We rolled out of the TrySports parking lot for our Wednesday ride last night at 6pm. But not before being given a speech on road etiquette. Because of the number of cyclist now riding in the Marvin and Waxhaw area, the cycling groups have asked the police in these towns to more closely enforce the laws related to motorist and cyclist.
Not that this is a bad thing. I am all for cyclist riding single file and not taking up the entire road. I am also in favor of motorist driving responsibly when passing cyclist as well as giving cyclist the appropriate amount of space while passing.
Just in my short cycling history, I have more than my fair share of close calls.
What I learned last night was that Marvin and Waxhaw police officers will now cite cyclist for moving violations (I hope I have this right). For example, if you come up stop sign, check the traffic in both directions, and then roll through it without coming to a complete halt, they intend to ticket you. As I understand it, the same can be applied at red lights and you must have the green before proceeding. And if you are riding in a group, each cyclist must come up to the stop sign and make a complete halt. There can be no "clear right" "clear left" signals.
While I understand the spirit of these laws, I still struggle with them. Starting and stopping on a bike are the most dangerous times for a cyclist. While you are rolling along you have more control over the bike.
Now, I am not in favor of blasting through stop signs or red lights. In my opinion, stop signs should be treated as yield signs for cyclist. If another vehicle is coming, give them the right of passage and come to a complete stop. Otherwise, in the cyclist's own good judgment slow appropriately and proceed through the intersection.
For red lights, I am in favor of stopping, but waiting on a light to change is ridiculous. Depending on how the light is coded, the light may never change. In this case, a cyclist should be able to check traffic in all directions and when safely able to do so proceed through the intersection.
If you went down to city hall and checked the books, I'll bet there are many of laws that are no longer enforced. I remember reading about one city which had a law that every car must be preceded by a man walking and carrying a red flag 50 feet in front of the car. Just image if they tried to enforce such a law in today's world.
And much like the laws related to copy rights infringement which many were written before the onset of the internet, many of the laws related to the bicycle were written before such things a clipless pedals and group rides.
Maybe it is time to rethink these laws and adjust them for the world that we live in today.
When I ride, I ride responsibly and I only ask only that motorist do the same.
Okay, now that I have this off my chest, last night's ride was awesome. We added a few extra miles after the hill section to push the ride mileage to 34 and averaged about 19mph. The pace was a little quicker than last week but after riding with the Inside Out guys on Tuesday night, the pace felt a lot slower.
Last week, when I hit the hill I choose the wrong gear and dropped through the group like a stone. Last night, I learned from previous week and down shifted appropriately. This time, I was able to stay with the guys all the way to the top. Experience, you can live without it but life is so much harder.
Later on the run in on Rea Road, I guess I got a little too froggy and was trying to really push the big gears. I pulled up so hard on my left pedal that I pulled my shoe completely out of the clip. By the time that I reclipped, they were 40 meters in front of me. There wasn't any chance of catching them.
Next time, oh, I am looking forward to it.
-btw I saw Chris wearing one of the retro TrySports jerseys. Definitely, it was a keeper. I have to have one.
Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner