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The Slice: The Slice: Sharing the road in Spokane

SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2017

A few weeks ago, The Slice asked who was the No. 1 hater of Spokane area bike riders.

Surprisingly, no one raised his hand. I say surprisingly because I know there are plenty of candidates for that title. On numerous other occasions, I have heard from them. But I guess nobody felt like owning the title of “No. 1.”

My intention was to do some interviews and try to find out just what’s at the root of this antipathy for bike riders. I have theories, but my intention was to give the critics a fair hearing.

But now I’m sort of glad I didn’t get started down that road. I’m not sure it would have been time well spent.

Those who resent cyclists tend to bring up a worn-out list of complaints so wearying I can’t even bring myself to summarize. We’ve been over it all many, many times before.

I believe much of this animosity stems from the fact some motorists simply hate that it is legal to ride a bike on the street.

But it’s about to be the time of year when some of us start taking our bicycles to work, which I have been doing each year since 2008. So instead of concentrating on those who loathe bike riders, let me just say this.

I have gotten along fine with Spokane drivers.

Granted, my time-of-travel and route specifics mostly keep me away from heavy car traffic. But even factoring that in, I have hardly anything bad to say about my on-the-bike interactions with Spokane motorists.

OK, there have been a few moments of inattentive driving that forced me to react to errant cars and trucks. Maybe a couple of encounters with outright hostility. I can’t even remember now.

Over the hundreds of trips down and up the South Hill, what I mostly recall are the kind of waves you might see on country roads.

That and the dogs and cats I meet along the way.

Before I started riding my bike to work, I was told the biggest problem I was apt to see with Spokane drivers would be their insistence on unnecessarily (and inappropriately) yielding the right of way. That turned out to be exactly right.

Sure, I’ve heard plenty of stories about unpleasant encounters cyclists have had on the road. I take those reports seriously. It just hasn’t been my experience.

So I’m looking forward to seeing those friendly waves again.

My eyesight isn’t what it once was. But I’m pretty sure those drivers are holding up all five fingers.

Today’s Slice question: Do you assume strangers are armed?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Whose autograph is possessed by more Spokane residents than any other?


 
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