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204 Walking Across 2010-03-19


A recent post from the Boulder Daily Camera featured an article on bicycles in crosswalks. It was being proposed that bicyclist should get off of their bikes and walk through the cross walk instead of ride. The current law does allow bicyclist to ride through a crosswalk, but at a speed limit of 5 mph.

In Boulder there is both a huge bicycling community and non-bicycling community. The marriage of the two has been a tumultuous affair. The two sides are constantly bickering. Other communities might learn from their examples of how to do things right or wrong!

Meanwhile, the Boulder City Leaders, I am sure, are bombarded with crazy propositions to bring before the City Council. Like, bicyclists should push their bikes while using a crosswalk.

An important task for every community is to find ways of balancing costs, transportation needs, energy, and safety while still representing all their constituents.

In Florida at least 490 (I saw contradictory numbers, this was the lowest) pedestrians and bicyclists died in 2008. In California 620 pedestrians died. For an interesting prospective, a total of 322 soldiers died in Iraq in 2008. Since 2003, a total of 4,707 soldiers have died in Iraq, but just in 2008 - 5,094 pedestrians and cyclists died. The figures indicate that it is safer to be in the Armed Forces that to be a non-car person.

The State and City Leaders have to find better ways to prevent injuries and deaths. Almost every incident with a car and a pedestrian or bicyclist, the car wins.

The Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, has called for equal treatment of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles. Cars are not the only means of transportation. Cities will also have to find ways to implement the new strategies in order to qualify for Federal Transportation funding.

In Boulder when a bicyclist or pedestrian is injured the comment sections are full of those in support of the driver, or the rider, or the walker. New laws are suggested to make the city safer, like the crosswalk idea. But, are the laws creating safety or just burdening one set of users?

The crosswalk idea was suggested because bicyclist dart across the crosswalk, not giving the motorist a chance to stop. (It is a law in Boulder that cars must stop when someone is using the crosswalk.) To make the suggested law even more (or less) practica, ... perhaps they could add a new law for the cars also.

When the cars stop to watch the bicyclist walk their vehicles across the road, let’s propose that the car drivers, put their cars in park, apply the parking brake, get out of their cars, and run (or walk) once around the car. Then the cars would remain stopped until the driver returned to their seats giving the crosser a safe passage until the driver returned to their seat.

Drivers being required to stop and run around the car is silly; but so is the bicyclist pushing her bike across a crosswalk. Instead if the motorist approaches any crosswalk, they should be prepared to stop (lights blinking or not) then, they will not going be surprised by darting bicycles, slippery skateboards, scooting scooters, rapid runners, or tricky tri-cycles.

Happy safe and courteous trails.


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