Today I crashed my cargo bike. I was moving very slowly. There were no cars around. One kid was on the bike with me…but not my kid. Things certainly could have been worse, but as you can imagine, I feel awful. For the record, I’d be just as hysterical (actually, probably more so) if this had happened in my car. I’m cautious, but I’ve had two bike crashes since living in Seattle–the first was almost two years ago when I slipped on the ice with both kids on board the old mamabike. Now I move at a snail’s pace in icy conditions. The second was in May on the Big Dummy with no kids on board. No kids involved equals no big deal. Kids were fine, bike was fine, I have a nice reminder scar on my foot.
Today my sweet little passenger and I successfully navigated from Lower Queen Anne to Wallingford to drop my five-year old off at school, but instead of riding four mellow blocks home, we embarked on a teensy little errand for my three-year old’s preschool. Unfortunatley, that teensy errand was the to office supply store on the other side of I-5. I really hate the transition from Wallingford to U-District. In fact, I’d love fixing it to be my campaign for the Cascade Bicycle Club Advocacy Leadership Institute. I have a long list of people to get in touch with about the project, but I haven’t done anything yet. It’s a huge job and I’m scared. But in the meantime, bad things happen here. My nearest miss with a car happened here. Today was nothing so sinister–just a slippery plastic water bottle concealed by a pile of fallen leaves. This area is too unfriendly (fast cars, no room for bikes) for slow family bikes to ride in the street so I stick to the sidewalk. And sidewalk riding means curb cuts filled with debris. Not that streets–especially bike lanes on streets–aren’t filled with debris, but at least that’s usually just at the edge and easy to avoid.
I don’t mean to imply that the crash wasn’t entirely my fault. It was. But in addition to being mad at myself, I’m mad about the lack of bicycle infrastructure. It’s good I was inching along when the crash happened–we were barely moving when we went down, but the bike slipped out from under me and while the bike and I were unscathed, my passenger ended up with quite the scrape next to his eye. A scrape that wouldn’t have worried me if it was on my own toddler, but this wasn’t my toddler! So some cuddling, a safe return ride six blocks home, and a hysterical (on my part) call to a very understanding mom of the toddler later things were pretty much back to normal.
The first crash I mentioned has made me extremely wary of ice. Do I now, out of fear, steer clear of putting other kids on my FlightDeck? It’s such a tough question. Statistically, it’s not going to happen again, but it did happen. It’s impossible to predict how isolated incidents will affect one. I know people who don’t ride bikes anymore…or would never ride without a helmet…or won’t ride with their kids…for a variety of reasons. My friend’s brother had a very bad bike accident probably caused by a bike accessory. I think it was a fluke occurrance and I can’t find any mention of this happening to other users, but I would never ever ever ever (ever ever ever) use this piece of equipment.
In search of some good news, I attended tonight’s Cascade Bicycle Club Annual Membership Meeting. I didn’t hear anything new during SDOT’s Seattle Bike Master Plan presentation. But there are four public meetings coming up next months so hopefully those will yield some promising news:
- November 7 Downtown at City Hall – 5:30-7:30 p.m.
- November 8 South Seattle at New Holly – 5:30-7:30 p.m.
- November 13 North Seattle at the University of Washington – 5:30-7:30 p.m.
- November 15 Citywide online lunch and learn – 12:00-1:00 p.m.
But I did hear a couple exciting things during the Cascade update:
- In the Events category: Cascade is looking into a ciclovía-type event, but it “takes a village” and they’d need to work with a lot of different organizations to pull it off…not to mention spend $100,000.
- Education 2013 objectives: Cascade will establish a family biking program!! And the summer camps will expand to avoid the usual 20-kid-long waiting lists.
- Daily rides are utilizing Meetup.com which will reach more women bicyclists.