Cyclists ask for more cleanups, pedestrians request a heads-up - Albuquerque Journal

Cyclists ask for more cleanups, pedestrians request a heads-up

From nasty litterbugs to monsoon rains that mean goathead season and washed-out shoulders, readers who get around on two wheels are asking for some cleanups:

TRAMWAY A BROKEN-GLASS MESS:

Jeff and Kelly Bennewitz emailed recently they are “just curious how often the shoulders are cleaned up by the street sweepers on Tramway? Broken glass is everywhere after the July holiday weekend. We have suffered numerous punctures on our bicycles.”

Kimberly Gallegos of the New Mexico Department of Transportation says “I forwarded the request for sweeping Tramway to our sweeping supervisor to add to the schedule. Thank the writer for bringing this to our attention, as we rotate sweeping operations citywide.”

I-40 TRAIL A MUDSLIDE: Meanwhile, Ross shares in an email “I’m an avid cyclist – no car – who lives up on the West Mesa. I like to ride along the bosque most days. To get there I sometimes ride down the bike path that parallels Interstate 40 from Coors to the east side of the river. On my trip yesterday there were many places where mud had built up an inch or two thick – and one spot that was two to three inches thick and covered the entire path for a length of 20 to 30 feet.”

Ross wants to know “is there some organization I can contact to see about cleaning this mess up? It’s not only annoying but also a bit dangerous.”

Emily Moore, marketing and communications coordinator for Albuquerque’s Parks and Recreation Department, got with Deputy Director David Flores. Flores says “removing mud from bike trails is a regular task for Parks and Rec when we get a downpour. Staff is already activated and will be there as soon as we can. For the most part, it is not a safety concern, but it is inconvenient.”

SOME CYCLISTS NEED TO PICK A LANE: Raymond Brandwein, a cyclist himself, emails some observations about riders in the metro area.

“I’m continually surprised by the bikers using the bicycle lanes on Tramway who ride as though there were no motor vehicles sharing that space. Many will virtually ride on the white line demarking the bicycle lane from the motorist’s lanes. Some groups will ride two or three across in that narrow space. It’s remarkable that only one bicyclist was killed in the last year.”

Along these lines, LW wants to point out recent controversial changes to the Paseo del Norte/Tramway intersection “began because most cyclists avoid using the bike trail on the east side of Tramway.”

In New Mexico, bicycles are considered vehicles just like cars and can legally “take the lane.” I took a bike safety class that advised cyclists to pick a lane – the bike lane or the road lane but not to ride the line. That way it would be clear to motorists where we were riding. It’s easier said than done when a bike lane is full of glass and goatheads.

AND SOME NEED SOME MANNERS: Raymond adds when he and his wife were active recreational bicyclists in the Washington, D.C., area, “a common practice was to warn pedestrians sharing those same trails of our approach by calling out ‘on your left’ as we approached them on our bicycle. That practice is totally ignored by bikers on the Tramway hiker/biker trail, a trail we walk frequently. Generally there is enough space for bikers to pass us safely, but we might occasionally wander from that straight path, as people in their 80s have been known to do.”

Raymond says he will usually call out “on your left” to these cyclists to let them know “it’s a courtesy and a safety measure to let unsuspecting walkers know they are being approached from behind by a much faster and silent bicycle.”

Some express appreciation for the reminder, most ignore it, and “a wave of the finger generally lets us know that (a few) think we should remain silent. Perhaps it’s time to remind bicyclists about warning pedestrians they are about to be passed. Both parties involved if a crash occurs will likely suffer some injury.”

We were taught the same in that bike safety class – to call out on your left/right or to use our bell to alert pedestrians.

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

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