The Low Road


“Hey, take my dirty hakama!” (revised)

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Part II: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Tales of encounters with street criminals are rare but not unheard-of among members of Elm City Cycling, a loose-knit group of New Haven bicycle enthusiasts who debate urban cycling issues, organize events (from rallies to races) and sometimes commiserate — all using a Yahoo message board as a virtual forum.

On the last Friday of every month, group members organize and participate in Critical Mass, a national awareness event in which cyclists take to the streets during rush hour en-masse to show their numbers and raise their profile.

Elm City Cycling is one of several grassroots groups endeavoring to bring public attention to the plight of cyclists who brave Connecticut’s congested byways.

Traffic, potholes, sewer grates, disappearing shoulders, jaywalkers (and other obstacles), absentminded drivers and car doors that swing open without warning are just a few of their worries.

Bike lanes, where they exist, are inconsistent and not always well maintained; few employers or retailers supply bike racks, and public transportation is not always set up to accommodate bike commuters — for example, Metro-North Railroad doesn’t allow bicycles on most New Haven line trains during peak hours.

Many riders say they’re routinely alarmed by how little motorists know about the rules of the road as they apply to bicycles. (“Get on the sidewalk!”.)

Even worse, cyclists say, say police and public officials are sometimes equally ill informed.

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Learn more about New Haven’s cyclists: “A Cycling Community is Born

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