Yabba dabba doo! – July 1, 2008

amgencrowdWith the price of gas at about $4.50 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m seeing a few more bicyclists on my way to work, but it’s still a trickle. My perception is somewhat misleading.

I ride to work starting at 7 a.m. and I’m in the office by 7:35. Those are not peak commute times, and my route is not too popular, although Trimble Road has a bike lane and a fair amount of bike traffic.

While I look forward to the day when bikes rule the roads, let’s not delude ourselves into thinking it will be a bed of roses. Just look at the situation in Amsterdam, or Beijing, where bikes rule or did rule in the case of Beijing. It’s chaotic.

It’s not that there are a lot of crashes, just near crashes and congestion. Your speed will drop around hordes of riders. Of course, the situation in Amsterdam and Beijing is much different from the suburbs of Silicon Valley.

We’re spread out, so congestion will never be much of a problem.

I often wonder what it would be like if everyone rode a bike? We could have a fast lane for faster riders. We would still need traffic lights, that’s for sure. We could have a network of bike repair stations, since most people would not know how to or even want to fix a flat or make an adjustment.

Police would ride bikes to enforce traffic laws. High-speed chases would be something to see. Ambulances would be four-wheeled bikes, containing four to six strong riders pedaling a long flat-bed.

It reminds me of the “Flintstones” TV show. We may not live to see it because the pain threshold at the pump forcing people out of their cars is about $50 a gallon, or no gas supplies at all.

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