Four Incident-Free Bike Commutes in a Row!

Sadly, this is noteworthy.  Before this mini-streak, I can’t actually remember a commute without excitement of the bad kind.  I don’t have an exact definition for an incident, but I would roughly describe it as needing to do something other than just riding (and following signals) to not hit or be hit by a car.  It’s almost always trying to cross NE 40th St. on the 520 trail and watching someone blast a car through the crosswalk.  That crossing makes me not want to bike to work.

But the last week or so has been different.  (It takes me about a week to get four one-way commutes by bike because I run a lot of the trips and it doesn’t take much to convince me to do a run/bus combination.)  It actually started with the wind storm.  I’m pretty sure that it blew more debris out of the Old Redmond Road bike lane than into it, though I suppose it is possible it was swept at a point where a bit of debris appeared afterwards.  I will note that I did see the bike lane being swept a few days ago.  (Thank you Redmond!).  The stretch of the 520 trail I use didn’t seem to get noticeably better or worse.

More importantly, drivers have been noticing bicycles and pedestrians.  The closest call was today when a driver started to make a right turn from the 520 off-ramp across the 520 trail crossing at 40th.  He made it into the intersection before noticing the pedestrian who had stepped off the curb immediately with the walk sign and my more cautious entrance.  And he stopped.  At another intersection (70th westbound and 132nd), a driver wanting to make the right turn stopped completely behind me (in the car lane and not the bike lane), made no effort to make the right turn on red, and waited for me to go before even creeping forward.  And lastly, I had a driver stop before entering the “on-ramp” from eastbound Old Redmond Road to 148th Ave to let me proceed straight.  (And City of Redmond, please paint this bike lane green!)

Unfortunately, these rides are still not stress-free.  I still worry a lot at most of these places.  But I hope this continues and that my caution becomes the backup plan for safety.

[Edit: According to WA state traffic law, I had a fifth day.  Going northbound on the 520 trail at 40th St., a driver turned right on red while the pedestrian signal displayed 22 seconds.  That broken law is a topic for another post and enough for me to consider the streak ended.]

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