Perils of the Bike Lane

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Last week on one of my weekly training rides, a six-hour trail loop from my house to the top of Ski Santa Fe and back on just about every trail and forest road in the near vicinity of town, I realized—with great regret—that fall is upon us. I usually arrive home well before sunset, but on the homestretch it was flat out dark and I'd brought no lights. In an effort to make myself visible, I rode a few feet out in traffic so cars behind me could better see my white jersey. I nearly made it home without incident, but then some guy in a pick-up blared his horn at me, pulled up at my side, and yelled, “Bikes belong in bike lanes, a**h***!” He tore off in a roar of diesel fumes before I could think of a snappy retort.

I never understand why bikes elicit so much ire: Is it really such an inconvenience to swing a bit wide and carry on? But don't get me going. In this case, too, I'll admit I was at fault for not having brought my lights—it was an honest oversight. But frankly, bike lanes aren't the idyllic havens they're made out to be. Often they're a gauntlet of gravel, detritus from auto accidents, beer cans and cups, and illegally parked cars. Once, I even almost ran over a pedestrian who decided the bike lane was a great place to sit down and relax. I wish every motorist could try driving on roads with potholes and obstacles wider than their wheels (much less people lounging) before they started screaming at bikers.

In my frustration, I found the following video, which perfectly sums things up. Cylists, be safe out there! And drivers, give us a break.

–Aaron Gulley 

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