Bike riders dangerous

August 6th, 2008 by Ken

You think I’m going to tell you that riding a bike on public streets is dangerous, and that anytime a car and a bicycle collide, the bike rider always loses, even if he’s in the right.  Well, I’m not going to tell you that even though it’s true.

I’m going to ask the question “Where do novice bike riders gain the skill necessary to ride on the streets in traffic?”  They gain it by riding on the many walking and biking trails we have around the South Sound area.

With the advent of more bike riders, I’ve notice more and more of them riding on our walking trails, on the Chehalis Western Trail for example, one I walk on a regular basis and have some knowledge of what happens.

On a good summer weekend, hundreds, if not thousands of bike riders use the Chehalis Western Trail.  They do it to practice their skills.   They are a danger to the walkers who also use the trail.

These novice bike riders are easy to spot.  They usually wear a helmet of some kind, but not always the new sleek helmets preferred by professional riders.  They usually have an older bike and they usually wear sweats or some type of athletic gear not the tight fitting ultra colorful outfits used by more professional riders.

And, they usually do it in packs, learn how to ride that is.  It’s not unusual to see two, three and sometimes more riding side by side, taking up all the room on the trail.    Most accomplished riders, ride one behind the other, but not these amateurs.  They want everyone to get out of their way.

Sometimes they have their children on bikes, very young children, weaving all over the trail.  These novice bike riders are a danger to every walker on the trail.  They zoom up quietly and pass by the shoulder so close that you can smell their sweat.  They wobble and weave and force many walkers to the shoulder and sometimes even off the trail.

They’re a danger to all walkers and someone is going to get hurt very soon, if something isn’t done.

Control of the Chehalis Western Trail and many other trails in the area, rests with the Thurston County Parks.  I’m not asking them to ban bike riders, but I am asking them to put some type of rule in place so that everyone, bike riders, walkers and runners know what’s expected of them and just where they should travel.

The Parks Department should write a brochure teaching bike riding etiquette and place it in all of the bike shops.  They should also have a presence at local community events  handing out information on the trails and spelling out how they should be used.

Posted in Informational, The Real News

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