Contininuing the dialogue over cycling in West Seattle

Good morning to all those who took the time to comment on the West Seattle Blog’s post about the maiden voyage of SASSY (Seattle Awareness of Safety). Most of you commenting so far are frustrated drivers, or drivers perplexed why anyone would ride along Delridge at all.

Please know that I sympathize with the expressed frustration, though not necessarily about cyclists. I’m mostly very impressed by their tenacity and efficiency. Never-the-less, I’m primarily a car driver, and drive along Delridge often. I’d like to bicycle more, too, to save gas and get more exercise.

I hope that we can back away from the animosity and step into a dialogue that improves the experience along Delridge for everyone in the community. And that is really all Miranda and I want to achieve. (I hope that I’m not misrepresenting Miranda’s goals.)

Why do people bike along Delridge? The same reason people drive along it. It’s the main thoroughfare for the east side of West Seattle. Trust me, if cyclists have a good alternative, they’ll take it. So, one alternative is to advocate for more bike trails, not just lanes, but trails. That’s expensive, tho’.

Miranda and I didn’t do anything dramatic on this maiden voyage but ride along Delridge. Two aren’t enough to form a critical mass, so it would have been dangerous to even try. If more people will join us on Friday evenings about 5:30 then perhaps we can make more of a presence, although not necessarily one that impedes traffic, to remind drivers that cyclists have a right to the road, too.

Some posters pointed out that more education is needed. We all agree about that! Bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and drivers all can be better educated about how to share the road with one another. There are bad drivers and bad bicyclists, but there are far more people just having a bad day no matter what propels them — physically and mentally. One driver having a momentary lapse isn’t necessarily mean-spirited, nor is a cyclist who veers out further into a lane necessarily trying to make the driver’s life miserable.

The cyclist may be dodging a hazard in street, which is unfortunately common. Keep in mind, tho’, the driver having a momentary lapse is far more dangerous to everyone else in the area than cyclist is. I’m sorry, but we drivers are hurling a vehicle weighing at least a ton down the road. We’re the biggest and most dangerous thing on the road, and as such, have an extra responsibility to take care.

However, just because we’re the biggest and most dangerous does NOT equate to disproportionate ownership. Those cyclists you may curse are also paying taxes for the roads upon which we drive. Roads they might not even use except for biking.

So, frustrated drivers…what would make your driving experience better in your opinion? Should bike lanes supplanting parking or be in addition to the parking space? Would you support putting more road money into off street cycling trails?

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