Press Progress

So… I applauded, then took some issue with Michael Dresser in the Baltimore Sun and his column approving a 3-foot law.  I really like his approach… which is to say that a buffer zone is a good idea, period, no matter how obnoxious cyclists can be, and he describes us amusingly as clad in spandex and “dweeby” helmets.

However, he then discussed being “as far to the right as possible”… and his cyclist source bemoaned the fact that even though he hugs that white line, people buzz  him, “on purpose.”

My issue?  As long as people think that proper lane position is hugging the lane, then drivers will think I”m riding further out “on purpose.”  And as long as cyclists don’t realize that it’s normal behavior based on our human perceptions to try to stay in the lane if it looks like there’s room because you’re not in the road, you’re on the side, then cyclists will think drivers are buzzing them “on purpose.”   Antipathy and hostilities escalate.

First response from him was that the difference between possible and practical was “splitting hairs,” because he figured *anybody* recognized that if there was glass on the road, you had to move out, and the suggestion that this was sort of a “theological debate.”  When I explained that a perfectly clear pavement could still be “impracticable,” but far from impossible, and that in fact a whole lot of hairs could be lined up in that area of pavement, he replied thoughtfully, demonstrating that he at least knew what I was talking about now.

I believe it, too, because I’d ridden home trying to figure out how to explain that counterintuitive didn’t mean wrong; that sometimes there really was a right answer… and tried to figure out an example of something … spontaneous generation?  The masses fervently believed in that, even though we are pretty darned sure it’s wrong. Ah…  “bike paths are safer than the streets.”  It then occurred to me that the article didn’t say word one about bike paths.  Amazing.  I came in and looked again and did a “search” for “path.”  It can be found in the word “sympathize.”

Amazing, indeed. A discussion of “appropriate cycling” alternatives that doesn’t relegate me to a bike path.  I wrote and thanked the man.

Chilly today – 34 degrees or so.

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