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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekend Snapshot: Number 23


I thought I'd feature bicycles for my weekend snapshot. Since I'm combining a post about bicycles and WS, feel free to flip through the photos and skip the long post. I know there are a lot of WS to visit for participants. I may not get to many weekend snapshot posts until later as work is starting to interfere with my blogging. Imagine that.
Bikes are a great way to conserve fuel, and also fun for recreation. I have family members who use bikes for their main form of transportation. I will admit that I haven't ridden a bike in three years but I do try to walk to stores that are close by, and am going to try to do more and more of that. I have mixed feeling about what is the safest way for someone to ride a bike on a major road, like the bicyclist I photographed above while Bill was driving. On the one hand, I feel like if a bike is on a road without a bike lane, the bike should take up a full lane like a car does. That way, cars would have to pass when it's safe in the passing lane and the bike could pass a car the same way, if they had that much steam. If I don't feel like it's safe to share a lane with a bike, I stay behind them and wait until I have room to pass. However, in this particular case, the bike passed us staying near the shoulder as we slowed for the stoplight, and then when the traffic moved again, Bill safely passed the bike staying near the center lane (both our car and the bike were sharing a mutual lane). To my mind, a regular size lane is barely wide enough for that and my concern is the unexpected.
The town where I live has rather extensive bike lanes and recreational bike paths. The map above shows those lanes. All the dark lines indicate special lanes for bikes, although the green ones are off the road and are part of the recreational paths so the cyclist and pedestrian share lanes. The state where I live has a division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and in my city alone there are 150 miles of signed bicycle routes, according to the site. I was surprised to find that as part of the highway bike lanes, NC has nine different routes with 3,000 miles of bike lanes. The mountains to sea bike lanes which go from one side of the state to the other is 700 miles. As impressive as that sounds, most of the roads where I live don't have bike lanes. Sometimes to get from one place to another, it's necessary for a bicyclist to ride on roads where they share the lane with cars.
Yesterday when Bill and I went on a walk, bikers of all sizes and shapes were out on the recreational trails full force. It was an unseasonably warm day and perfect for a walk or a bike ride. I related to the man jogging with the children on their bikes because I used to jog behind my daughter when she was a small child on a bike. One combination that always makes me nervous is when there is a parent with a toddler in a seat behind them on a bike. It's sort of hard to see but in the photograph below, that pink blob in the small of the bikers back is actually a bike helmet on his toddler who is riding with him. I think it's great as long as he doesn't wipe out. Having seen a few bike accidents on the trails I always get a little nervous about the toddler seats. There was another cyclist with an infant in a pack on his back but I wasn't quick enough to get that shot. I was very nervous seeing someone with a baby on their back while they rode a bike.When I decided to feature bikes on my weekend snapshot I knew I was going to talk about bike lanes. I think bike lanes are a great way to make it easier for people who want to safely use bikes for transportation. Something I didn't know, until I found the site which had the information about what is available to encourage safe bicycle routes where I live, was that there is a program to encourage children to ride bikes and walk to school. I was pleased to find that there was a safe routes to school program. There is both a program in my home state as well as a federal initiative to encourage programs throughout the U.S. where there are initiatives for children to walk and ride bikes to school, safely.
When I was in junior high and high school, I road my bike to school. The only school my daughter attended which was close enough for her to ride her bike was second grade through fifth grade. When she decided she wanted to ride her bike in third grade, I walked or jogged behind her because I didn't think she was old enough to go by herself. I did let her go the long way by herself in fifth grade but she had to promise me not to take the more direct route on a busy street. I'm glad my city is trying to encourage safe routes for children to walk or ride their bikes to school.
In terms of bike safety in general, I think it's like everything else. If we would all be considerate and pay attention there would be less accidents. I've seen people in cars speeding by a bike when there was barely enough room and every time it makes me want to scream. I have had trouble on the recreational paths which are shared by walkers and bikers. Occasionally I've been walking along staying all the way to the right when bikers 3 across have come speeding up and I've ended up jumping off the path. A few times I've thought I was going to get run over by someone on a bike. It's mostly a matter of everyone using their head. The NHTSA site (U.S.) has some basic information about bicycle safety. I found a good article about a study showing that bike lanes prevent over correction by drivers. I am sure that I'm guilty of over correction because I'm so fearful of hitting someone on a bike that I pull as far away from them as I can get. The danger there is if another car isn't aware that I'm pulling over and they come zipping by me. I haven't had a bike related accident but I understood that over correction can be a risk.
Since I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I haven't ridden a bike in three years you may wonder why I've written this long post about this topic. At a personal level I have a sister who uses her bikes as her main form of transportation. My daughter lives in the midwest now and hasn't been riding her bike during the bitter cold winter, but she used a bike for one of her main forms of transportation during the warmer months. I have many friends and family members who do a lot of recreational bike riding (my friend Guess Who comes to mind). But even without the personal connections, I see people on bikes all the time where I live. Some are riding safely, some aren't. Some of the cars are considerate, some aren't. It's a no brainer to me that with rising fuel costs, people should be encouraged to ride bikes to work and school but the safety issues have to be tackled.I have been insecure about riding my bike in recent years because of my physical issues. However, when I was thinking about doing a weekend snapshot post about bikes, I thought I'd take a picture of my bike. If I do build my confidence up, I will inflate the tires to an appropriate level with the tire pump. I will wear my red helmet which makes it easy to spot me. I will fill up the thermos with water and stay hydrated. If I'm sharing a recreational trail with a walker, I'll holler passing on your left and I will pass leaving the pedestrian enough room to stay on the trail.

