This is the place to find out what new and exciting events are unfolding in the life and times of Je Kemp.

Friday, June 04, 2004

The advocacy supported by the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign seems to be the sort of bicycle advocacy that I feel I need to support. I surfed into their site following a row over curb "bulb outs" being constructed on Mclendon Ave over in Dekalb county. I can understand that this will cause cyclists who prefer to hug the right curb while they ride a considerable amount of difficulty. What I can't understand is why these cyclists want to ride there.

After completing two seasons as a bike courier in Atlanta without significant injury from abusive motorists, I can easily say that these riders need to take the lane. Yes, take the lane, it is yours. I too was once a right curb hugging rider, riding far to close to parked cars and hidden driveways. Now, I can't stand riding that far to the right. Why? Well for one, it is actually more dangerous due to several factors. Parked cars with their doors are a bicycle accident waiting to happen as are the hidden driveways mentioned above and then there is the glass and road debris that tends to accumulate along the sides of the road. This road junk promotes flat tires and flat tires in the case of a sudden blowout can prove deadly for the unsuspecting cyclist.

I ride the lane and only get over to let cars pass if I feel it is safe to do so, not if the guy in the H2 thinks so, me, I am in control of my vehicle. Not only that but the road itself is smoothest where the cars actually ride. I don't get flats from broken beer bottles in the street and car doors are not long enough to hook me when I ride more towards the middle of MY lane. The law is on my side as well. I have as much right to take the lane as a motorcycle or car. I have rarely seen motorcycles forced to the right so why should I be intimidated by motorists to follow some arcane unwritten rule?

Sure, I have been assaulted by motorists for taking this position, that is the risk, The driver and his/her precious time. Funny how time works while driving in an urban area. A car accelerates to pass me only to find itself having to stop at a traffic signal just yards away. So how did I inconvenience them? Do traffic signs and signals not cause more of a delay for motorists than me riding my bike?

Another thing, why advocate bike lanes? Does the existence of a bicycle lane or path deny my right to take the "real" lane?

As an individual who rides a bicycle as a means of transportation, How could the Atlanta Bicycle campaign advocate the loss of my rights to the road?

From the ABC list of accomplishments~ "Organized a campaign to straighten dangerous parallel sewer grates in Atlanta" Hmmm, I saw one of these grates still in use just yesterday on Marietta Street. I guess it going to take more than a campaign to straighten those grates out. If they were to encourage cyclists to just take their lane, bicylists would not be sinking their front wheels into these dangerous grates in the first place.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Sometimes the wires expose a more touching side of the news by showcasing the elderly.
the link below is but one example.