Yesterday I had a lunch date at Paxia, on Edgewater Drive and Winter Park Street. As I was riding up Edgewater from my office, I spotted a woman riding ahead of me. She was riding in the empty parking spaces to the right of the bike lane, coming out to skim the parked cars, then going back toward the curb. I see a lot of this on Edgewater, and it spans all demographics. This woman looked like a typical College Park resident.

I thought that maybe I could give her some advice if I caught up to her, so I sped up a little. I almost got there, but as I was approaching Yale St., an 18-wheeler rolled by and slowed for the red light at Princeton. That meant I had to merge into the traffic lane immediately, so I negotiated a spot a few vehicles behind the semi and watched her roll on. The truck was a few cars from the intersection, so I wasn’t worried about her stopping in the driver’s blind spot.

The bike lane ends at Princeton and resumes again after Smith (here’s a satellite image). The majority of cyclists have no clue what to do there. Some go to the sidewalk, others skim the parked cars in a lane so narrow even cars are in the door zone. I’ve never seen anyone I didn’t know (ie Mighk, Lisa, etc.) merge before the intersection and ride in the middle of the lane for that short block.

When the light turned green, traffic moved very slowly. I coasted in the flow through the light at Princeton. There she was, standing behind a parked car, looking perplexed. She’d gone across the intersection and gotten trapped. She gave me the strangest look as I coasted past her on the left half of the lane.

I saw her ride by as I was going into the restaurant (after locking the Surly on the bike racks outside Scruffy’s). There is a lot of traffic on Edgewater at noon. I suspect she ended up waiting til the light turned red to get out of her predicament.

I always wonder if the encumbered cyclist witnessing the ease of good cycling practices connects the dots.

7 replies
  1. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    Indeed, one always hopes that good examples can influence people, but so many think they are limited by law to the edge or bike lane. Our examples may be seen as violations.

  2. Keri
    Keri says:

    One night Laura Hallam and I were riding on Lake Howell Road, approaching the light at Howell Branch, when we passed 2 cyclists riding on the sidewalk. It was a father and teenage son. They came off the sidewalk and followed us into good position at the red light, then stayed with us in the lane until they made a left turn into their neighborhood.

    I don’t know if they would have used the sidewalk/crosswalk had we not been there. But most people do.

  3. andrewp
    andrewp says:

    One can hope, but I think Mighk may have it — most will not follow, from fear of traffic as well as fear of being “legal”.

    Still, this is what CommuteOrlando can be for; a source of good information and people willing to help. We just need to get the word out more …….

  4. Keri
    Keri says:

    Even beyond fear and legality, people adhere to norms. Riding the way we do is an anomaly. People are riding the way they see most other people ride.

    Some of the trouble we have communicating safe riding behavior in the recreational community is that it’s more important to the influential people to be accepted than to promote what’s right. The few of us who have tried to go against the grain have been ridiculed and shunned.

    Until it’s seen as a norm, people won’t do it. They don’t want to be different.

  5. ChipSeal
    ChipSeal says:

    Keri said:
    “They don’t want to be different”

    Sigh. Having met me, you know it’s not just my cycling style that makes me different! 🙂

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