Militant Rants

Green Does Not Mean Safe

by Aaron Turpen, EVMeme

In proof positive that being eco-friendly does not necessarily mean being safety-minded, a Vancouver accident occurred between a bicyclist and an electric car.  I can imagine the story on this one, given my experience with urban cyclists.

Photo from Vancity Buzz (image is link)

First, let’s look at some background.  There was a Zero Emissions Race, a world-wide tour of alt-vehicles, was going through Vancouver on a marked course through the city.  The electric racer involved in this accident was the Zerotracer, which is basically an enclosed electric motorcycle, much like the winning X-Tracer from the X-Prize, and being raced by the Oerlikon Solar Racing Team.

The story of the accident is unclear, but what’s known makes it obvious (to me, at least) what happened.

The race is proceeding as expected with these relatively low-speed racers cruising through Vancouver on their route.  Then, as the Zerotracer comes around, some old guy (the bicyclist was 57) who probably wears beads and thinks he’s 20-something in the 1970s again, takes his midlife crisis into the street from the sidewalk, where he’d been (illegally) riding his bicycle.  Right in front of the race car.

The car swerves to miss, but is unsuccessful, broadsiding the hippie “I own the road” cyclist.  Down goes one team in the race, who probably won’t be able to get back in it due to the damage to their vehicle, and one cyclist, who is sent to the hospital.  The bicycle in question, you can see from this photo, sustained minor damage and is one of those bikes that costs about as much as the average compact car…

I think that Don Chandler of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association summed it up when he compared the bicyclist to a dog:

“It’s a hard mix when the bicyclists jump out in front of you.  It’s like a dog running off the curb right in front of you.  You can’t stop.”

That basically sums up my thoughts on most urban cyclists I’ve come across.  They act like they own the road, barely looking (if at all) before darting out in front of vehicles, running down pedestrians, and otherwise acting like maniacs.  Having ridden a bicycle in an urban environment myself, I can tell you this: those who do so daily and on purpose?  Nutcases.

That goes double for the hoity “I’m better than you because I’m greener” types.