We need real bicycle lanes.
Gail Alef, a cyclist hit by the driver of a Nissan 300ZX on Willows Road (my old commute), has died at Harborview today. Willows has a narrow bicycle lane that isn't often kept clear of pebbles and dirt (making it hazardous for riding), and can't accommodate a group.
This is a fairly serious problem. Bicycles, even lit, flashing, whatever, aren't very visible. I was hit last year because a driver turning left across traffic simply didn't see me coming. I've had a few close calls where drivers stuck the nose of their car out into the street when waiting to turn, right across a bike lane.
Is bicycle safety not taught when drivers get their license? Is there a problem with enforcement? This driver faces at least a vehicular assault charge, but the driver who hit me did not (although he was ticketed). Is this just cultural? We're very worried about paving I-5 at the moment, but there are roots up through the Burke-Gilman trail in many places. The windshear across I-90 makes the bike path there incredibly dangerous, but it gets no attention - nor does anyone seem to keep track of the users of these systems.
As oil becomes more expensive, perhaps we'll see a paradigm shift. We're already seeing people have real trouble paying for $3/gallon gas, and we're not even up to what Europeans pay. What happens when it's $6?