Please Don't Run Me Over
As the non-official biking king, I find it my duty to enlighten some on bike safety in Alaska. I ride to work 5 days a week, all year long. Making my commute pretty dangerous under certain circumstances and I have had more close calls with motor vehicles than one would ever want. I know that many drivers get annoyed with bicyclists, thinking that they shouldn’t be in the road. (I used to be one of them) However, whether you like it or not there are laws stating that this is where we are supposed to be. Every person riding a bike has all the rights, and is subject to all the duties, applicable to drivers of motor vehicles. Here are a few other tidbits for your reading enjoyment –
If I ride my bike on or across a sidewalk, trail, or pathway, I have all the right and duties of a pedestrian.
I am not allowed to ride on a sidewalk in a business district. (I try and stay on the sidewalk as much as possible, sometimes I just have to be in the road.)
By law every rider should have a light after dusk and before dawn.( I wear multiple, I know you can see me)
If a shoulder is maintained in good condition, I am responsible to use it. (However, having a maintained shoulder in Anchorage isn’t very likely and a shoulder at all in the winter is highly doubtful)
These are just a couple things to enlighten you while taking your daily commute along with us pesky bikers. Many motorists do not know that there are actual bike laws but there are, plus you are in vehicles that can kill me. Please be polite, have patience and tolerance for bikes in the road. I have been yelled at and honked at many times while peddling away even though I was abiding by the law. It is a challenge for me to not raise my middle finger as a salute when people like this ruin my ride but I try my best to just smile and wave.
Please just pay attention, we are out there and we are allowed to be. Put your cell phones down or whatever else it is that is so important it cannot wait because it can. Less than a week ago I was crossing C Street about 10 seconds after the light changed to red and a pick-up truck blew through the intersection, not even paying attention while lighting a cigarette. Luckily, I know better than to cross without making eye contact so I was aware of the situation and stopped dead in my tracks about 15 feet before the truck blew by, but if I was just crossing and didn’t see the truck who knows what could of happened.
A motor vehicle is going to win 10 times out of 10 against a cyclist. Anchorage is not much of a bike friendly town but some enjoy riding their bikes to work, some cannot afford a vehicle so they ride and some just have no choice. Drive safe!!