North and South Winooski Avenue is a thoroughfare in Burlington that is marked for cyclists in various ways: sharrows, a wide lane, and without room or designation depending upon where you are in its 2-mile length. With piecemeal bike improvements its proponents want it to be the southbound bike route through the city. This road spans the North End retail district, to busy downtown, to quiet residential neighborhoods.
I pedal this route often, especially on the separate bike lane along a one-way half mile corridor. It's pleasant and I can let my thoughts wander to the pedestrians, trees, or businesses en-route.
|Approaching the intersection. Bike lane disappears.|
|I wait in right lane, then go when light turns green.|
|In intersection. Notice how close the autos are. Two lane|
traffic in each direction.
|Even if I take the lane cars zoom past. Notice the lack of green space between|
lane and sidewalk. I've heard talk of reducing this 3 block zone to two lanes,
adding a bicycle lane. It won't come soon enough!
What? Those words came out of my husbands mouth? He's a fairly regular bike commuter too. With all our proclamations of "share the road" - and I am one of them - what if some cyclists would rather not share? If my husband feels that way, how many other cyclists do? And, more disturbing, is this a defeatist attitude or is it just a practical viewpoint from an aging cyclist?
So, would my husband have chosen to not travel those three blocks? Would he ride on the sidewalk and risk a ticket, or go 4 blocks out of his way to avoid the area? We didn't talk about it. I'd like to think he'd stand up for a cyclist's rights, but as he ages he's become aware of his mortality, and he certainly has a right to his own opinion.
So, I leave you with these thoughts. As cyclists, we avoid some roads in favor of others - that's a given. But do particular road conditions push you over the edge? And, at what point do we allow cynicism to control our bike advocacy?