6/23/11

Ride Home 6/23

There are some overhanging branches about halfway down New Mexico that fall approximately where my head is when I'm riding my bicycle downhill. Either you take the lane or you duck or you're thankful that you're wearing a helmet.
I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: a lot of drivers, at least the ones behind you, don't want you to come to a complete stop at stop signs. They want you to do what they do, namely slow down, look both ways and roll through (provided there's no one there). I was passed by one of these drivers today, on the left at least (thank god). I had actually come to a complete stop because I thought that he was following me too closely and I figured that this action would somehow abate that. Not so much. I think that it's important for bicyclists to always rely on their own judgment and discretion and not to go out of their way to accommodate other road users. Just try to develop good judgment.
Be careful when biking across the crosswalk on Lee Highway that parallels Fort Myer Drive. Drivers come off the bridge and, assuming they don't get on the GW parkway, a lot of them turn right onto Lee Highway, often without slowing down to look to see if there are pedestrians or cyclists. This is the problem with having roads that all look like mini-highways. In any case, my crossing coincided with the right turn of that of an older women driving a gold SUV (Does anyone under the age of 60 think "you know what, gold is a classy color for a car"?) who had the kindness of spirit to stop prior to hitting me. I had the signal and I took my time getting across the intersection. I think that taking a long time to get across intersections is really useful and not (just) spiteful. There's a big psychological difference between slowing your car to let someone across and stopping to let someone cross and I think it's important to get drivers to stop rather than slow. Of course, this might be imperiling, but I wouldn't do it if I thought it was really unsafe. I think it's considerably less safe to rush because that reinforces the supremacy of motorists and anything that does that leads to higher speeds and greater danger to non-motorists. It's like a temporary, moving road-diet.
I think that Arlington hired some green Subaru Forresters to replace old ART buses, maybe on account of the strike. I mean, what else would explain the one parked in the bus stop in front of the Court House post office? Bicyclists are the only road users who disobey traffic laws for their own convenience, right? Relatedly, isn't there a better place to put a mailbox? Every day somebody is stopped there.
I think that the stretch of Fairfax between Washington and 10th would be a great place for a painted bike lane, right next to the sidewalk. I don't think that Arlington County has any painted lanes and this would be a nice, relatively out-of-the-way place to put one. Plus, it would serve as a visual connector and path-marker between the lanes on Wilson/Claredon and Fairfax.
Headwinds suck. That's all.

1 comment:

  1. totally agree about ffx between wilson and 10th.

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