Monday, April 06, 2009

biking

i decided to bike into the city today. i have only done that once in the last several months (and it was only the the top corner of the city near the market) because it can be kind of scary. i had an appointment in carlton and thought about just parking my bike at the museum and walking from there but then when i looked on the map to see where else i could leave my bike i remembered swanston st has copenhagen bike lanes now (they've been there for ages but i've only used them twice before). as i started riding down swanston street i remembered that my first experience with the copenhagen style lane wasn't very good. i think i had at least 3 cars pull out in front of me (after looking and seeing me and other riders coming and knowing that traffic was backed up and they were going to have to sit and block the lane until traffic moved). today was good going in. the only issue i had was a group of international uni students j-walking (and that was after the copenhagen lane ended). half the group looked and saw me and another cyclist coming and ran across. the rest of the group just slowly made their way without looking. i yelled out "excuse me" (i was very polite) which made them jump and pick up their speed (except the last one in the group who just stopped in the middle of the road until i passed).
on the way home a vic roads guy asked me if i had a minute to do a quick survey while the light was red. i was happy to stop for a minute so i answered his questions about how i liked the bike lane and how safe i felt on it. i said my only issue was cars pulling across the green painted lane in and out of driveways and sidestreets and cutting cyclists off. i was gonna point out that it looked like there was a van doing that half a block a head of me. i didn't. it was still there when i went thru the lights. it wasn't just going in or out of a driveway. the van was completely illegally parked across the green bike lane! i managed to get up on the footpath, squeeze past some pedestrians and then hop the kerb (yes, i spelled kerb right. in oz it's that way, not c-u-r-b) and get back in the lane. less than 2 blocks later a guy was parallel parked on top of the bike lane (cars should never even be in the bike lane other than to cross over it-- cars park on the other side of a raised kerb, next to moving traffic with copenhagen style lanes). just as i approached and got up on the footpath again the guy walked up to the back of his van. for a second i thought about asking him if he knew it was illegal to park there and that it was making things dangerous for cyclists but i really didn't feel like getting yelled at if he decided that he had some right to be there because he was servicing something (he had a bunch of wires and stuff in his van so i figured he was probably servicing some electrical or phone box on the street). he still should be parked in an actual legal parking spot and not in a traffic lane (even if it is a bike traffic lane).
i'm glad i don't really go into the city much any more (and i usually endure public transport when i do). at least for the most part our local suburbs have some good bike lanes and nice side streets for cycling on (although it was in a nice bike lane on a side street that i got doored).

1 comment:

Beverly said...

I felt the same level of stress reading about your cycling adventures that I feel when I have to drive in Edmonton.

Wheeeew!Glad you made it home safely!