02 June 2011

Bike-commute day 33—to gym and home

I got a reminder this afternoon on the unreliability of drivers. As I approached the bikeway crossing of Linden Avenue, a driver from the west graciously stopped for me. I slowed for the crossing, saluted a thanks to the driver, and then looked to the right. A driver was approaching from the east, obviously slowing. But not stopping, just slowing.

As she crossed in front of me, I saw inside the auto. The driver was busily fitting a supersize cup into the cup holder, oblivious of the marked crosswalk and the stopped vehicle in the approaching lane. Unaware that her slowing might have been understood as an invitation to cross in front of her.

The distracted driver is the greatest hazard presented to a cyclist who uses the roadways. And the cyclist who aims to use only the bikeways, since the bikeways intersect with roads, often at distances of less than a mile from one intersection to the next. The cellphone and texting are only the two more recent sources of distraction, joining many other sources that have been present almost as long as the automobile itself: lighting a cigarette, tuning the radio, opening and closing windows, conversing with a rider, eating and drinking at the wheel, responding to a nuisance insect, squinting from sun glare, daydreaming.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 77 to 81°F at 17:10
Precipitation: none, then a lot
Winds: calm to 5 mph from the northeast
Clothing: Skinsuit; ankle socks. Open-finger gloves.
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed-gear
Time: 00:58:03 for 15.82 miles
Heart rate: 123 bpm average, 142 bpm maximum
Bikeway users: 31 cyclists, 14 pedestrians, 3 dogs
Here is a playback of the ride.

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