Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Juneathon Day 15 - Rules of the Road

Damn. It's late.

Good for you. It was worth the wait.
Tonight's triple lullaby. Hopefully I got the right versions. Close enough.

Jason Mraz - Childlike Wildlife. I've also seen it called "Childlike Wildlike."

That is a long song.
Sometimes HoneyBunny will still be singing along 4 minutes in. Even the scat.
This is the most likely song to leave me passed out on the kids' floor.

Jason Mraz - Remedy

Counting Crows - Hangin' Around

I lost one kid by the time that song started.

And then there was Juneathon.
Or rather, first there was Juneathon.

Swam to start the morning.
Misplaced my goggles yesterday.
That means Kickboard.
Tired legs + Kickboard = Make sure you have your goggles before leaving the house.

Afternoon I found an 8-mile bike.
Such beautiful weather.
Fast bike ride, practiced cornering because ya know that'll save me like 7 seconds in the Philly Tri.

Got home.
Supposed to, as usual, brick the run.

Nope. Tennis baseball with the neighbor kids.

Tennis baseball complete, prep for run.

Kids want to run with me.
Yeah. So we run like .01 miles and hang out at the playground well past dark.
Perfect night for it. Late sunset. Full moon. Clear sky. Fireflies.

Return home, attack a quick 1 mile run. Juneathon Day 15. Done.

Let's wrap up with the title: Rules of the Road

My friend Matt emailed me and asked about biking protocol.
Which isn't always followed.
Well as both a runner and triathlete, I am disliked by all. Runners, bikers, and triathletes (wanna-be-bikers).

That gives good perspective.

Rules when riding your bike on the road:

  • You are traffic
  • Bike with traffic
  • Bike in shoulder
  • Shoulder not available. Stay within 18 inches of side of road.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs
  • Only run stop signs that cars normally run. And, just like cars, at least fake a stop.
  • Do not cheat. You cannot cross the street on a red light. You are traffic.
  • Signal
  • Work with cars. Tell them with hand signals when NOT to pass you because of oncoming traffic. Tell them when they CAN pass you if the road ahead is clear.
  • Wear a helmet
  • While biking within a group, with an approaching car from behind, do not ride abreast. Ride single file
  • Do not use your cell
  • Do not listen to music. Even a single ear bud.
  • Give cars the right of way. Hope that cars are thinking "give bikes the right of way"
  • Give runners the right of way.
  • Do not kick or punch cars that make you angry.
  • If you must bike within traffic, for example to make an upcoming left turn, make sure traffic can accommodate you. Otherwise, wait.
  • Get a car's permission if you must enter traffic for safety reasons, for example a steep downhill that is launching you at 40+ MPH and you need better cornering
  • Finally, yes. You as a biker have a pretty quick option to convert to pedestrian. But you have to be consistent.
    • If you are biking on the sidewalk, stay on the sidewalk
    • If you are biking on the road, do not use the sidewalk unless it would be foolish not to do so. For example to bypass a back-up of 20+ cars.
    • If you must disobey traffic signals, get off your bike and pedestrianicize yourself.
The bottom line is that I want to respect the opportunity to ride on public roads.
I want cars to respect me as a biker.

I do not like bikers that ignore the rules of the road.
I do not like cars that assume all bikers are pricks.
I do not like cars that rush to get in front of me as we approach a red light or stop sign.

I will see how Matt responds to these rules that I follow and recommend.
Perhaps he will be a guest blogger.

Until then, on to Juneathon Day 16.


ihaverun said...

I admit, I may not have read ALL the rules of the road. Like you said, it's late. Not as late here as it is there though. Go to bed!

And you are halfway to the Juneathon finish. You have totally got this.

Last but not least, Jason Mraz rocks.

Anonymous said...

Very musical post. Was not going to bed yet but lovely to discover this stuff through Juneathon.

Love your rules -- gave me something to think about as a runner and a driver (don't have a bike but, hey, I'm only 53 so who knows!)

matthewreinsmith said...

Sorry I'm late, busy week (which I am sure we can all relate to)

couple of points

1 – I had a friend in High School (23 years ago! OMG) who was an avid bicyclist. After High School he and his father rode across the United States over the summer before he went to College. Anyway, for many reasons his example always stuck in my head about the cooperation between cars and bicycles. I always kept that in mind when encountering bicycles on the road and tired to give them the respect they deserve.

2 – I’ve been a motorcyclist since I was 17 (24 years ago! OMG) and I can relate to bicyclist from that perspective. And YES it ticks me off when I see some idiot doing a wheelie or a stopie in the middle of traffic, because it REALLY does give bikers a bad name! (However, I love watching guys and gals do it in the relative safety of a parking lot or back road, THAT is at least trying to be responsible)

3 – Hard life lessons, experience, and knowledge have taught me to try and see things from as many perspectives before passing judgment (don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, I’m still Human and get upset from time to time)

However, when I moved to the house I am in now in 2004, I started to become increasingly frustrated with the bicyclists in my area. Thankfully I was able to remind myself that HEY!, one of these bicyclists could be Mike! And maybe more importantly there might be some “understandable” reasons for some of the behavior I observed.

