Commute In – August 22nd, 2012

There was no commute by bicycle yesterday. I wasn’t prepared, didn’t wake up on time and…Well…I just didn’t, ok. Let it go.

That means there also wasn’t any sort of bicycle commuter meetup. Which is good, since 1. I didn’t receive any messages from anyone interested and (b) Brewed Awakenings isn’t open at 6am. (They’ve changed their hours for like the 7,000th time.) So. There’s that.

Still, if anyone’s interested in a ride-to-work meetup, let me know. We’ll find a place. Or a ride-from-work meetup. It’d be easier to find a place then (I’d recommend strongly Sweet. Or BrrrBerry.)

Onto today’s ride in!

Short story/statistics: 13.4 miles in 1 hour, 4 minutes at an average speed of 12.5 miles/hour. Strava data and map here.

Long story: It was dark. Real dark. I left a littler earler than normal because the 6am Western Blvd crowd sucks and wants to kill me. Apparently the 5:30am Western Blvd crowd is just as malicious. Or, still asleep.

I was passed way too close by way too many people.

Pop Quiz: It’s 5:30am and dark. You’re traveling in the right-most lane of a 3 lane road at 55-60 mph with a speed limit of 45 mph. You see up ahead a series of flashing red lights on the rightest part of the roadway. The two lanes to your left are vacant.

What do you do : (A) Reduce speed, checking for traffic in the left lane and then shift lanes before over-taking the now apparent bicyclist. (B) Maintain speed, checking for traffic in the left lane and the shift lanes before over-taking the now apparent bicyclist. (C) Increase speed, continue in the right-most lane and nearly collide with the bicyclist.

(If you’re a motor vehicle driver in Jacksonville NC, chances are you didn’t even notice the bicyclist, so there’s really no quiz!)

For whatever reason, Western Blvd is Jacksonville’s version of The Old West. It’s completely lawless out there. Motor vehicle drivers constantly speed, weave through traffic, disregard traffic lights and block the shiny new crosswalks at the intersections with US 17 and Country Club Rd. And that’s when they’re not out to kill anyone!

Also: There’s no Jacksonville Police Department presence. Nada. None. Zero. Zilch. I’ve heard that the Traffic Division avoids Western Blvd at all costs, so drivers know they’ll get away with whatever they do. This makes Western Blvd the most dangerous road in Jacksonville. There’s a nifty graphic I’m going to try to get a good color copy of that shows all the motor vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle accidents on Western Blvd. The road is literally (litrally!) one big ol’ line of little dots!

I’m no law enforcement expert, but it seems to me that if you want a busy street to be safe, you’d have some sort of police presence. Maybe I’m wrong…But logic says I’m not.

The ride on the Rails-to-Trail MUP was excellent. And dark. I need new lights. If Bicycle Gallery or The Bicycle Shop wants to sponsor my commute with a sweet light setup (Or fancy jersey…Or fancy bicycle…Or if any other business wants to sponsor with cash…), I’m available!

Nothing really else to note. I’m excited for the ride to downtown Jacksonville (Bicycle Gallery and City Hall tonight (Go support your Jacksonville Transit and the Multimodal Transportation Center!)) and then home (Food!)!

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