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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-10-11, 11:42 AM   #1
puppypilgrim
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Have a LAUGH at my expense

I commute to downtown Vancouver from west Richmond by bicycle. My usual route is via the CanadaLine bike bridge, then onto Cambie Street heading over the Cambie bridge before ending up at Howe & Cordova. Just under 20 km or 12.5 miles.

This morning I decided to take the Arthur Laing bridge, to Cypress, then Burrard Bridge before showing solidarity for the Hornby separated bike lane. I am a sprint-when-the-light-turns-green sort of rider. Wearing a high visibility fluorescent yellow long sleeved top with cycling specific lycra long pants, I am poetry in motion. Man and machine are one.

At the green light at Pacific and Hornby I start off strong and I'm flying north along the bike lane. Using my bell, I politely warn a pair of pedestrians who suspiciously appear they might be wandering onto the bike lane just before Davie. I'm making good time just by the Vancouver Art Gallery when a man in a dark navy blue pin striped suit walks off the sidewalk without looking and right onto the bike lane as I approach. The bike lane elevates at this section to be level with the sidewalk and he might have thought that was an engineered pedestrian crossing.

As I swerved around him, I said in a loud voice, "You're on the bike lane sir!"

"Sorry," he replied.

With my educational deed done for the day, I stopped at the red light at Georgia and Hornby careful to place my wheel just behind the white line in order not to impede the mass of pedestrians heading to work. Pedestrians, cars and bicycles. Can we all get along? Refrains of "kum bayah" echo in my mind and I feel the universe smiling.

The light turns green so I instinctively launch my feet into the Zefal toe-cupped pedals to push my 74 gear inch singlespeed into motion to head north. Suddenly my peripheral vision catches sight of a car from Hornby entering the intersection to make a right turn onto Georgia. What!? How dare --

Reacting to the threat of collision, I looked once more at the traffic light. It was green for cars going straight and for cars making a right turn. The smaller bicycle lane control light was showing a steady red! My right hand reached for my front brake lever knowing that the front brakes control 70% of stopping force and grabbed it hard. The front wheel comes to a dead stop. I feel the rear of the bike lighten as it raises in the air. At the same time, my right foot pivots off the pedal and plants on the ground. The rear of the bike descends and careens to my left with my left foot still planted on the pedal. Recovering from the near face-planting endo, I stood up - still straddling the bike and wheeled the bike backwards and said, "Sorry."

The car made the turn without further incident.

As I arrived at work, I made a mental note to try Burrard Street with its painted bike lane to Cordova. For the speed and style of cycling I prefer, the separated bike lane may not be my best choice unless I'm driving Miss Daisy.
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Old 05-10-11, 12:18 PM   #2
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Old 05-10-11, 12:19 PM   #3
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So you almost did an endo, and got a little karmic lesson at the same time.
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Old 05-10-11, 01:14 PM   #4
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That is a very very cool story, bro.
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Old 05-10-11, 02:06 PM   #5
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Glad you didn't get hurt.
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Old 05-10-11, 02:53 PM   #6
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Well told. Glad no one was harmed irreparably in this incident.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:34 PM   #7
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Yup, karma slapped me and reminded me to be humble.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:42 PM   #8
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You tell tell a good story. Am glad nobody was hurt and your man enough to face the day
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Old 05-10-11, 05:03 PM   #9
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I ride the new bike lanes every day (also to show solidarity, and get my another tick on the traffic counters they've got there), and still occasionally have a false start. You get so conditioned to going on green...
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Old 05-10-11, 05:27 PM   #10
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fishonabike, its true. I turn 45 this year and ever since I got my driver's license at 17, I go on green.

The city has setup some counters to measure traffic with the start of spring so I run the lane to contribute my "click" towards ridership. My normal route into town is north on Cambie Street, across the Cambie Bridge, then Dunsmuir lane, north on Granville, then Hastings and Howe. I don't need to ride the Hornby lanes at all.
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Old 05-10-11, 05:47 PM   #11
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Glad you didn't get hurt.
+1
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Old 05-10-11, 06:04 PM   #12
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Very nice story.

A friendly question - should you have yielded to the pedestrian? If you were a car, would you have? Just wondering what the rules and customs are. In the US (at least where I live), once a pedestrian steps off a curb, he/she has the right of way in a crosswalk in an uncontrolled intersection. Cars are supposed to stop.
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Old 05-10-11, 10:29 PM   #13
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Camilo, in my case, it is a marked and designated bike lane. I would not be found at fault for colliding with a pedestrian who entered the bike lane without looking I believe.

Many pedestrians are busy texting and Facebooking as they walk that they are oblivious to the traffic around them adding to the hazard (although that was not so in my case above).
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Old 05-11-11, 03:51 PM   #14
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Very nice story.

A friendly question - should you have yielded to the pedestrian? If you were a car, would you have? Just wondering what the rules and customs are. In the US (at least where I live), once a pedestrian steps off a curb, he/she has the right of way in a crosswalk in an uncontrolled intersection. Cars are supposed to stop.
None of the intersections which have this configuration are uncontrolled, and the point that he mentions wasn't an intersection. The pedestrian was jay-walking. If it was an uncontrolled intersection, you would be right.
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