Road hazards can harm cyclists, reader says

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Although I work as a transportation planner, I'm writing as a private citizen. I read in one of your recent column a few complaints from readers about cyclists riding on mountain roads and sometimes riding further out in the travel lane then they might want. I'm sending you two photos that might shed some light on how road conditions impact bicycling behavior. Photo 1 shows what a motorist might see approaching a bicyclist from behind. You'll see that I'm riding pretty far out in the travel lane.

Cory Caletti rides her bicycle around potholes on Eureka Canyon Road to demonstrate the reasons cyclists take the lane on narrow, winding mountain roads.

    If you look closely, you'll see the hazards that I am trying to avoid. Photo 2 shows up a close-up view of the potholes and cracked pavement in relation to my bike tires.  

This break in the pavement, while a mere bump in the road for a motorist, can send a cyclist to the ground if the rider is not careful -- meaning taking the traffic lane to ride around this crater.

Things that I might drive over just fine in my car are hazardous to ride over on my bike. When driving, cracks are hard to see and their depth hard to measure or feel. When I'm on a bike, traveling at a slower speed, I see the pot holes, their size and depth, and as a crash prevention measure, I ride around them. Our county's roads are in a serious state of disrepair and there's no immediate fix on the horizon. That means that we must take extra care around each other. I want to thank the myriad of motorists who take the extra few seconds to wait until a cyclist is able to make his or her way back to the road's right edge or pass at a safe distance. Cory Caletti, Santa Cruz A: Thank you, Cory, for the added perspective.
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2 Responses to Road hazards can harm cyclists, reader says

  1. Anonymous says:

    Cory–your posting makes sense.u00a0 But, what you talk about is a non-issue for most motorists.nnWhat motorists are not happy about, as shown in the recent articles, are groups of cyclists taking up the lane for miles, not going the speed limit, and not giving the right of way to motorists when possible.u00a0u00a0 When it becomes apparent that these groups are for mostly pleasure, are clueless to the backlog of traffic, and exhibit dangerous road rage to motorists, doesn’t help the situation–and you know this.nnAlso, you forgot to mention that your family business (Caletti Bicyles), and your own involvement with cycling racing, adds to your bias to downplay the real issues in this particular matter.

  2. Mark Nockleby says:

    In my experience, some motorists are unhappy with individual cyclists (since that is what I am).

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