There is a transportation pecking order here in the city.
Cyclists in the city complain that motorists cut them off in traffic and drive with a general disregard for bicyclists’ safety.
Of course, not all motorists are that way, the cyclists are quick to say, while implying that most are.
So the City of Baltimore has marked off bicycle lanes on just about every street in the city to make riding safer for cyclists.
And still the cyclists ride on the sidewalk. Of course I am quick to write that not all cyclists ride on the sidewalk. It just seems like most cyclists do.
Just about all of us who walk any distance in the city have tales of close escapes as cyclists whiz by.
Joe Manfre did not get a close escape–he got a broken leg, and surgery, and is in for a good long stint of rehab.
Just about everyone on the east side of town knows Joe, because he volunteers for everything. He’s active in his community group, he’s a friend of the library, he’s coordinating the Highlandtown Train Garden at Engine 41 this year, along with a host of other things.
At 7:30 a.m. Joe represented the Hampstead Hill Association at the opening of Hampstead Hill Academy’s new pre-K wing. Then he had to run–he had a lot of things to do that day.
On Friday about noon Joe was walking along Eastern Avenue toward the Creative Alliance when a cyclist, going pretty fast on the sidewalk, plowed into him. Joe went flying.
To the cyclist’s credit, he stopped and called 911. But when staffers ran out of the Creative Alliance to help, the cyclist jumped on his bike and sped away.
Still on the sidewalk.
Cyclists complain about motorists not looking out for them. Motorists should look out for the little guy, they say.
The cyclists are right. But they need to look out for their version of the little guy–that is, the pedestrian–too.
Cyclists need to stay the hell off the sidewalk. Period. There are bike lanes all over the city. Use them.
Joe, who is 67, had surgery on Saturday to set his broken femur. He’s in for a good long rehab. Here’s hoping he makes it to the opening of the Highlandtown Train Garden Dec. 3–he’s been working on the project since March. It would be a real pity if he missed the opening.
More on traffic. Can we all agree that motorists and cyclists should obey traffic signals? According to the State of Maryland they should, but apparently most of them missed the memo. In the last week I have nearly been run down at Conkling and Eastern, Broadway and Fleet, and Fort and Lawrence—each time while walking with the signal. A friend often has to dodge traffic–four-wheeled and two-wheeled–at Ann and Aliceanna.
You can make a right turn on red, but you are supposed to stop first. And while you are stopped, you’re supposed to look at the crosswalks around you, not at your iPhone. It’s a law, not a serving suggestion.