As a cyclist, I really must take issue with the unregulated driving habits of motorists within this city. Today, I was treated to the incivility of a woman who honked at me as I descended Lake Avenue towards Falls Road. She was behind me. Any cyclist reading this post knows that you’re going approximately 60kph per hour down that hill at top speed when the speed limit is 30mph which translates to about 45kph.
Ill-advisedly, I allowed myself to escalate things by having words with the driver, who tried to preface by mentioning her “miles of riding experience”—my response to which I can’t publish. I “mentioned” to her that at that speed how dangerous it would be for her to pass, to which her response was “she was late for work”. BTW, she took time out of her busy schedule to argue with me.
As someone who’s not connected to government(and never likely), nor is actually on the MBAC board, I fortunately have the ability to speak for myself in recognizing the questionable will set forth by the city in putting bike lanes over potholes, failing to enforce vehicle’s speed limits through most of the city, while efforts are put in place to encourage people to dust off their bikes to cycle to work and make it a part of their everyday life.
If someone were to ask me where to cycle as a beginner (or relative newcomer), I’d tell them to go to the airport or the county. There really is no safe haven for cyclists here.
The myth about bike lanes is that it implies that a cyclists is to make way under all circumstances—at any speed. And unfortunately, I feel that this is misleading and the true circumstances is more similar to road racing where slower vehicles make way when the speed
is completely dissimilar and the road is safe (ascending hills, etc.) Cyclists are vehicles and in traffic conditions are to make certain that they use the road in a manner that makes the road safe for them.
Knowing that motorists would be completely fine running a cyclist off the road or rolling through a stop sign at the disadvantage to a cyclist changes some of these issues with respect to a cyclist’s safety. I’m loathe to criticize because my history in cycling is one of fend for myself and have learned to do so quite adroitly. Some of my instinct and action goes beyond the recreational nature of painted lines, etc. And that it unlikely to change.
Not to mention the lack of safety: We were treated to a post on here some weeks ago about how a guy from Pakistan thinks that East Baltimore is actually worse than Karachi, as he had been assaulted numerous times on his way o Hopkins Hospital only to be further insulted by the lack of empathy from the authorities… (other stories are in hand).
Also, who deals with sewer grates? On the Falls Road bridge heading north, there is a sewer grate that would swallow any cyclists unaware of it. I say all this knowing that there a few people who do actually ride AND have a connection to City Hall and whatever they call headquarters in the county. There is a major difference between some of the recreational implementations taking place and their ability to make things safer for real cyclists. Until that gulf is bridged, the Baltimore region will continue to live in question of what it could be.