Friday, January 18, 2008

share the road in knoxville

I biked into work today, hitting my goal of riding more than driving. I thought I bring up this issue: we all need to get along out there. The Pol brought it to my attention last night that he thought bicycles on the road are ridiculous and unsafe. This kind of ignorance is pervasive in our fair city. So I want to lay some things out:

1) it's the LAW. Bicyclists are not out there just to annoy drivers. We have the right to be in the road in every state and on any road (except interstates). In addition, Tennessee has gone beyond this and passed a law that requires a motorist to give a three foot "safe zone" when passing a bicycle. Failing to do so is a Class C Misdemeanor (you'll get a ticket).

2) we have to follow the same rules. Going the correct direction in the correct lane. Stopping at red lights. Signaling (with our arms) a lane change. That's because we're vehicles too. If you see a bicyclist not obeying the traffic laws, then you can get pissed.

3) Knoxville is trying to be more bicycle friendly. The city has put in place policies and programs to increase the "bikability" of Knox Vegas (KPD seems to be a little behind on this, though. I guess they're too busy setting up cameras everywhere).

4) Bicycles are GOOD for the city. They decrease the number of people driving, which decreases traffic, air polution, oil dependency on foreign countries, obesity, you name it.

So, drivers, give us a break. If you have to slow down for a few seconds before you can pass us, deal with it (Pol). Bicycles on the road are part of the reality of living in a city- hopefully something we'll see more of in our scruffy city.

[update: I produced a batch of the stickers similar to what's at the top of the post. They're sized to fit on the average bike tube. If you want one for your bike contact me: c.king@mac.com. I'll even mail it to you]

5 comments:

em said...

thank you for this post, ck. as a fellow biker, i appreciate it. i do not bike as much as i have in the past since i work about half a block from where i live and the effort of schlepping my bike up and down the stairs would take longer than the actual ride.

BUT, you make many good points. and when i do bike, i do it because it is healthy for me and for the environment. i dont know, i assume i am just a green, earth loving, hippie pinko with socialist tendencies.

and bike riding is exhilarating.

people are naive and ignorant when it comes to the many, many benefits of cycling. thus i appreciate your post.

Mickey said...

WORD! Every once in a while I happen upon a conversation in which people are bemoaning the inconvenience of being in traffic behind a bicycle. They should be thanking us, although I admit to bailing to the sidewalk when the going gets rough.

The Pol said...

ok biking is great. its exercise, saves money, and the chicks love to see a man in spandex.

the whole share teh road thing is pretentious though. Bikes aren't cars, the roads are made for cars not bikes, sorry just accept a lower station on the transportation heirarchy and be satisfied.

stan said...

doesn't the "its the law" argument address this?

ck said...

Sorry Pol- the government makes the roads, it says bicycles are allowed, thus, roads are MADE for bikes. Next you see me on the road I'll pop a wheelie for your entertainment while you to wait to pass.