Bicycling in New Orleans.
Not only in New Orleans, but everywhere. It’s a huge thing. It came back. Especially in urban places. Biking is a much more efficient way of getting around the normal ground transportation. It’s better for the planet. It’s better for the city. And, most importantly, it’s better for the bike rider.
Look at the bottom picture. That’s a ghost bike. Do I need to write more? Just in case. A ghost bike is a memorial to a biker rider who was killed in traffic. Get that? Killed. In a stupid way.
This is where a kind of rant starts.
Be careful. On the street. Take nothing for granted.
A few weeks ago, a bike rider passed me going with traffic in the other direction. That was fine. But, then he passed me agin. Right next to my driver’s side door. He apparently made a u-turn, rode up next to my car, cut in front of my car and kept going in the other direction. In rush hour traffic.
I saw another biker make a sharp left turn in from of a big semi-truck because the truck had to swing out to the right to make the left turn. Wide load, you know? The biker made his turn just to the left of the truck. The truck driver could have hit him and never have even seen him. This is at an intersection were a couple of riders had already been killed.
Bikers want bike lanes and drivers to pay attention to them. I’m with that. I certainly don’t want to hurt anybody. But, some bike lanes are truly impractical on our very old narrow streets which were designed for horse and buggies or Model-Ts. Most bikers will say that drivers should pay attention to them. I get that. I do. But, a car is much heavier than you and your bike. Look after yourself. Don’t do stupid things.
More to the point, bikers must (not should) follow normal traffic rules. The two events that I described could never have been done in a car. Maybe not even on a motorcycle. If those two riders had been killed or even hurt, I’m pretty sure it would have been their own faults.
Who cares about blame? Dead is dead. Unless something has changed that I don’t know about, you can’t come back from it.
So, that’s it.
I suppose this falls into the category of taking care of, and looking after each other. An ongoing subject on Storyteller. At least this time, we can work on this a little more easily. It was brought on by an old colleague’s post on Facebook who said that he got his first ticket for not stopping his bike at a stop sign or red light. He’s in his forties. He has a family.
Think about that.