, the guy didn't stop, and continued to harass and threaten her, saying you don't belong on the roads, and said he was going to "come back and run you over", until she finally screamed at the guy and called him a "f---ing maggot". Then he proceed to cut my wife off at the intersection of Porter's Neck and Edgewater Club. When she told me about it, one of the first things I asked was, "Did you get the license plate." Unfortunately they did not. That's one thing anyone who braves the roads needs to train themselves to do: memorize the plate. Because to me, threatening to run someone over with a car is the same as threatening to kill you. I wonder if this guy listened to that a-hole Tony Kornheiser on ESPN, who encourages running over cyclists. I'm getting my concealed weapon license.
Which brings me to another topic that I planned to write about later, but should bring up now. They are planning on installing or have already started round-a-bouts at Porter's Neck and Edgewater and also Middle Sound Loop. I confess I haven't seen the plans but I am for them. They are traffic calming devices and that's good for cyclists, right? However, I am concerned about going through them on a bike, mixed in there with the cars like a blender. Hopefully the speeds of the autos will be reduced enough that it's not a problem. As it stands right now, drivers go 60 mph down Middle Sound and Porter's Neck Rd. I know people have mixed feelings about round-a-bouts, so what do you think?
Then you have the big controversy down in Carolina Beach where they took away a lane and added a bike lane. It was on the news but I didn't catch it. Steve was there and spoke up (nice going Steve). Here's the report: Carolina Beach keeps new traffic pattern.
One resident said, "people are leaving". Oh, the horror...I can't go 45mph anymore. Folks, they are taking away lanes in every city and parking spots and putting in walking and cycling infrastructure. And yes, people are complaining, just like that aforementioned idiot Tony Kornheiser. But since WWII all the planning, zoning, and infrastructure has been designed for autos only, with zero consideration for walking and biking. Now all the DOT is doing is giving equal consideration to all modes of transportation, not just cars. People here in the US have only known car transport all their lives, they can't think outside of their metal cages, so naturally they are defensive.
And just like anything, if there's only one way to do something, then everyone does it that way. Everybody drives. Because what choice do they have? Hmmmm, drive, or get run over? So then drivers can't use the argument that bike lanes are a waste of money because no one uses them. Build it and they will come. I've proven it with Blue Clay.
Here's some more proof. Look where NC is:
It doesn't even need to cost a lot to start. You could change the zoning so that all residential areas must have pedestrian and bike connections to schools and shopping centers. Because 40% of all trips are two miles or less, this could reduce traffic a lot. Simple.
Then you still have gems like these, from the comments below the WWAY article:
"I do NOT think any bikes should allowed on ANY road without a bike lane! For instance: I travel Blue Clay Rd. on Sunday mornings and most times it is full of bikes! It makes me so nervous..even when you get room to pass, what if they hit a rock or something and it causes their bike to swerve or even wreck them and you hit them? You are both ruined for life. So what will they do next? Sweep all the county roads? FOR A BIKE? PU-LEEEZZZZ
I don't think they should be allowed on the roads at all! Never! They don't have motors. They should have to ride on bike trails ONLY. No exceptions."
Full of bikes? The horror! Too many of these types around here, esp. with the motor comment...classic.
Nope, just remain trapped within our sickly society and beholden to a cycle that can only lead to our ruin, a death spiral that cheap oil has enabled. The ongoing oil rig explosion and spill should tell you just how dangerous and expensive it is getting to feed our addiction. It's time to break this cycle of f'd up zoning mandates, cul-de-sacs, auto culture, fast-food, drivethru's...it will be our undoing. That day is approaching fast.
Build more of this:
Less of this:
By the way, this new crossing Enhancer pictured above is showing very positive results. From Joshua Mello today:
"The Enhancer (RRFB) at South 3rd Street (US 17 Business) at Ann Street is
showing miraculous results to date. We have been observing and using it
over the past week and the rate of driver compliance is astounding. Just
this morning, I used it twice during rush hour (in plain clothes), and, in
both instances, drivers in all four lanes yielded the right-of-way to me
almost immediately. Below are the usage numbers for the 60 hours between
8:00pm on Tuesday and 8:00am this morning. It was activated a total of 121
times, for an average of 2 times per hour. It was activated an average of
3.3 times per daylight hour and 0.9 times per nighttime hour."
Great job, Joshua.
We need more cyclists to overpower the haters. More cyclists equals more voting power equals more influence equals more cycling opportunities, both on and off-road. It's how it happened in every city. Remember, they did not start out bike friendly, including Austin (I know firsthand because I lived there for eight years), Portland, and Davis, CA. Or better yet, become an advocate and get people into cycling. I don't care how you do it. Tell them they'll have a heart attack if they don't. Just do it.
1. Jay said...
Great write up Erol. I have spent some time up in Canada over the last ten years or so with my job, and it's amazing the different mindset towards alternate transportation. They have shared usage paths and bike lanes everywhere... Hopefully as gas prices continue to increase here in the U.S., people will start to see that biking is the perfect solution...
May 1, 2010 @ 3:49 AM
2. Sir Peanuts said...
I am all in favor of all bike lanes everywhere. I do have one gripe about the way they put together the Carolina Beach ones. There is a small portion that runs behind a large selection of parked cars. The way they did that, the cars can't see very much when backing out and the most difficult thing to see is if there is a bike coming. I heard already one guy got knocked over due to it. If they had run the lane in front of the cars with a concrete blog separating the lane from the front of the parked car then it might have worked better. As it is, that small part is a danger. The rest I am in total love with.
May 1, 2010 @ 5:16 AM
3. Brinker said...
I have ridden porters neck loop several hundred times over the last 15 years and have never dealt with anyone with an attitude on that particular loop. It would be great to figure out who that was, because he needs a paradigm shift. I hope your wife continues to ride there and doesn't have anymore issues.
May 2, 2010 @ 6:49 PM
4. SBA said...
I hope so. She bought a bike this winter and is just starting to get into it. Now I'm worried the bike will end up just hanging in the garage with the cobwebs like so many others.
Hey, Ed and Michael found a way to Blue Clay through that new baseball park behind Laney. We rode there today and didn't have to get on any busy roads except for going over the N. College overpass over I-40. It was great.
May 2, 2010 @ 7:01 PM
5. Mrs. Bikes said...
The incident with my friend and I actually happened on the Bald Eagle/Porters Neck Road part of that loop. On Bald Eagle a few hundred yards before turning right on Porters Neck Road--the very empty part of that ride. It was pretty windy, and I was a little bit ahead of my friend, so I didn't hear what the guy said to her. And by the time he came up next to me, turned right and cut me off, all I could see was the side of the car (silver Mercedes sedan). I really should have tried to get the plate, but I didn't even know he'd been harassing my friend until after the fact. I thought that it might have been someone she knew. Before this, I've never had any trouble on that loop except for maybe the occasional person pulling out of Porters Neck Plantation or one of the nursing homes and not seeing me until the last second. Oh, and I've almost been taken out by a bleepin' squirrel.
May 2, 2010 @ 7:36 PM
6. james said...
Not to change the subject but where is the video from?
May 3, 2010 @ 6:12 PM
7. SBA said...
Windrock, Oliver Springs, TN
May 3, 2010 @ 8:28 PM
8. brado1 said...
rode there about 6 yrs ago lots of fun
was there for the RedBull Nightshift DH a year or two ago.
May 8, 2010 @ 3:25 PM
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