Advice Pedaler

Dear Advice Pedaler: Should I buy one of those reflector devices like they have in Europe? It's a reflector on a post that sticks out sideways from your bike to indicate the full width of a bicycle and it gives a visual cue to motorists to maintain proper distance from the cyclist. I think it might be a good idea, but I'd like your expert opinion before ordering one. -Staying Visible

Dear Visible: The Advice Pedaler simply adores European bike accessories. However, she believes your money is much better spent on a rear blinky if you don't already have one. Blinky lights are more visible than reflectors. Remember that most car-bike collisions are not from the rear, but from turning traffic, so it's also important to have a front headlight and reflectors on your wheels. If you already have a full compliment of reflectors, blinkys, and headlights, then the Advice Pedaler would be delighted to see you add even more visual accessories, particularly of the stylish European variety!

Dear Advice Pedaler: I am happy to say that bike parking in my neighborhood is at a premium because there are so many bikes. Occasionally, a scooter or motorcycle will either lock to a bike rack or park so close that bikes can't get to the rack. Normally, I don't mind scooters parked on the sidewalk, but I feel that bike parking is for bicycles. I want to call DPT and get them ticketed. My girlfriend (who rides a motorcycle) says I shouldn't. What do you think? -Confused in the Castro

Dear Confused No More: Motorcycles are not allowed to park at sidewalk bike racks. It is illegal for all motor vehicles to park on the sidewalk, for some very good reasons. Part of owning a motor vehicle is taking responsibility for parking it legally. Motorcycle and scooter owners have formed a group, the San Francisco Motorcycle and Scooter Coalition (see sfmsc.org), to advocate for increased motorbike parking and other issues. Encourage your girlfriend to join them!

When the Advice Pedaler encounters a motorcycle blocking a bike rack, she leaves a clearly written note to the owner describing the inconvenience the behavior has caused her. If it's a repeat or gross offender, she doesn't hesitate to call the DPT at 553-1200.

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