Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SUMMER IS HEATING UP!

The latest summer heat wave has made its presence known here in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I was bemoaning the heat and humidity at lunch at Smoky Mountain CafĂ© on Main St. today and a tourist nearby remarked that he was from Atlanta, GA and this was a breath of fresh air for him. Last week’s cooler temps were certainly more attractive to this old mountain man!

July19_BicycleHaywoodNC_Meeting

(Members of BicycleHaywoodNC avoiding late day heat!)

Yesterday’s monthly meeting of BicycleHaywoodNC did provide the opportunity to escape the late day heat…

Our monthly meeting had a low turnout following several months of high attendance. I’m not overly surprised as the folks making up this advisory council have many other “irons in the fire” and sometimes priorities do conflict. Those in attendance did get caught up on the Haywood Bike Plan developments, our progress in replacing an aging fleet of bicycles for the local school system, and other nuts and bolts items required to run an organization.

Latest cycling column published…

My latest bi-monthly cycling column in the Waynesville Mountaineer hit the streets this morning. This time I wanted to try and stimulate motorists thoughts about the rightful place of bicycles on our streets and begin to set the tone for a big friendly welcome to our incoming guests for the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway. You may see the column in print by visiting the Waynesville Mountaineer and scrolling to the Sports Page in today’s edition. (07/20/2011) The column entitled “How Is Your Cycling IQ?” entails 5 brief True/False questions. For those so interested, the text of the column follows:

HOW’S YOUR CYCLING IQ?

Haywood County is just a month away now from the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway on August 20th. Preliminary registrations strongly suggest that local businesses and residents will get to enjoy the company of near 600 cyclists and their family members. This is double last year’s participation. To prepare for the arrival of our many guests, I thought we might check our Cycling IQ with these 5 short True/False questions. (No, it is not necessary to have watched hours of the Tour de France to take this IQ test.)

Q1. In N.C., bicycles are legally considered vehicles and have the same RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES as any other form of transportation such as cars and trucks.

Q2. Bicyclists must ride on sidewalks and should not be on the road at all.

Q3. If you are parked in your car along a street, open your door, and a cyclist runs into it, it is the fault of the driver of the car.

Q4. When riding on the road, cyclists MUST ride on the extreme right hand side of the road.

Q5. Motorists and/or their passengers, who throw items at cyclists, are engaging in a sport similar to hunting deer or target practice.

So, how did you do? Let’s review the correct answers…

Q1. True – Bicycles are recognized in N.C. and, in most other states, as legal forms of transportation and have full legal access to the road system unless prohibited in areas of fully controlled access (I-40 as an example).

Q2. False –The Town of Waynesville prohibits cyclists on sidewalks in certain areas. Cyclist’s odds of being injured are 4 times greater when riding on sidewalks than when riding in the direction of the traffic flow on streets.

Q3. True – It is fault of the person opening the door. The injury to the cyclist is called “getting doored”. Motorcyclists are also vulnerable to this injury. It is the person opening the door, who has the responsibility to LOOK FIRST and then open the door.

Q4. False – N.C. law indicates that cyclists should ride on the right as far as is safe and practical but may take the full lane when safety of the cyclist deems it necessary. Passing cars are REQUIRED to wait for a safe passing opportunity and then to pass giving a minimum of 2 feet of clearance from the cyclist.

Q5. False – Throwing items at cyclists is an ASSAULT and, upon conviction, can lead to jail sentences. Depending upon the evidence, it might be Assault with Intent to Kill or some lesser charge. Similar action resulting in the death of a cyclist could result in murder or manslaughter charges.

How did you fare on the IQ test? Were you surprised by any of the correct answers? To make the roads safer for all users, please stop and think about these situations as you drive. Please be a great “ambassador of good will” for Haywood County as we meet cyclists and other tourists on our roads!

 

We were recently informed that our registration for this year’s Blue Ridge Breakaway is running 3x ahead of last year’s registration at this point of the game. We are hopeful of at least doubling our participants to 300 riders this year. It isn’t too late to register yet although slots for the Century ride, which includes the Blue Ridge Parkway, are limited.

Discriminating against cyclists…

For a well written piece regarding how it feels to be discriminated against for being a cyclist, check out Ted’s post for today at BikingInLA. We should all be hopeful that Los Angeles’s anti-harassment CIVIL procedures pass the City Council and become the law of the L.A. land. Maybe it will spread nationally as an additional tool for cyclists to seek justice!

My random Le Tour thoughts…

I’m becoming a Thomas Voeckler fan but am also pulled in another direction hoping that an American based team pulls out a victory at Le Tour. It has been exciting thus far! I’ve been a fan of Thor Hushovd for sometime and am certainly happy to see his stage wins this year.

Stay cool and keep the rubber side down!

- Zeke

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