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Gear Prudence: There are two one-way streets (both with bike lanes) that intersect near my house. There’s a stop sign at the intersection, but almost everyone (bicyclists and drivers) ignores it and pedestrians cross the street without looking all the time. And most of the time, it’s completely fine. But the other day, I was riding through and there was a bicyclist who not only ignored the stop sign but was also riding the wrong way down the one-way street. When we nearly crashed, he said it was my fault for not stopping at the stop sign (which I didn’t), but he didn’t stop either AND he was riding the wrong way. Isn’t our near-miss more his fault than mine? — Wants Resolution On No Good Egregiously Salmoning Troglodyte
Dear WRONGEST: A few years ago, GP pitched an idea for a TV show to a cable network called Judge Prudey, in which telegenic dolts would argue their low-stakes bike grievances in the court of bike jurisprudence (get it?). GP had a special robe designed and everything. Needless to say, they didn’t bite. Said it was derivative. Oh well. Determining who is more wrong in a situation in which two bicyclists are both pretty wrong (you both should have stopped at the stop sign, and he shouldn’t have ridden the wrong way) doesn’t make for especially compelling programming. While one should never ride a bicycle the wrong way down a one-way street, your behavior actually seems more distressing. How did you roll through this stop sign without seeing this guy coming? Maybe it’d be best to rethink your approach at this intersection, even if “everyone” else doesn’t. —GP
Gear Prudence: What’s the deal with those occasional X marks on the pavement of local trails? Is there buried treasure under there or what? —Maybe Adventurers Really Knew To Hide Effectively Subterranean Pots Of Treasure
Dear MARKSTHESPOT: It sure’d be something if pirates stashed their booty under local multimodal trails, but investing in a metal detector and shovel with the hope of unearthing ducats and doubloons will only leave you disappointed. And maybe arrested. The cross-stitched markings you’ve noticed on local trails indicate the presence of bike and pedestrian counters the local transportation agencies maintain. These counters serve the extremely vital function of data collection, much the same way the Jolly Roger served the extremely vital function of forewarning a boarding by a peg-legged privateer. The agencies use these data for a variety of purposes such as tracking changes in trail usage throughout the year and analyzing the differences in popularity of walking and bike from year to year. “What gets measured, gets managed,” the saying goes, and these counters play an important role in quantifying the constituencies who use the trails and thereby help to make the case for various improvements. —GP