Open road, sunny blue skies, two wheels just spinning.
Dude’s on a mountain bike responding to EMS calls. How cool is that? Oh yeah, also has great teamwork and gets a guy back too.
Seriously, go check it out!
Robert Ping, the State Network Coordinator for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership shared a startling bit of information during his presentation at the Safe Routes to School Conference today.
In communities throughout America, students are being told they are not allowed to bike to school.
“It’s pervasive throughout the country and we’re hearing about it more and more,” he said. The problem, according to Ping, is that many school principals and administrators feel that biking and walking to school is simply unsafe. They are concerned about being held liable for anything that happens during the trip to and/or from school.
Used to be I could sit in my paretn’s living room and watch a steady stream of kids walking to the school at the end of the block. Not any more. Instead it is a steady stream of cars lining up to drop children off at the school. I go past a small private school on my way home from work in the morning and during the school year I play a frequent game of “dodge the soccer-mom minivans” as I run the gauntlet past the school. And walking is unsafe?
An interesting side note is that while the schools are worried about walking and biking to school and the liability it “entails”, it says nothing about the over-active hormone machines known as high school students behind the wheel.
Me, I plan on living near the school where my kids will go so that they can walk or ride their bike to school. It just makes sense, unless some dipshit decides there is “too much liability.”
After the long gray winter, it is nice to see the sun once again. Yes, according to the Weather Widget on my desktop, it is a balmy 72 degrees outside. Part of me wants to go out for a ride to enjoy the weather, the other says, “Ahh, I don’t have to work until tomorrow, gonna’ enjoy being lazy.”
With spring though, the cyclists start coming out of the woodwork. They’re greasing up the chains, dusting off the bad habits, shaking the mothballs out of the Lycra and heading out. I’m all for it, some days. The other day though, epitomized the kind of cyclist that makes the average Joe Public see red. Hell, I’m a dedicated cyclist and bike commuter and they pissed me off.
After enjoying a nice brunch at a cafe downtown, the wife and I are walking back to our car. She turns to say something to me and as she does so there’s a “whoosh” of air as a cyclist zips past her, less than an arms breadth away. In the classic Portland hipster cyclist fashion, no helmet, rolled jeans, day-glo colored fixed gear, she blows the stop sign at the intersection, weaves through the moving traffic on the wrong side of street and continues on her way. Had my wife gestured wrong, slightly wobbled out of step she would have ended up a road jam underneath the turning wheels.
What makes me mad though is the blantant disregard she displayed towards everyone one but herself. I’ve been known to run stop signs (usually with a California stop) and go fast in crowded areas, but usually I’m looking out for those around me. She wasn’t. For a second as she skated through the intersection I thought she was going to end up as road kill. Cyclists have image issues in Portland already, mostly a mild form of “us vs. them”, but many regular folks plain hate cyclists due to actions of a small group of folks. Small groups of folks who act this way tend to sour the opinion of normal everyday folks, which is really the last thing we (normal cyclists) need.
Oh well, karma’s a bitch…
And for all you folks who stayed inside all winter, the real cyclists rode all winter, not just in the fair weather.
This pisses me off on so many levels that I’m seeing red just thining about it. I can understand why the reps involved in this want to pick on a visible minority, hell, we’re not always the best of stewards (us cyclists). But this is just an out and out attack.
I went through the commentson this article and the most common one is, “Good! Make them pay for using the roads too!” Nothing could be farther from the truth. I pay property taxes, state and federal income taxes, I register all three of my cars (including the restoration project) and the family does drive nearly every day thereby consuming gas and adding to the gas tax fund. Who’s telling me that I don’t pay me own way?
It’s just bullshit. By bicycle commuting I take a car off the road, thereby reducing my carbon output and reducing congestion, plus I’m doing something healthy for myself that will reduce my draw on the health systems down the road. Besides, the fee will not even pay for the administration of the program, much less contribute to actual upkeep of the roads.
You better believe that I’m going to involved in getting this bill killed!
medical-esque posting to resume shortly…
Like I’ve been saying the weather has stunk. Ice, snow, black ice, wind, the works. While compared to other spots, not quite so bad all things considered. However I’ve been out on my bike riding to work. Yes, I’m a little crazy.
The first night was nice. Traffic was really mild, it was slick and slushy and I arrived with soaked shoes and a little chilled, but overall good. The second night had less slush and ice, but it started snowing when I got into downtown. In the morning was very, very slick, lots of ice with a dusting of snow over the top of old ice. Not fun. The best thing though? I stayed vertical on all the rides. I can’t afford a broken bone right now, so this was a good thing.
Here’s me dressed to the nines to deal with the weather.
And with the trusty steed:
It’s like ice skating out there. I may look goofy, but I was warm and dry.
I guess Al Gore’s recent Nobel win sparked off a minor bit of furor in the medical blog-o-sphere (not to mention elsewhere) as shown by Scalpel and Shadowfax, I thought we all needed a little bit of lighthearted insanity. Zoobomb style. These guys are nuts. What better way to forget about the depressing issues of global warming, ER overcrowding and health care reform than flying down US 26 into downtown Portland on a mini-bike set to the music of AC/DC? Or having a blast barreling down Maryhill on longboards and mini-bikes? Enjoy.
For what it’s worth, I believe in global warming and that we should do something, even if it seems futile. I haven’t driven to work more than twice in over 8 months, relying on bike and public transit. But that’s me.
Update: Yes, I’m an idiot. For some reason I thought it was Tuesday, only to be corrected by my neighbor that it was Monday. The headline is now corrected…