Thursday, March 19, 2015

Environmental film festival stirs debate on rights of cyclists v. cars -- I say, a bike is a vehicle and obeys the same rules

I must admit that I missed the showing of “Bikes vs. Cars” (link), by Swedish director Fredrik Gertten, opening night of the DC Environmental Film Festival; it’s also at SXSW in Austin, TX, and I don’t see indication of when a DVD or vOD will be available. 

Above is a short film “Vulnerable on the Open Road” where five pro cyclists discuss their experiences with motorists.  Lucas Eisner, Craig Lewis, Kristen Peterson, Timmy Duggan and Mike Friedman all speak. Two of the cyclists show scars from surgery from accidents.  Peterson expresses the view that everyone should be expected to bike as much as possible.  The video comes from “People for Bikes” and “Skraikh Labs”.

There is a video from “Cyclist View”  (new site) on “The Rights and Duties of Cyclists”.  Note the tip that often a cyclist should stay near the center of the lane and control it, unless it is really wide enough for the bike and a vehicle (that is, with three feet of clearance).  It’s also important that cyclists ride in the same direction as traffic, obey all signals, and follow the same laws as vehicles.
Drivers cannot see cyclists coming from the wrong direction, especially when making right turns, in time.  And they cannot see cyclists at night without the proper flashing lights. 

To say that everyone should switch to bikes and give them preferences is another matter, though.  But it would be nice to be able to bike quickly to spontaneous demonstrations.   

Note the Wall Street Journal story Thursday "Forget the family car, city households take the family bike", especially in Copenhagen. Denmark, link here.  I've flown over the flat trails in the Netherlands canal and windmill country north of Schiphol.  

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