Rode my bicycle to the Springfield Farmer’s Market this morning. My route takes me about two miles south on Fremont to Sunset where I turn left to get to the Battlefield Mall. The market is in the southeast corner of the parking lot — roughly the intersection of Glenstone and Battlefield.
There was a lot of traffic on Fremont this morning — both directions — a real steady stream of cars. Fremont between Sunshine and Sunset is a 35-mph, 3-lane street (that includes a center turn lane). The driving lanes are narrow, i.e. not sharable. So I ride where the right tire track is — roughly the right third of the lane well away from the gutter.
Sunset is a 4-lane, 35-mph street with very narrow lanes. Those lanes look less than 10 feet wide to me. So I take the middle of the right lane.
Busy traffic this morning and:
- Not a single honk
- No close passes
- No shouts or complaints or thrown objects
- No dangerous maneuvers
- Nobody ran me down
- And, thankfully, no overly polite drivers
In other words — a typical day riding in Springfield for me.
I know some bicyclists regularly have different experiences in Springfield (different in fact or different in perception?). I’m really interested in understanding what’s going on out there. I certainly have worse days. I certainly suffer some abuse sometimes. But abuse is rare for me.
I don’t know. I have a few of guesses. Here they are:
- I ride in a properly commanding position in the road so I am easy to see and, therefore, easy to pass safely (re: this video).
- I follow the traffic laws, so I am predictable.
- I do most of my riding in the urban core.
- I am male.
- I’m just used to traffic after 6+ years of utility bicycling.
I’d really like to begin collecting some anecdotes and other evidence about riding in Springfield. I’d like to know why there are bicyclists in our town who seem to have a much worse experience riding on the streets than I do. To that end, I’m going to create a survey. Watch for it next week.