I was pleased—briefly—when I opened this morning’s Anchorage Daily News and found a prominent article on Bike To Work Day. But, as with so many things involving the Daily News, my joy was short-lived.
This time, it wasn't entirely the newspaper’s fault. What was disturbing was the experience recounted by the woman in the photo that accompanied the story. Judy Abrahams lives on the Hillside and rides more than 20 miles each way during her commute, so someone at the ADN apparently decided she'd be a good person to describe riding in Anchorage.
As she was riding up Northwood Drive with a reporter, a police officer pulled up beside her, honked his horn and pointed to the sidewalk, indicating that she should be on it. She said it looked like the same cop who did the same thing the previous day.
Now, I’m just some guy who likes bikes, but I ride part of the same route Abrahams rides and I’ve bothered to read the municipal ordinance regarding bicycles, so I happen to know that Abrahams was not only on a route where it's safe to ride on the street, she was riding completely within the law.
The ordinance is very easy to read, and it’s readily available. You can download a PDF file right here. (Just click on "Municipal Bike Law.") It’s a good document to be familiar with if you ride a bike in Anchorage.
It’s an even better document to be familiar with if you’re authorized to write tickets for traffic violations.
Life as a bike commuter is hard enough with bad drivers. We don't need ignorant cops, too.