Friday, May 19, 2006

The new bike path year

What happens when the bike paths open for a new year?

First, the streets get cleaned (mostly) and if we are lucky all the crap is cleaned up, especially at intersections where you least want to turn the corner and AIEEE go down cuz your tire slid on the loose dirt!

Next, about a month later, intersections get painted with a dashed line for the bike path, so car drivers know to watch out for cyclists who don't (can't?) stop.

All through the plateau the path crosses streets with no 4-way intersections, meaning the cars have the priority. (this mystifies me totally, wouldn't 4-way stops be safer?) Although many (ok, most) cyclists stop at these intersections, the cars need some warning that they are about to hit already-brain dead people on bikes (these aren't cyclists, not even the pseudo-racer types) who don't seem to understand the concept of stop sign.

So the city paints these lines instead of making the intersection a 4-way stop. Well, I suppose it is better than nothing.

Another bike path improvement
The south entrance to the bike path north-south through parc Lafontaine at corner of Cherrier street has an expanded level-with-street sidewalk corner. Previously this was the standard wheelchair sized crosswalk entrance, meaning pedestrians and bikes were charging towards the same five-foot wide section of sidewalk. Now the corner has an expanded lowered-sidewalk section and it permits bikes to use a separate trajectory when aiming at the bike path going north. Good work ville de Montreal. I like seeing these small but important improvements to the bike paths to reduce chance of accidents spoiling everyones day. Whether we admit it not, there's a lot of people playing chicken (a poor etiquette riding technique where the rider inside her head thinks assertively "I'm not chicken and if I aim right at you, you'd better get out of my way or I'll run you over!") so this will reduce the body count.

Puddles and Poodles
I set up Rusty as a rain bike and today got to ride it in the rain for going the the BibNat super library and some food shopping after at Diabilissimo and Fromentier (got a Trio and an pain de verger). The fenders work fine. The bmx pedals work fine and my feet don't slip. There are a lot of puddles on the bike path. Not too many poodles, which is good cuz you can skid on them if you can't bunny hop over top of 'em. Noticed my tires do a bit of a slid when crossing roadcrap or crappy road with gouges or edges parallel to direction of travel. Also tree reproduction stuff on ground made things slippery. But Rusty doesn't encourage racing speed so stability limits were inside the envelope.

I am using a new MEC helmet rain cover in bright yellow which made life slightly more bearable. I wasn't sure it would but it seems to make life in aquatic weather better, and of course, goes a long way to being a HIGHLY VISIBLE city bicycle rider. This is probably my rule one for city bike safety. Also makes me even more cute than ever.


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