Happy riding to the cyclists who read my blog. I hope I've at least covered the basics.

Weekend Snapshot





36 comments:

WillThink4Wine said...

The scenery in very peaceful. I wish we had somewhere like that to ride, or stroll here.

Sandy Carlson said...

What marvelous scenery. These people look like they're having fun and getting some good exercise.

Lynn said...

I actually like your picture with the bikers on the woods with a bridge on the foreground.

napaboaniya said...

Cycling is good for excerise. But I'll be tooo lazy to cycle everyday or for long distance :P heehee...

janet said...

you always take great shots carver. i love the ones with huge trees at the background the most.

stev & emz said...

wow! cool! i want to ride a bicycle but i dont know how to! hehehe.. thats weird huh? i got an accident when I was a kid and bruise myself on the knee and after that I decided that I would never learn how to ride a bicycle. lol. i will try this summer

Juliana RW said...

I love riding bicycle also. I like ur photos :D

Will u visit my WS Thanks.

Larawannabe said...

What a coincidence! I was just telling 'the world' that I'd like to learn how to ride a bike this year. I think they're good for the environment and health.

Liza said...

Beautiful bicycle snapshots! Makes me want to go back into biking. My husband and I used to go mountain biking during weekends. Now that the kids are big, maybe we should.

Have a lovely week ahead.

Mar said...

Love that scenery, great shots, Carver.

Jeanne said...

i love all of your pictures...great shots. Happy Weekend!

Guess Who (???) said...

Thank you my Darling Friend! This is such a nice, informative post.
PULEEZE EVERYBODEE, JUST SHARE THE ROAD! You are so right, it goes both ways... and you are so right to say that it is mostly a matter of everyone just using their heads. (Good one, Carv!)
I am a big bike lane/rails to trails girl myself. I am terrified of the traffic, which bugs me because I love to ride. I would love to ride for transportation as well as exercise, but I am just too fearful of the traffic as it tends to upset some folks so much. Even on Sunday mornings when you'd think it to be safer. Someone once stopped, all red faced and shaking his fist at us on an early Sunday ride and screamed, "everyone of you ought to be in church." No lie. He really got upset when someone (well, yeah, it was me)(grin) asked him how he knew that wasn't where we were heading...
And then some folks just try to scare you to prove a point.
Riding 3 abreast is just as ridiculous. Geez. Why can't we all just be friendly about it?
I worry more about my hubby who is an excellent cyclist with no fear of the traffic and enjoys riding where ever he pleases. I just have to pray that people will take an extra 10 seconds out of their day to pass him safely and wish him well for doing something good for himself and that he loves so much.
And I didn't have to go to church for God to hear that prayer. : )
I have to think God has a special place for smartasses.
Oh my, how I do run on.
Love you, K.

