Friday, July 22, 2005

Biker Gangs

Atlanta has a biker problem and it's likely to only get worse.

Packs of marauding biker gangs prowl the back streets of Atlanta, looking for action and building their street cred. I've noticed them blatantly running red lights/stop signs, using our roads to race each other and generally ignoring their own safety on the road. It's gotten so bad that I avoid them like the plague.

I'm talking about cyclists mind you. The spandex wearing, road laws only apply to motorists, self preservation be damned kind.

I've got no problem sharing asphalt with these guys. I am courteous and give them a wide berth. I've got good friends who are cyclists. Some of whom were even part of Team in Training.

I almost killed a careless one the other day. Pulled up to a stop sign at a typically dangerous intersection. It's a four way stop with a twist - instead of a classic "t" intersection, it becomes sort of a 5 way intersection with my road split into two one way streets. There was a car coming from my left who stopped and was waiting to make the turn. I'm also waiting for traffic to clear allowing me to turn left and then make a quick right. As traffic clears I release the brake and start to pull into the intersection when a biker doing about 30 squeezes between the stationary SUV on my left and the curb. I did everything but run him over. My car edged into the intersection and the blur of unrecognized motion to my left caused me to hit the brakes, narrowly avoiding a nasty scratch to my front end - and needless to say one dead as dirt, careless biker, and a lawsuit with my name on it.

These guys run red lights and stop signs at their convenience. They travel in wide packs uphill on the windy back streets making it impossible for cars to pass safely. Even local munincipality Berkeley Lake was considering licensing cyclists.

Get with it guys. I'll very nicely share the road with you. Always have. But you can't have it both ways. Help me out. You are not as visible as a vehicle and you will squeeze your bike into places where I'm unable or not likely to see you approach. Going up hill, please thin the pack out and stick to the right. And at least get some cheapy lights while you're at it too. They can make a world of difference visibility wise. I'm surprised we haven't had more incidents.

Atlanta is getting better. Fifteen years ago, there was nothing here for cyclists. Now we've got some - largely unused mind you - bike lanes around and in the city. Cobb County has miles of the Silver Comet Trail, which starts at Cumberland Mall in NW and heads west. Also, every year, Bike Ride Across Georgia is run. Things are improving.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ edit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Go figure. Just this evening I pull up to the 3-way red light just outside my subdivision. A biker from the right decides to run the red light as we enter the intersection on green. I almost ran her off into the house across the street. If I wasn't watching, she would have been a tree ornament.