When I heard that CU Boulder was looking for people who were willing to try riding an “electrically assisted bike” for a few weeks to get a chance at winning a free one, I almost threw my helmet in the ring.
The story said the Exercise Science Lab is recruiting people who usually commute by car or bus for a study of the potential benefits of commuting with such a “bike.”
Then I asked myself:
Is a two-wheeled vehicle with an electric motor really a bike?
I usually commute by bus or by bicycle (without an electric motor), and will do almost anything to avoid driving a car to Boulder, so would I even be eligible?
Didn’t I just spend too much for a new wheel and hub for the ass end of my commuter/MTB? Shouldn’t I start amortizing that?
While these conditions are experienced by both motorists and bicyclists, bicyclists are much more likely to have their safety compromised.
That’s an improvement, in that he acknowledges the roads are dangerous for motorists, but not much of an improvement.
The roads, he says, are more dangerous for cyclists than they are for motorists because of steep drop-offs and increased heavy equipment traffic. I’m going to hazard a guess that more motorists than cyclists go over those steep drop-offs on canyon roads and that there are more collisions between big trucks and other motor vehicles than there are between big trucks and people on bicycles.
The biggest hazards to cyclists are careless drivers, and maybe someday Boulder County and others will acknowledge that.
Our community’s pernicious motor-centric bias is on display along U.S. Highway 36 between Lyons and Estes Park.
As we drove that route Monday to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking, I couldn’t help but notice the road signs that singled bicyclists out for special attention. Bicycling was “not recommended,” the signs said, and cyclists were advised that they did so “at their own risk.”
When do cyclists ever not ride at their own risk?
Were we driving our car at someone else’s risk?
Are motorists less inclined to be careful and polite around cyclists when they see such warnings?
By telling the community that some roads are unsafe for non-motorized travel, and telling all road users who can read that cyclists really shouldn’t be around, our transportation officials reinforce the notion that roads are just for cars and trucks. They make the roads more dangerous for bicycling.