Bike lane safety

I was fortunate to have dinner with Tim Brummer over the weekend. Brummer is the brain behind Lightning Cycle Dynamics in Lompoc. He’s been designing, building, and racing record-setting bikes for decades, giving him more cycling experience than anyone else I can think of off the top of my head.

As the conversation turned to the sometimes difficult car/bike interface, I mentioned that while I’m riding on the back roads here in the High Desert most motorists give me a wide berth. But on Apple Valley Road — which with its generous vehicle lanes, wide bike lanes, markings, and signs, should be one of the safest places to cycle — we’d had two bad accidents.

Tim’s response was immediate: “Are there rumble strips?” he asked.

Now, for the drunk who ran down Tim “TJ” Moreno and Steve Stearns, rumble strips might not have made a difference, although perhaps the passenger could have intervened in time to prevent the incident.

For the “distracted driver” who struck and killed Kevin Olin, though, the rumble strips might have been enough to return the driver’s attention to the proper operation of his vehicle, and Olin might still be with us.

I would like to propose to the Town of Apple Valley that rumble strips be carved into the asphalt on Apple Valley Road, and furthermore, I want those rumble strips to be on the “vehicle side” of the fog / bike-lane line. That is, I don’t want the rumble strips encroaching on the bike lane, which already seems to be too narrow to prevent vehicular mayhem on its occupants.

I know as a cyclist that rumble strips are not fun to ride on, even when crossing them when situations call for this. Perhaps there are different types of rumble strips, some of which are better for cyclists without reducing their warning functionality.

I look forward to hearing from others before approaching the town. If you have any thoughts on this issue, please contact me or post them on the VVV Facebook page.

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