View Full Version : Tip: Parallel train/streetcar tracks? Just stay away!

05-07-2009, 10:11 PM
You know, I consider myself a pretty prudent bicyclist. I have decent handling skills and know my own limits, and I'm old enough that I don't need to catch thrills pushing them.

So you'd think my common sense would kick in this evening as I was riding East on SW Harrison Street and wanting to take a left onto Naito to get over to the Hawthorne Bridge. A set of parallel streetcar tracks separated me from the left-turning lane, and I knew it was a risky situation, but I figured I could bunny-hop my way over them.

Well, I timed the hop wrong and went down. Tore up my pants and gave myself some nice rash on my left knee and (somehow) right elbow. All things considered I am VERY lucky the situation wasn't worse - I've heard of people losing teeth when train tracks and bikes mix badly. Honestly I'm glad I learned my lesson this way - but you don't have to do the same.

If the tracks are parallel to you, don't attempt to cross them. Stop and re-assess the situation. Get over to the sidewalk and do a crosswalk-based turn instead. That's definitely going to be my policy from now on.

Oh, and gloves definitely kept road rash off my hands. I sometimes ride without them, but probably won't be leaving them at home too often in the near future. :D


05-08-2009, 12:17 PM
The "parallel" bunny hop is a great skill to learn - for tracks but also escapes onto the curb in case of a pinch. However, the consequences of missing are dire... I know ;)

Glad you didn't get hurt too badly!