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Scree - November 14, 2010

grop ride

Riding in Packs

A recent fatal motorcycle/car incident in California reminded me of issues with cyclists riding in packs.

Years ago I was driving the sag wagon for the 7th graders at my wife's school. There were about twelve riders. Only a couple of the young teens were good riders so they rode in a pack, a slow pack.

One of the first things I noticed while driving the van (with the U-Haul trailer), it was hard to safely pass the pack of riders. If the riders started before me, I would sit behind them trying to find a way around them. Any traffic coming up behind me also had to wait.

My wife saw the problem. The pack of riders spanned about two hundred feet along the roadway. Her answer was to pull off the paved road onto the shoulder (or even grass) to let the van pass.

So how is this pack bicycle riding story similar to the motorcycle riding story? The motorcycles were also riding in a pack. Pack riding is different than individual riding. The pack is trying to stay together, but their cohesiveness causes danger. A vehicle will have trouble passing the pack and will eventually take chances. This impatience of the vehicle's driver is the same if the pack is a group of bicycle riders, motorcycles, cars, or an Army vehicle convoy!

Motorcyclists who cannot or choose not to keep up with the flow of traffic become a hazard to drivers. But, the motorcyclists will be quick to tell you, they have as much right to the road as the other vehicle... Tell it to the bicyclists! The bicyclists have been fighting this problem for years. They are only a vehicle if they do not prohibit the progress of other vehicles (automobiles). If the bicyclists gets in the way, they become a hazard. A passing vehicle (automobile or truck) would quickly cut off or brush the bicyclist in order to prevent a collision with an on coming car.

With the motorcycle ride, the car that was trying to pass was absolutely wrong; but motorcyclists just like bicyclists have to look out for themselves.

A couple of ideas...

All vehicles need to slow. If we want to have fewer fatalites, change the laws and everyone slow down.

It is also important when riding in a group or pack to leave spaces for passers. A continuous line makes it hard for any vehicle to get around the pack. It is a good idea to plan ahead and leave gaps in the riders.

(Yahoo News - AP)

Quidditch Anyone?

This weekend is the International Quidditch World Cup Tournament! The tournament is being held in New York City.

Okay, this is for real, they have snitches and all. It looks like a good time; but I just can't see how they ride the broomsticks???