I had a great time celebrating the election at the Citizens for a Responsive Local Government party tonight: more about that later. Right now I want to share an interesting bicycling related interaction that I had on my way home.
The following story is made all the more interesting because of a conversation about bicycling I had at the Election Party. The person I was listening to had just returned from a visit to Europe, and she told a wonderful story about the friendliness toward bicycles in the area she visited. She told of not riding in a car for the whole duration of her stay. She said that car drivers customarily expressed an attitude and behavior of respect toward bicyclists. It sounded to me like car-drivers made a general point to give bicyclists the right of way.
Now, what a contrast that is to here in Olympia, where every time I get on my bicycle I feel like I have to fend for my life. And I worry about those cyclists amongst us who are less defensively minded. And I really strongly wish we had a safe environment to ride bikes around here.
After having a delicious cup of Sleeping Universe at SIZIZIS ($1 off tea on Tuesdays...) I stopped by the new City Hall in order to graph some photons (pictured). After that, la-dee-dah, I got on my bike and started riding East on 4th Ave toward home. I was on the left side of the street, and since I turn left off of 4th Avenue, I stayed in the left hand lane the whole way from Cherry Street until my turn-off. One-half block from where I turn off 4th (on Quince) I heard a loud voice behind me saying "Get in the bike lane." So I yelled back, "what am I supposed to do if I am turning left?"
Turns out the loud-voice was that of an Olympia Police Officer.
I was pissed. I mean I could understand it if was a private citizen. Someone just trying to give a guy a hard time - after all people do need ego reinforcement, and our society doesn't provide a whole lot of healthy ways for people to boost their self-esteem. But this was a cop.
So I stopped.
I-985 is the most backwards approach to traffic control I've seen on a Washington state ballot. This initiative would open car pool lanes to all drivers discouraging car pooling and bus riding. It would also steal funds from local cities that have red light cameras and forbid the use of transportation funds for bike lanes, transit, and trails.
This initiative is from the same joker that brought us the $30 car tabs that cut funds in half for intercity transit. What is wrong with encouraging public transportation through efficient service and lower rates. What is wrong with encouraging biking and walking with a quality and safe infrastructure. Doesn't Tim Eyman appreciate that when people find alternatives car traffic is reduced.
The best way to avoid being stuck in traffic is to avoid driving. Ride the bus, bicycle or walk when you can and you won't have to sit behind the wheel of a car stacked up behind hundreds of other vehicles. These options need to be encouraged and improved upon if we are to reduce the traffic on our highways as well as conserve energy.
The Puget Sound is in serious danger. Pollution has wreaked horrible consequences on this majestic waterway. For example, 92% of wild salmon runs are no more, and several stocks of other species are collapsing as well. Why is the Puget Sound in danger? Ask an expert.
Take it from William Dietrich. He published an article in the Seattle Times yesterday. It's about this very subject. It's very well written and it's titled: "Puget Sound: One man's indictment, love poem and call to arms", here's a link: seattletimes.nwsource.com/Read more...