Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another Casualty In The "War" Between Bicyclists And Motorists; Anchorage Cyclist Injured After Running Into Motorist On Peck And Muldoon

In the ongoing "war" between bicyclists and motorists, Anchorage is not a non-combatant zone. While some motorists treat bicyclists like prey, many cyclists will sanctimonously disregard traffic laws because they think they're more environmentally holy than motorists. But when the two try to occupy the same space at the same time, the bicyclist is usually the casualty.

On May 18th, 2012, Joe Orr was riding his bike southbound on the east side of Muldoon Road around 3:00 P.M. At the same time, Vasiliska Snegirev was driving a Chevy westbound on Peck Street, approaching the intersection with Muldoon. The two arrived at the same time, neither had sufficient time to react, and Orr slid under the vehicle, became trapped, and had to be extricated. He was transported to hospital with leg and chest injuries, and is currently listed in critical but guarded condition.

As is shown in the Google Earth photo below, a liquor store obstructs visibility for motorists on Peck at that particular corner.

If the motorist had stopped at the Stop sign, it is likely the mishap could have been avoided. Unfortunately, many motorists will stop forward of a Stop sign to get a better view of traffic coming from the left. Perhaps the cyclist was going too fast for conditions; although bicyclists are allowed to ride on sidewalks in Anchorage, they must act like pedestrians. One commenter posted the entirety of the municipal code for bicyclists HERE. Police are still investigating, and have not officially pronounced any "blame" yet. Here's an even more extreme example of obstruction by a building; this is at one of the exits from the Northway Mall onto Penland Parkway.

If you stop at the Stop sign, the brown building prevents you from seeing oncoming traffic from the left. But if you stop forward of the Stop sign, you risk hitting an oncoming bicyclist on the sidewalk. Thus, to be safe, one must stop twice, a pain in the ass.

In the ADN comments, Josetta Stone explains why it is prudent to consider the bicyclist's speed:

Josetta Stone May 19th 8:10 P.M:
I used to take a look to the right and make sure no pedestrians were coming before making a right turn. But bikes come along so fast you have to keep looking and looking. I almost hit one once, so now I look back and forth to the left and right repeatedly, and when it's clear on the left for me to turn I always take one more quick look to the right before actually pulling out.

I do everything I can not to hit some of these yahoos, but some of them need to put equal effort into not getting themselves hit!

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