Friday, November 7, 2008

This return to my Blog starts with an apology. My wife was concerned about my publishing my real name over the internet, so I have been using a pseudonym, Vince Higgins. Since I am not a vulnerable twelve year old looking for love on my space, and since I am about to take this Blog political, I now publish under my real name.

Recent increases in gas prices are driving more and more people to bikes, and public transit. Many of those with long commutes are being driven to bikes on by public transit. This is creating a situation where the interests of those using public transit to achieve reasonable cycling distance, threatens to collide with those of pedestrian transit users.

I intend to address, and hopefully diffuse, some potential problem that I have seen start to emerge on the San Diego trolley. Currently, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, (SDMTS) publishes a colorful brochure on taking bikes on transit. Unfortunately, the only real specific instruction it gives is that only two bikes per car (one during rush hour) are permitted on the trolleys. There are no real specifics given on basic etiquette for people taking bikes aboard.


The occupancy limit is generally ignored by most people. I ignore it. I am not just a cyclist, I am a commuter also. I submit the following recommended techniques that would allow more bikes on the trolley without displacing non-cyclists.*


If there is more than one cyclist boarding at a stop, they should exchange destinations so they can load first on / last off.

If you only need to go one or two stops, ride the bike.

On more than one instance, I have seen a young person board at one stop, and get off at the next. I consider this a waste of space. I will bike a short distance like this, unless there is a serious hill involved.

Don’t block the aisles.

Last Wednesday I saw something that made me cringe.

What got me about this scene, and what the picture doesn’t show, is the elderly gentleman on crutches who was unable to use the priority seating because two bikes were taking up all six seats. He had to move forward to the interior seats, and nearly fell when the train started moving.

I am sure that these guys have their hearts in the right place. One of them asked me if I was doing a piece on “Green Transit”. I did not lie. I told him I was doing a piece on inter-modal transit. I hope he does not mind if he sees this that I am using him as an example of “how not to.”

You can see in the collection of photos how I stow my bike to be as unobtrusive as possible

My next post will explain my reasoning for doing this, and other methods I have developed.

* I do not intend to dictate to any one. I hope my observations and suggestions start a dialog on these issues, leading to a consensus on what proper etiquette should be.

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