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Re: [carfree_cities] 2 hit and runs in 2 days and safety principles to be derived from the experience

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  • Doug Salzmann
    ... I hesitate to contribute to this thread, because it really *is* off-topic for this list, but it s also extremely important, so. . . just a few more
    Message 1 of 2 , May 6, 2001
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      Simon wrote:
      > > I suspect that if one is assiduous in obeying the rules of Vehicular
      > > Cycling it will also work ... but do I have the courage? I would very
      > > much like to cycle with you in Montreal and see your principles in
      > > action

      Richard replied:
      > I've applied them in Los Angeles, and if they work here, they work
      > anywhere, I suspect.

      I hesitate to contribute to this thread, because it really *is* off-topic
      for this list, but it's also extremely important, so. . . just a few more
      comments before we wrench ourselves back to carfree cities:

      I know how Simon feels, and how frightening the prospect seems to many,
      perhaps most, cyclists, but there is just no question that Wade and Richard
      are correct. Vehicular cycling is a safer way to share the roads with
      autos, by an order of magnitude, than any other style of operation.

      With respect to the situation discussed earlier, cyclists should always
      take the lane when it is too narrow to permit safe side-by-side operation
      of bicycles and motor vehicles. It may feel scary at first, but I assure
      you that motorists are much more likely to hit a cyclist when squeezing
      past in a narrow lane than when forced to slow down and wait behind a
      cyclist making full use of the lane. And you should never ride in the door
      zone.

      Quite frankly, the unpredictable, furtive, darting, law-breaking,
      sidewalk-and-gutter-bunny style of bicycle operation that prevails almost
      everywhere in North America is not only more dangerous, is not merely
      evidence of operator incompetence, it also demonstrates the same sort of
      arrogant, selfish me-firstism that characterizes our auto-dominated
      culture. Cyclists who operate this way typically treat pedestrians as
      poorly as motorists treat them.

      Having said all that, I need to confess that I have been cycling and
      walking, in urban and suburban areas, less and less over the past few
      years, as my increasing girth will testify. In both cases, it's not so
      much that I'm afraid, although it can certainly be frightening out there.
      Rather, the noisy, stinking, soul-destroying mess has finally left me too
      disgusted to want to bother. If we can't build some livable carfree urban
      districts, I'm heading back to the woods.

      Let's get on with it.

      -Doug
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