Getting thru traffic
through warm chocolate cake
With the new job I'll be ramping up my commuting in the City of Big Shoulders. Even though the new office will be up here on the far north side I'll be meeting with a lot of groups all over the city and surrounding region. To boost the odds for my survival I took a look through the bike blogs searching for commuting tips.
Out in San Francisco Lane Kagay owns CETMAracks. He builds front-end bike racks and blogs about bike culture. Several months ago he posted a dissection and analysis of a busy urban intersection from the viewpoint of a bicycle courier...
Kagay thus suggests:
- A. The traffic light turned red while you were mid-intersection.
- B. Oblivious pedestrians. BIG TROUBLE. Practiced city-walkers will look left before stepping into the street, but you're not likely to encounter them here. See the lady in front? She's looking up at some dumb billboard and daydreaming. The moment she snaps out of it and notices the walk signal, she's gonna bolt without looking. The others behind her are in conversation and WILL follow her thoughtlessly.
- C. Check the bus. It's difficult to see in this picture, but up ahead there's a stampede waiting to board this bus. The bus driver hasn't signaled yet, but you know better. Stay away from the right side.
- D. This driver probably poses the greatest danger to you. Oncoming traffic from the right will be approaching any moment, and you can count on this guy making a panicky hard right to clear the intersection. With limited visibility behind the delivery truck (and with you smack-dab in his blind spot), he's not gonna see the stopped bus on the right, and I guarantee you, he's gonna floor it to avoid getting swarmed by pedestrians in front of the crosswalk. Be ready.
Get the peds' attention with a shout or a bell or something. When they see your ugly face barreling down, they'll stay put. Lay on a couple hard pumps to get on the wheel of that guy on the bike, but keep a close eye on the black car (D). Watch the front wheels and listen for the acceleration.