I nearly die (get killed, that is) every day in Boulder, Colorado.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Aug 28, 2012
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Just read this: “It’s not always a matter of being afraid, especially for someone who has any experience with urban biking. For me anyway, it’s the constant abuse you get from drivers–tons of honking and being yelled and cursed at. Combine that with the general bike-hating that goes on in the major media outlets and it leads to cowering. I think segregating bike lanes is the only solution that makes sense.

Bicycles are a form of transportation. Like Pedestrians and Automobiles, do they require and deserve their own set of rules and pathways?

Many of us nearly die (get killed, that is) every day, in our hometowns. And every other week, I read of a new fallen crushed citizen, somewhere. Week after week after week.

In my case, I nearly die every day on 9th Street, a pretty essential throughway, in downtown Boulder. No bike lane on the downhill side. And Boulder’s always among “top bikable cities/towns.” There’s dozens of vital roads that don’t have bike lanes.

Biking down 9th, there’s a few lame, unseen bicycle symbols in the middle of the lane instructing bikes (and cars) that cyclists are supposed to ride in the “full lane.”


1. Do that and you’ll get honked and and passed, dangerously, the cars going into the other lane.

2. Ride on the shoulder, as I usually do, and you’re hitting holes, in the gutter (often unplowed or broken-glass-full or sandy or snow-filled from plow) and nearly getting hit anyways by the car. Not a week doesn’t go by when I can practically hear the sideview mirror fly past my left ear.

3. Ride on the sidewalk (which is illegal downtown, but not here), and we’re in the way of the relatively few and far between peds, and we’re prey for cars turning into or out of alleys or driveways.

I tell all my friends that if I die before my time, it’ll most likely be on 9th, on my 6x daily commute from my home to downtown. Say hello to my mother for me, willya? Seriously?

Or: add a bike lane instead of another row of parked cars on a major throughway.

PS: think my experience is strange, or unique? Read the comments on just this one little blog post. Search the word “lane,” or “GoPro,” and see how many times it comes up.


Relephant Bonus:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


13 Responses to “I nearly die (get killed, that is) every day in Boulder, Colorado.”

  1. Sara says:

    Agreed. This happens nearly every day when I bike 9th, with an even closer call this evening from a guy who decided I was too slow off the gun at a light. He swerved around me, nearly hitting me and the oncoming traffic in the process, and sped away going at least 10 over the limit. Between Boulder, Portland, and Seattle I've lived in some pretty bike friendly cities, and yet I still have had, and continue to have, at least one heart-stopping moment per day (hell, per time-I-ride-my-bike-each-day, which is at least 6 one-way trips). We need to seriously rethink how we define "bike-friendly."

  2. Linda V. Lewis says:

    Yes, I agree with all your suggestions, but also, pleeeeease wear a bike helmet to better your chances of survival. Your are my only son, and a noble one at that. Love, MOM

  3. Dennis Blair says:

    Ha ha…I went to CU, so I know exactly what you are talking about. I now live in Fort Collins, but the same holds true here. Even though riding your bike is highly encouraged in both cities and most residents would readily agree, it all changes when someone is behind the wheel. It seems like there is this sense of entitlement that if you are in your car, then your needs/right-of-way trumps those on a bike.

  4. faye says:

    looks like someone needs to be a "freak for safety" like Claire from Modern Family (season 2) or maybe run for city council (season 3). hilary-ass! …and a lil' inspiring…worth the watch.

  5. faye says:

    "entitlement", as used in your post, is the word of the month in my world: i know many non-americans who have recently traveled to the USA on business or for pleasure and came back to europe with the impression that Americans, not all but for the most part, carry around a sense of entitlement one way or the way, behaving to the ideal, "well, it's my right", without regard to how it affects others directly or indirectly. my brother (in china the last 20 yrs) and i (in germany the last 5) see this as well in comparison to the people of our "homes". can't speak for china but man, i can ride my bicycle so incredibly freely in this country, zoom down the narrowest streets, zipping between cars and no one bats an eye – their eyes are open watching out for me, caring for me 🙂 thing is, germans know that owning a car is expensive, parking is nearly impossible, and environmentally unfriendly so there is a lot of respect for bikers. not to mention if they are at fault in an accident, they accrue heavy fines and über-expensive insurance becomes über unbezahlbar. the germans are a very consequent people. not as lively as Americans (i miss that!) but logical.

  6. elephantjournal says:

    Eileen Meinhart Anderson · Friends with Jackie Summers
    I feel your pain.

    Liz Lewis Joseph This does not make your Aunty very happy. I always think of Boulder as the model bicycling city and now what do I have to point to? A pancake for a nephew???

    Rachel Crawford I am very cautious around bikers for this reason – my big beef with bikers, and after almost hitting a couple in the Highlands, is that they don't think traffic laws apply to them. If you fly through the stop sign without looking, you are going to get hit. If you make random turns without signaling, you are going to get hit. Biking is an excellent way to get around but I think many bikers (and drivers too!) need a refresher in some bike safety basics! Just my two cents.

    Waylon Lewis Amen, Rachel.

    Problem from my pov as a daily bike commuter is that, in Amsterdam say where folks bike more, there are lanes and lights for bikes. Why should bikes follow traffic regulations set for big metal cans that go 80 mph? Makes not much more sense than expecting peds to walk in the street.

    All modes of transport have to honor one another's rules, so I agree generally. It's just that right now bikes are a second class citizen. There's sidewalks, and roads, but very few bike lanes nationally. And guess who loses no matter who gets hit? Cyclists: http://www.reddit.com/r/bicycling/comments/yz9bt/
    Lost a fellow rider today in Cincinnati (article in comments) : bicycling

    Waylon Lewis For example, to your point, studies have shown the Idaho Stop is safer for cyclists and quicker for flow of cars. What's the Idaho Stop? http://www.elephantjournal.com/2009/04/the-idaho-

    The Idaho, or Rolling Stop, increases safety and convenience for both autos and cyclists. Cool video via Bike Smut (don't ask).

    Stephen Woodbridge Since we're on the topic, does someone have the right of way where a road and a bikepath cross? I asked an officer once and she couldn't tell me.

    Waylon Lewis Stephen, like where?

    I would say the cars, since they're bigger, just to go with prevailing US logic.

    Faye Libellule Banowetz · 6 mutual friends
    anyone read this guys perspective? http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/

  7. elephantjournal says:

    Mom! You're right, as always!

  8. Xerxes says:

    As a citizen of a city that was rated one of the worst for cyclists in the U.S. (despite a high ridership) I definitely feel your pain. I have tried to commute to work, but it is simply not safe, even though I can ride on bike paths 70% of the way. I had an old high school friend killed on a bike two years ago by a driver who was going too fast and not paying attention. They weren't charged. They never are.

  9. […] the past three months, five cyclists have been killed in my county and one seriously injured. There was also an incident where an elderly man chased down […]

  10. Greg says:

    I moved to Boulder from Texas, so know that Boulder is definitely more safe for bikes than most of the DFW area of Texas. But, one of the problems here in Colorado is that because of the presence of bike lanes in so many areas, drivers here have come to think that cyclists should always be in bike lanes. In parts of the country where there are no bike lanes drivers get more accustomed to seeing riders in the roadway.
    Boulder would be much more bike friendly than it already is if drivers would realize that according to Colorado state law, bicycles have as much of a right to the roadway as cars do. Also, we need some teeth in laws that protect cyclists and pedestrians. The problem is likely not going to change substantially until drivers are charged with and convicted of vehicular homicide.
    What does the law say? See and share this from the Colorado State Trooper's office: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1t9ZsJ8II8&fe

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