Hey, I’m cycling here?

I was going to post this on Friday but thought I’d wait a bit. Calm Tranquillity Happy Spaces. It’s been a bad week for me out on Dunedin’s streets. Last weekend I had to step back from the path of a speeding van, which I wouldn’t mind to much… if I wasn’t on a pedestrian crossing. So if you drive a Chub Security van please watch out for pedestrians on pedestrian crossings. I wasn’t surprised though – which is kind of lucky otherwise my assumption he had seen me crossing and would start slowing, any time now, would have been wrong. It’s not the first time a similar incident has happened to me on that particular crossing however it has been the scariest encounter of the automobile kind I had had for a while not on a bike which brings me to Friday afternoon.

Last Friday I was cycling up Moray Place where it joins Burlington Street. It’s kind of a Y intersection. Anyway I had turned the corner – You can’t see on the map but the right of way is from The Princes St end of Moray place down Burlington Street – and next thing I know I am being forced against the curb by a taxi. A bang on the window makes him aware that I am there and I narrowly avoid being squashed, We both stop. I enquire (Probably not the most politely given the adrenalin factor) “Didn’t you see me?” or something along this line and he starts getting into me for being in the wrong place on the road? He refuses to tell me exactly where on the road I should be – (Perhaps that’s the problem) A pedestrian backs me up and given that traffic is backing up I decide to give up trying to figure out where exactly he expects cyclists to cycle and move on to the organic shop.

It didn’t seem like a major incident – and I have had worse encounters – but I was still shaking when I left the organic shop after making my purchase.

I know quite a few people who refuse to cycle on Dunedin’s Streets as they don’t feel safe. While not the best weather for a cycling city during winter – in the Summer months surely enabling people to chose a really efficient (perhaps most?) form of transport would be a good idea? So how do we educate drivers to watch out for bikes? I don’t have a solution but I know that since I started cycling in Dunedin my awareness of cycles on the road increased dramatically both in the urban environment and open road. What are your thoughts?

ps: Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a Google maps directions mash up that designed for cyclists that took into account the gradient of the path…

9 thoughts on “Hey, I’m cycling here?

  1. Yeah seen a few like that before

    I was thinking more I’m I want to go what’s the best route to take…

    Would be an interesting search. You would have to plot some routes and then score. Interesting challenge for after the election maybe…

  2. Cyclists everywhere feel your pain. Motorists just aren’t trained to see bicycles, half the time they don’t even see eachother! Even when they see us they don’t want to concede an inch of road space to us.

  3. I would say I have the same isues. Motorist are horrible at looking out for people on bikes. I bike everywhere(no car). The worst offenders seem to be women. I honestly believe that there is a difference in how men and women drive. With men driving , I am afraid they don’t care about my safety, women don’t seem to know I am there. Women bike in much the same manner..scary

  4. I second the mapmyride recommendation- you can view an elevation profile of your mapped route. The only drawback is that it’s a little slow.

    As for the joys of cycling with cars, I feel you. I had a lovely encounter with some dump trucks near a quarry the other day. Apparently their policy is to hit the (scary loud) horn and then keep right on driving whether I end up alongside or underneath. I think it comes with the territory.

  5. i know what your feeling bro, coz i’m cycling too, esp. to go working, daily, but i live in a little town named mataram in Lombok Indonesia, the motorist and car still not aware of the existence of bicycler like us, but, the good things is, it;’s (once again) a small town indeed, which mean, they arent so many of them, so i still can ride my bike easier than when i did in the bigger city one..

    that’s my opinion..

  6. I ride in Boston streets all the time. Some think I’m crazy, but I have never had an accident involving a vehicle in over 30 years. One of my guiding rules for crazy congested streets (and we have a lot of them) is not to get out of the way. They need to see you clearly, so take up the room a car would take, Get right in the middle of the lane. You have the right as long as you aren’t an ass about it. If you have strong legs, most of the time you can go as fast as a car anyway.

    In Boston, we’ve been fortunate for over 20 years to have the “Boston Bike Map”, produced by Rubel BikeMaps. It shows everything about suggested routes and elevations and contains wonderful advice about city biking.

  7. The Boston road map certainly looks good as for owning the road I totally agree. Nothing annoys me more than the current initiatives with regards to cycle lanes in NZ. They make the existing lanes ever so slightly narrower and paint a line on the road demarking the cycle lane. Unfortunately due to the ratio of Cars to Bikes and that bikes take up less space there is not usually a cyclist there so Cars often pull into them without looking, even worse will use as a temporary parking zone. Buses are often to wide for the narrow lanes. The end result from drivers is often that’s their (cyclists) lane this is mine I will drive as fast as I like past you. Which sucks especially when the driver is behind the wheel of a truck.
    I feel much more comfortable if I have to cycle on the road the less concrete the rules are. Then people have to think instead of blindly follow and that leads to more intelligent choices that fit the situation.
    I would link those EU cities – Switzerland I think but have to go.

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