Salmon, noun, delicious fish that according to hashtag trends is a health food that combats wrinkles.
Salmoning, verb, “walking or cycling against a lot of people heading in the opposite direction.”
Does this describe you? Do you ride your bicycle against the flow of traffic? Did we “bait the hook?” Good!
VeloFest has spent the last 4 years promoting our “Don’t Be A Salmon” program mostly at “Light Up the Bikes” and during bike rodeo’s. Be on the look out for online media, posters and info booth materials all April and beyond. Interested in helping us pass things out? Sign up here to #veloteer. But back to marine mantra.
While salmon also contend with grizzly bears, other predators and human made barriers, we see a lot of our own struggles so they became our mascot for change. Everything from “well this is what I was taught” to “I want to see what’s coming so I can do something” has been justification for operating a bicycle against the flow.
Our friends at Bike Easy have three clear, concise reasons not to do this:
- First, cars pulling out of driveways or turning from an intersection are not looking for traffic coming the wrong way. They could pull out in front if you and have no idea you were coming.
- Also, you approach traffic at a much higher speed while salmoning. For example: if you are riding at 15mph and a car comes up from behind at 35mph, the approaching speed is 20mph. If you and the car were coming head-on though, the closing speed is 50mph.
- One study, dryly called “Risk Factors for Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collisions at Intersections”, found that riding the wrong way is three times as dangerous as riding with traffic, and for kids the risk is seven times greater.
Than there is this:
- Finally, riding the wrong way is against the law, so if you are in an accident it will be your fault
Of course, some point out “but VeloFest, I can ride against the flow on sidewalks, it’s not illegal.” We say, please review bullet point one. Here at VeloFest we also hope you acknowledge that if bike lanes/tracks/trails are a facility desired, proper sidewalks with substantial width, smooth ingress/egress and well lit and maintenance intersections are just another item on our wish list. This is a perfect example of less than desirable conditions forcing both those riding and walking into vehicle lanes. So why not put yourself in a safe position that gives you an opportunity to operate legally in the first place when you have to leave the sidewalk? We hope to accomplish more as a community of good road users than require a new law to do the right thing in the first place!
Lastly, for those of you we have debated with who say “well, I’ll just break the law.” To you Kamikaze Salmon, please be careful! We also install Ghost Bikes here at VeloFest, and that’s getting old.
So DON’T BE A SALMON! GO with the FLOW, even on sidewalks.
Enjoy the ride. See you on the road.