Friday, August 17, 2007

Arterial Observations

When I really want to get home in a hurry, the fastest way for me to do it is to catch the first Antioch bus to 87th street. The first run is an express bus, because there are no other buses scheduled for the transfer location. That cuts almost half an hour off the trip alone. It also puts me at the intersection of 87th and Antioch around 4:20 or so, just as traffic is starting to pick up.

87th is a pretty major road. It's almost a highway in and of itself. Two to three lanes in each direction, 45 MPH speed limit. Center turn lanes and islands, the whole nine yards. Fact of the matter is, no matter what route I take (all bike or any of the bus routes aside from the D which drops me off at my front door), I invariably have to spend some time on arterial roadways. With huge mega-interstates seemingly bisecting almost every community in the metro area and only mini-highways that cross those interstates, it's practically unavoidable.

Anyhow, back to 87th Street Parkway. It's a pretty busy road after 4:00 PM, especially on Thursday and Friday for some reason. It's not nearly as bad as 95th street, but it's still dicey.

Wednesday, I almost got hooked by a car that decided to make a right turn from 87th to Quivira... Via the CENTER lane. Thankfully I saw it coming. Yesterday, someone notified me that there is a sidewalk on 87th street. I'm glad it was a passenger, because if it took the driver that long to see the sidewalk, I'm pretty sure seeing things like other cars doesn't come easy. I'm assuming he thought that I belonged on the sidewalk. I really need to print out some materials for mouth-breathers like this guy.

Today, I was off the road bike. I was riding a cheapo hybrid bicycle and wearing a backpack. I looked a little less roadie, I suppose. I got nothing but plenty of room when being passed if people passed at all. Many stayed behind me. My riding style didn't change. My speed was about the same even on the hybrid. I took the lane today (center of the right lane) just like I did yesterday. Maybe it was the backpack. Everyone looks 12 when they're riding a bike and wearing a backpack.

I think this requires more experimentation.

1 comment:

Sirrus Rider said...

The problem with reading materials for mouth breathers is they were already issued a clearly stated handbook when they were in driver's ed. In your case it's the one for Kansas State and in mine it's Texas; however, either in the theory of teaching Drivers ed or in the method the message that bikes are vehicles and are entitled to the same amount of road as automobiles is lost. I suppose it's part of adolecent "car lust" as most people ride bikes until they get their licenses then never look back and because they see bikes as something they did as kids they adopt the mentality that bikes are toys and don't belong in the roadway. Also, I think in part most drivers don't realize the impact (no pun intended) their driving can have on cyclists. A case of "my passing the cyclist can't cause an accident" but in truth it can.

Another thing at play is the devolution of human intelligence. Most falling in this category never developed any common sense to see the causality of their own actions on others with them it's always the other person's fault. So even though they should know what is in the handbook they see the person on the bike as the lawbreaker not themselves.

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