Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 226 - Bike Friendly

The newspaper confirmed my worst nightmares this past week.  Two bicyclists were struck by vehicles within miles of my house.  Since retiring from officiating, I've gained weight and feel another heel spur coming on.  With no health insurance, I know that I can't get it fixed and don't want to start running again as I'm afraid if I break something or fall, I will ruin my credit rating.  So I try to make due with riding my bike AS SOON AS THE FREAKING WEATHER is better.  It is so hot, I feel like I'm on the Spike Lee's Movie Doing the Right Thing set.  Remember when they were sitting outside and opening the fire hydrants just to cool down in New York City?

So the first time I rode my bike in this area, I was a little concerned when I couldn't find any bike lanes near my subdivision.  I have since found bike trails in the area, really nice bike trails and use them when the weather cools down.  One morning I went out for a 6AM bike ride and was surprised to see that the tale that I had been told was true.  At the end of the trail in the AM there are between 20-30 wild boar pigs that are every color imaginable.  Pink, White, Brown, Black, Brown with pink spots, White with Black Spots, etc!  It is crazy.

They are more afraid of me than I of them, but you just happen upon them and they start scattering all over the place and squealing of fear.  I always try to get a photo but they are lightning fast.

I have also tried to ride on the main road into my subdivision and found that due to no bike lines (although I'm not sure this would help either) that people ride right beside you.  Doesn't matter that they have another lane on the four lane road, they want to scare you, don't see the fluorescent orange shirt I wear, or are texting and will kill you out of ignorance.  So I decided this one time was too close for comfort and have decided to go on the trails.  I knew it would happen one day but a 15 year old was riding his bike on this same road on Friday night without lights on his bike, no sidewalk and probably wearing all black.  I've seen them do this many times.  He was struck by a driver who didn't see him and critically injured and is in the hospital as we speak. [Note: He died yesterday.]  A forty-seven year old man was riding on the country road route 11 and a twenty-three year old didn't see him at 6:30 in the morning and hit him with a van and killed him instantly.  The right thing to do is to slow down when you see a bicyclist and go around them in another lane if at all possible.

Steve had asked a bicyclist why he chose to ride on a street instead of a sidewalk as he didn't understand this logic.   The avid bicyclist told us that going 22mph it was safer for him to ride on the road than the sidewalk because people can't get out of his way fast enough and he would injure or kill not only himself but a pedestrian if he rode on the sidewalk.

The other problem is bike etiquette.  When other bicyclists ride, they should ride on the right side of the trail.  When you pass another bike, you yell track which signals to the rider to move to the right because the other bike will pass you on the left.  Many people do not know this and ride up the left side of the trail.  Now that I think about it, the right thing for me to do would be to also get a helmet.  I had one but don't know where it went to.  I guess sweat isn't as bad as being killed.  Of course you wouldn't need insurance for this event.

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