Bikes Belong on the Street

Bicycle rider on streetHow It All Began.

I will share with you how I started commuting via bike.  It all started in 2013 while training for the US Air Force Marathon. I hurt my foot and decided to skip my long run for a bike ride.  That ride turned into a 27 mile ride.  That was the farthest I had ridden by a LONG way. I realized then I  could do the 7.5 mile trip to work.

I did my first attempt at commuting on a weekend. All went well and I made it safe but sore. I dabbled a few more times over the next few weeks. It was in October when I started commuting regularly.

That was when I realized I could catch the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bus close to home. Previously I thought it was a bunch of transfers and delays.  I found there was another route just 1/2 mile away.

Thanks to all this I began riding my bike more from work. I have put over 1000 miles on my bikes already this year.

Bicycles Are Vehicles

With that little history lesson comes the real subject of today’s post. Bicycles belong on the street for commuting. They don’t belong on Bike Wheelsome side path or even worse, the sidewalk. What most people think of as a ‘bike path’ is in reality a multi-use path (MUP).  To some that seems like mere semantics. In reality it is a key difference.  Bike path infers the path’s primary user is bicyclists. MUP has the bicyclists as the lowest user. Bicycles are required to yield to walkers,  joggers,  and anyone else. A lot of the paths I would ride are downhill. I can easily obtain speeds of >25 mph. This is a dangerous situation for everyone.

Instead, I drive my bike on the street. I occupy the full lane when necessary. Whenever I and a car can not occupy the same lane. Some see that as arrogant and self-centered. I have been honked at, yelled at, and even almost hit. I am sure you wonder why I still do it then.

I Ride For My Safety

The reason I still ride in the center of the lane is simple. I want to make it home! I know I am best seen from this position. I am not trying to be a problem and hinder you or other traffic. I am traffic.

Drivers are not looking for other drivers on side paths. I am at an increased risk for being hit at every intersection with the side path. I am at increased risk for being side swiped when I hug the right side. I ride as safe as possible.


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