Interesting article. I work commute around 12 miles a day and have to share the road with cars at 5:30am and head home around 2:30pm. I might see 2-3 consistent bike work commuters compared to 10-20 fun, exercise, and this is my only transportation riders per day. I don't see a lot of riders decked out in helmet, bright reflective clothing, using rear view mirrors, or using front/rear lights in the day or low light times.
I use my bike for a variety of errands - going to classes, shopping, visiting - I work from home. It is astonishing how pissed off people get at me when I ride! Once, I was riding my bike in a cross walk, with the light and someone, making a left turn, yelled at me and honked the horn, as if I was supposed to yield to a car. I have had drivers "playfully" yell at me "where's the rest of your car?" Well, it's Jersey.
Worse, on the street, cars will make wide arcs to "avoid" me (there are no bike lanes), crossing well over into the oncoming lanes. It isn't necessary. I am not going to veer into them or suddenly make a turn into traffic. Of course, US roads are in terrible shape, so it is hard not to hit potholes and trash. I don't like to ride on sidewalks - and they are in equally poor condition, anyway.
I try to use my bike for any trip under five miles, not just for casual biking along trails. When they see me, people seem to think it's a great idea, but once they get in their cars, I become a nuisance.
Maybe the saddest thing is that, when I ride, I rarely see kids on bikes. I see adults, and on trails, family groups. But even family groups are limited to parents with little kids no older than eight or nine. A few skate boards, a scooter or two, but that s it. The bike rack at the library is empty. There isn't even a rack at the store or the schools anymore.
So the message of this report is: cyclist are at risk because no one remembers we are even remotely possible on modern roads.
I don't ride my bike where i live, no sidewalks and cars drive a minimum of 50mph on the country roads. I take my car to town and ride my bike there (small walkable historic downtown) where cars rarely go over 25. Or there is one short trail that i can go back and forth on in less than an hour.
Believe it or not, they don't see you - or don't see you until it's almost too late.
Also, your speed is difficult to estimate (for a car driver). He's got used to pedestrians, knows that they are slow on a crosswalk, and then a bike suddenly moves almost as fast as his car - because it's electrical.
I live near a popular bike route, in rush hour there can be half a dozen bikes on a block and only a few cars. When I walk there, I watch out for bicycles, not cars. It's better not to test a cyclist's patience when he is flying downhill at 25 mph
I've been riding to work more and more. Almost 800 miles in 3 months - each way is 10miles. We are spoiled here in Minneapolis with an exceptional trail system. I ride one mile to the trail on the road, then 9 miles of paved bike trails followed by 7 blocks of road downtown. Lots of people commute here, some days I'll count 40-50 on the way to work.
Front and rear flashing lights help visibility as does the neon vest. Being able to keep up with downtown traffic with the Stromer is a huge plus too.