In today’s edition of the P-G, Melanie Hall, a city DPW employee, noted that:
“It also would be useful if there were a law against people riding bicycles in snow and icy conditions on public streets. They are a major hazard to driving in any weather, but especially in bad weather.”
A major hazard in all weather? Certainly, there are cyclists who choose to disregard the law, but as Ms. Hall notes, vehicular traffic often does the same. Perhaps cars and trucks should be considered a major hazard as well. A cyclist obeying the law is only a “hazard” because she forces a driver to slow down, and be more aware of what is happening around them (something that can be difficult when sitting in a shiny, metal box). Yes, cycling in the snow requires a bit more skill, and practice. But most drivers would admit the same about their cars.
The average cyclist, riding on city streets, will rarely exceed 15 MPH on flat roads (perhaps more on a descent, and quite a bit less climbing a hill). Further, the combined weight of cyclist plus bicycle will be well under 500 pounds, and most likely somewhere in the range of 150 to 250 pounds. Compare that to cars and trucks traveling well over 25 MPH (Ms. Hall points out herself that vehicular traffic does not adhere to posted speed limits) and weighing over two tons. Simple physics tells us that cyclists are far safer, in all conditions, than cars and trucks.
I sincerely hope that the city and the DPW do not share Ms. Hall’s opinion of the bicycle.