PS Yesterday's ride around Stone Mountain put us at 100 miles for the week. YAY us!
PPS I really do have a big behind as referenced in the quote below:

Bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle;
I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride it where I like.
I want to ride my bicycle;
I want to ride my
Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah!
Fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today.
So look out for those beauties oh yeah.
-Queen (JAZZ, 1978)
...in the finest tradition of British Rock and Roll.

flipland said...

carver: i really enjoyed loking at your biking trails. very jealous on this end from someone who lives in a very polluted city. i would love to run along those paths one of these days.

my WS entry is up at http://flipix.blogspot.com. check it out. cheers!

vera said...

i like to ride bikes now but its so snowy here,maybe this summer!

mine is up too!
http://www.pinoynetwork.org/vera
see yah!
happy ws!

Sharon said...

I love the scenery that goes your bike pictures. What a wonderful place your city has provided! Good luck with it!

ladynred said...

What a great place to bike and walk. I could use some really good walks. I have to wait 'till when winter is over!

DeLi said...

lovely. made me feel nostalgic. biking has been a part of my childhood days and i missed it, now living in the city....

Lilli & Nevada said...

Biking is a great family get together specially on beautiful places like this

Natalie said...

Those photos make me wish I had a bike. Sigh...

Joyismygoal said...

what a fun time

Anonymous said...

great shots! all of them :)

ettey said...

great shots! all of them :)

Jen said...

Such beautiful pictures! Have a great week! :)

thess said...

Biking is a big thing here in HOlland, almost everyone bikes..especially when the sun shines, we're like ants coming out from our hidings (^0^)

Have a lovely week! and Happy WS too!

Chikai said...

i love the bridge shot! that must have been a very relaxing weekend. :)

mine's up here!

mousey said...

we love biking here too specially when there is a lot of sun shine.

sue said...

Absolutely love your walking/bike paths. We keep saying they should consider doing that here especially as they are adding new roads around deveopments..it would be perfect for us seniors to feel like we could ride in a realatively safe area. One thing to keep in mind, when a bicyclist uses a whole lane on a rather busy street they are in danger because cars are bigger, heavier and can't stop on a dime...personally, I think a bicyclist should be riding next to the curb and in single file..then I think it is much safer for everyone. We have a problem like that in this area..they have made a 4 lane road going thru town and it is too narrow for both cars, big trucks and bicycles and it is simply not safe to ride a bicycle down that road and is why I'd like to see bike lanes around that area. This is where I think common sense comes in to play. 395 is the main road thru town..it's a major highway that is not a freeway but simply a 4 lane road going to through small towns. Hey, I saw an older lady riding her horse on the sidewalk through town..what does that tell ya. lol
sue

Joshua said...

One of my greatest frustrations in life is learning how to ride a bicycle. Sad to say that to date I still haven't learned how. Anyway, thanks for sharing this beautiful shots Carver. Good day! :-)

genny said...

Wow its pretty scenery. How i wish we can have a vacation this year and go places like that. Have a nice WS!

SabineM said...

I love your post Carver!
And also the great photos!
I am always worried about riding on the road because people are such bad drivers. I cannot tell you how many are on their cell phones (though now illegal now here in CA).
The path looks fabulous! My type of riding!

The thought of a person riding a bike with a baby in a infant backpack is insane. I have seen ppl skying like that as well! Haaaaaa
have a great week

Carver said...

Thanks so much to everyone for commenting. I enjoyed reading the different insights on bicycling issues which some of you had.

Smalltown RN said...

I love your post on bikes and bike lanes.....I use to be an avid cyclist...loved it...but I didn't like the city cycling when I had to compete for space on the road with the vehicles....having designated lanes is so important from a safety aspect for all concerned.

Teaching children bike safety is also a must and wearing a helmet...it just drives me crazy when I see children without helmets...and or their parents....

Oh i love this topic...great one...thank you for your wonderful photos...

Hootin' Anni said...

I have a special little 'gift' for you on my Tuesday blog.

Heart of Rachel said...

Great post and photos about biking. We gave away our mountain bike and it's been quite a while since I went biking. I miss it.

It would be nice to have safe bike lanes. Sadly, we don't have bike lanes in our country. I also hope that safety gears like helmets can be strictly implemented here.

It must be nice to go recreational trails like that one.

Here's my late late WS.

Carver said...

Thanks so much to everyone for visiting and commenting.

leslie said...

Great photos for the Free Theme!