I wanted to understand the difference between, as Mike said, the RULES of the road and the REALITY of the road. As with all conflict in life, obtaining a better understanding helps people with opposing views better cooperate.

You’ll have to trust me when I say I fully understand the difference between the RULES and REALITY. For example, when I come to a stop sign I DO NOT stop fully if I am able to determine there is no one around. Now, I assure I don’t take that decision lightly if there is any doubt in my mind that I can’t determine that, I will stop (and stop completely).

I break this type of rule because I am indignant and stubborn about WHY a rule was created. Rules are often created to “mandate” something obvious, something that most people do naturally but others willingly screw up and mess up life for all the rest of us. So, I feel if the condition doesn’t exist which requires the rule (some obstruction or right of way issue at a stop sign for example) I don’t follow it. Yes, I’ve gotten nailed by that and that’s the consequence. I am NOT indignant about the consequence, I broke the rule and I have to pay the price.

That is all very logical and works for me, action and reaction, balance, etc.

You also have to understand that the road I live on is wonderfully windy, tree lined and shady, has some banking that makes an amateur racer like me drool, and was recently repaved. It’s hard to resist myself even when I’m driving my truck! (it did break me a few times early in the morning and late at night when I still had my Miata) But I do resist because I’m not the only one who lives on that road (although it is somewhat sparsely populated). All of this makes it VERY tempting to treat it like a private road for everyone from motorcyclist to pedestrians.

It also bears mentioning that this road is barely 2 lanes. There is a steep uphill bank on one side and a guardrail in most places on the other side which prevents you from sliding down the bank into the creek! There are also several bridges along the way. One that is a single lane and another that should be! And lastly many commuters treat it like a shortcut from one major road to another which causes all kinds of ridiculous traffic at various times.


matthewreinsmith said...

So when I passed a group of bicyclists on my road who were driving 3 abreast (one literally riding on the double yellow line) I was careful to wait behind them for quite a distance until I could see beyond them far enough to safely pass. When I did so, as quickly as I could because that window of safety was quickly dwindling as we approached the next curve, and the bikers “indicated that they didn’t approve of my methodology”. I became… let’s say… disappointed with their behavior… yeah let’s leave it at that! However, don’t be too concerned I was in no mood for conflict that day and I eventually was able to calm down.

Yes, that was an extreme example, I admit! I could site many other less extreme but no less annoying examples (not taking your feet out of your toes clips at a stop light and ending up 1/4 of the way out into the intersection for example OR cutting across a busy intersection as a GROUP… ok gotta stop!)

So back to the issue, my desire to better understand bicyclists. Before I simply write it off as simply a situation of a few giving a bad name to the many, I would like to know if there is a “logic” that I am missing. What is the mindset of a bicyclist, I ride bikes every so often, but I head off to a park as a recreational rider not as part of a “rigorous” pursuit. I also acknowledge that when I see someone biking or running it reminds me how inadequate I have been to the task of improving my health (I’m working on that).

The basic human psychology of THAT guilt is well demonstrated by groups like the KKK, the Nazi’s, etc. ad naseum! And I like to think
I’ve been successful at recognizing it before it causes me a problem. All the more reason I want to understand if there is more there than I might realize.

I’ve really tried to whittle the issue down to the ultimate frustration and I think I’ve found it.

It’s the fact that there seems to be no consequence to this behavior! I’m not saying we should begin a “Judge Dread” style of rule enforcement, but If I have to bear the consequences of breaking the rules, so should bicyclists.

So there you go, that’s a summary of my thinking on the subject.

Please feel free to comment on any aspect.

In the meantime, I’m going to do the best I can to safely avoid bicyclists… AND pedestrians, joggers, runners, kids playing “ball”, turtles, frogs, squirrels, dogs, cats, ferrets, guinea pigs, furniture, tire treads, dear, garbage, road-kill (because bones can give you a flat, it happened to me, I know!), potholes, nails, oil slicks from spies, smoke screens, people on their cell phone, drunks, cops :-), construction workers, trees, road signs, lawns, puddles that you don’t know how deep they are, etc.

Whilst simultaneously maintaining a safe distance, braking early, coming to a complete stop, using caution at a yellow light, using my turn signals, looking for an “out” at all times, wearing my seatbelt, holding the wheel with both hands (at 10 and 2), obeying the speed limit, yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk, making way for emergency vehicles, passing with caution on a single white line, compensating for weather conditions, avoiding stray cones or barrels, assessing traffic behind me, not letting my mind drift to the stresses of my day, not playing the radio too loud or obstructing my hearing with ear-buds, changing the radio station or CD, resisting the need to pee desperately, etc.

God help us all


Anonymous said...

Childlike: Like. This might make you flinch, but that song's style brings to mind some Tracy Chapman stuff I like.

Remedy: Song was so-so, but chickens in the video won me over.

Crows Hangin' Around: Like.

And it's after 1am now, so that really was both musical education & lullaby for me! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

P.S. Amazing daily workouts you put forth, as usual. Tennis baseball is a new Juneathon fitness category, I hear.

Anonymous said...

What a great point above- difference between rules and reality! One thing I always try to remember, and have touched on before, is that while we might see the car, the car doesn't necessarily see us. They aren't keeping an eye on us (reality) so we must keep an eye on them (rule) if you get what I am saying :)