Last Updated: Friday, 23 August 2013 14:57
Written by Admin
Outside.com writer Tom Vanderbilt rode the substantial 3.5 hour bike commute with New Yorker Joe Simonetti to learn about the day-to-day challenges faced by the commuter cyclist in the US.
Some noteworthy quotes:
The little things that drivers think are excusable—forgetting a turn signal, weaving a bit as they fumble for their Big Gulps—can range from frustrating to life-threatening for a cyclist.
When accidents do happen, they can generate as much vitriol as concern, as drivers circle their station wagons and trot out now familiar arguments: that the roads are meant for cars, or that cyclists don't pay for the roads—a particularly unwarranted charge, given that local streets are paid for primarily by sales and property taxes. There's a feeling among many drivers that cyclists, either by their ignorance of the law or by their blatant disregard for it, are asking for trouble.
"The majority of drivers go out of their way to give me room, and are decent and good drivers around cyclists," says [Jeff] Frings, a news cameraman and avid rider who lives in the suburbs of Milwaukee.
As various studies have found, the more cyclists and cycling infrastructure a town has, the safer it becomes statistically, not just for cyclists but for drivers and pedestrians alike.
In thinking about how to improve driver-cyclist relations in America, the easiest thing is to simply get more people on bikes.
To cycle in America today is to engage in an almost political act, but what's often obscured is the simple idea of pleasure. Andy Clarke notes that bike-component maker Shimano, in some research it conducted with the design firm IDEO, found that when you talk to adults and ask them about their earliest childhood memory, "it invariably involves a bike—exploring their neighborhood, careening down a hill, ditching the training wheels." We need to rediscover that, he says. "They don't want to feel like they have to be Lance. People want to be normal, and they want cycling to be a part of normal life."