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Licensing? Mandatory rear-view mirrors? Some bike safety ideas

Original post made by Bruce Campbell, Portola Valley: other, on Aug 22, 2007

Editor: I have asked various bike riders for their views on certain safety issues. Let me begin with the questions:

Q. Why do many bikes ride directly on the white line of the bike lane rather than within the lane?
A. Debris can be seen and avoided.
Q. How many bike riders use rear-view mirrors?
A. About 20 percent, until you have been hit, then everyone does.

Based on the foregoing, one might ask: Why not put the white line of the bike lane in the middle so debris could readily be seen, and double yellow lines on the outside to delineate the lane, thus encouraging both the bikes and the autos to stay out of each other's lanes?

A rear-view mirror for a bike is available for $10 to $20, and should be a mandated piece of safety equipment.

Just as we have licensing of cars where a minimum level of competence is required, isn't it time we require the same for bike riders? Falls account for 59 percent of all crashes, running into a fixed object 14 percent, moving motor vehicles were involved in 11 percent, and another bicycle in 9 percent.

Even when the bike rider falls down with no cars involved, the answer proposed is to lower the speed limit for cars, or posting signs to "share the road." I don't think that cars should share the bike lane, and bikes should only share the traffic lane with an abundance of caution.

(The above letter to the editor by Bruce Campbell was published in the Almanac's Aug. 22 edition.)

Comments (5)

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Posted by anon
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 22, 2007 at 10:50 pm

How about separate, fenced off, bike trails that use cheaper pavement thats good enough for bikes?

bikes have no business blocking traffic on the road.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Aug 23, 2007 at 3:03 pm

I heard that a Woodside landlord refused to lease space to a bike shop.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Aug 23, 2007 at 5:15 pm

I think you're misinterpreting the "debris" issue. It's not that you can see it better against a white background, it's that most roads are only swept by car tires, not by street sweepers. Enough cars drive over the white line into the bike lane to keep most of it pretty clean, but the farther you are from the auto lane, the more debris you'll encounter. Painting the white lane in a different spot, or even painting the entire bike lane white, won't help.

Looking at it from another angle, its somewhat disturbing that enough cars drive with their right side wheels in the bike lane to keep most of it as clean as the auto lane.

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Posted by scared biker
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 23, 2007 at 5:33 pm

some of the posters seem not to know that bikers have as much a right to be in traffic as cars do. The speed limits are intended to serve as upper limits, not lower, to speeds. When cars and bikes collide, the bikes always lose. Please chill!
Bikers do not "fall off" their bikes unless something else has happened. Bikes are like gyroscopes; once they're going, it's actually hard to fall. Debris or holes in the road or close calls with other vehicles are the most common reasons for "falls".

Like this comment
Posted by RightFacts
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Aug 23, 2007 at 8:49 pm

Bicyclists pay more than their fair share for local roads, since most are paid for from general funds and sales tax.

Web Link

This article concludes that bicyclists and pedestrians are actually subsidizing motorists on local streets.

anon should get his car off of the road, or he should start paying a lot more for the damage he is doing to it.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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