Out on the streets, that’s where we’ll meet
By Captain Comannokers
NoC Transportation Czar
Back to school means back to some cycling basics. Specifically, do NOT ride in the wrong direction in a bike lane. On a recent ride down Euclid Avenue, the proof was on the pavement.
A cyclist had just been to Kroger and was riding west on Euclid back toward campus – unfortunately, in the wrong bike lane. This happens a lot on Euclid. Folks pick up a couple of things from Kroger and instead of waiting and making a left hand turn to get in the proper bike lane, they unwisely choose the improper bike lane.
This particular cyclist was hit by a car pulling out of 5/3 Bank near Park Avenue – crash, boom, bang – and the freshly purchased eggs were splattered on the Euclid Avenue asphalt.
Officer Howard Florence, who patrols Lexington streets on bike, chimed in on the situation. “I’ve seen that happen too many times. Most people ride the wrong way because it’s a bit quicker or easier for them at that moment. Maybe their street is a block away or traffic was heavy and they were too impatient to cross. That’s just human nature sometimes.”
If this is your human nature, do not follow it: it is trying to get you seriously injured. Time to trade in your human nature for a dose of common sense.
“Pointing out how things can go really bad seems to get the idea across,” Florence said. “I don’t just tell someone they’re in the wrong lane. I’ll take a moment and explain that when you go the wrong way, cars aren’t looking for you.”
Euclid has landmines everywhere – side streets, businesses, heavy pedestrian traffic. It’s a tough enough street to ride even with bike lanes. So, keep the Evil Knievel stunts at the skate park or on the cul-de-sac in your comfy neighborhood.
In addition, when students return Euclid is one of the epicenters of the city. Can traffic get heavy on it? Yep. Is it easy to get impatient when travelling on it? Yep. But those are not reasons to improvise your navigation of it. If you do improvise, your eggs (or brains) could wind up on the street, too.
Luckily, this young man seemed to have only scrapes, but another situation was unfolding. The driver was obviously shaken from just hitting someone. He didn’t want to call the police and offered to help pay for the damage to the bike and the lost groceries.
First, it was not the driver’s fault. He owed this cyclist nothing.
Second, Officer Florence explains why it is important to have the police on the scene after an accident.
“If there is more than $1,000 damage or if someone is injured, a police report is required by law. If you decide to make a claim on someone’s insurance, they almost always require a report so you would have to call us anyway.”
“Often in these situations a person may not realize that they are injured until a day or two later. The hospital is required by law to contact the police. It’s difficult to take a report that far after the incident. Too many people just exchange information and, at first, say they will work it out between themselves only to have one of the parties not follow through. Someone then wants a report, but any possible evidence or witnesses are gone,” Florence said.
To borrow from chicken riddle lore – Why did the cyclists cross the road? To get to the other side (where they will ride in the correct bike lane, save their lives and get their eggs home safe and sound).
- Illustrations by Noah Adler
Get on noclexington.com or email the Captain at ShareTheRoadLex@gmail.com to continue the discussion. Ask questions. Voice frustrations as a pedestrian, cyclist or driver. Let’s work though our differences in sharing the road. Captain Comannokers over and out.