A handful of bicyclists who've been injured as a result of wiping out on South Lake Union streetcar tracks are suing the city for willfully designing streetcar tracks that are unsafe for cyclists.
What this cyclist's touching is what many of his kind are.
In related news, Burlington Northern is suing the state for its failure to retrofit the Aurora Bridge to allow for freight train travel, a Segway commuter is suing the feds for not creating a "slower" lane on Interstate 5, and a school of Wyoming-area fish (there are fish in Wyoming?) is suing the National Park Service for not turning Yellowstone into a gigantic freshwater pond.
We get that some of these cyclists were injured in their trackside tumbles, and we glean no satisfaction from their pain. We also cringe when we see raccoons lying dead on the side of the highway.
Then again, these stricken groups of mammals really should know better--or at least the cyclists should. When you decide to swim with sharks, you're eventually going to get bit.We get that cyclists have a right to share the road with motor vehicles. (Hence, sharrows.) We also get that Westlake, in particular, is an awfully convenient, awfully flat north-south cycling thoroughfare. Fair enough, but at some point common sense has to kick in.
For one, if you collide with a vehicle, you're going to be worse off than the guy wearing a seatbelt who's encased in metal. Never, ever forget that; you've got a Nerf gun, that Hyundai has an Uzi. And shouldn't common sense dictate that there's a damn good chance that if a skinny road bike's tire gets caught in the groove of a metal streetcar track, that a wipeout is not only possible, it's probable?
I've got two words for cyclists who think this mindset inconveniences them: Dexter Avenue (for a Fairview alternative, there's Eastlake; but really, just use roads that don't have tracks on them). Dexter runs parallel to Westlake, yet doesn't contain any nettlesome train tracks. Use that road instead, and while you're at it, start abiding by its rules.
If you want to use the actual road, stop at stop signs, use hand signals, and stay to the right. If you want to putter along on the sidewalk, Greenlake, or the Burke-Gilman trail, treat pedestrians like a girlfriend to whom you gave the "gift" of chlamydia, and are doing everything possible to get back in her good graces. She's right and you're wrong, even if she's wrong.