Got a glimpse of a report—so, the headline really—about Maine being among the most car-friendly states in the Union. I was surprised. This is not normally what we think of here in Maine. Would you think Maine, with an estimated population of 1,331,479 and an area of 35,385 square miles could hold its own in a group where surely—what’s the name of that hectic state? —SoCal, with a population of 22,680,010, and an area of 56,512.35 sq. mi. is likely car-lover number one?
Still cruising the web for facts on it all, I got to thinking of goodies coming for us Maine car-lovers, including pavement.
This is exactly how it should be. Cars, naturally, above everything on the road—except trucks. Our roads should be as friendly as possible for pulp-trucks (full of tree trunks). Pulp-trucks traveling around curves and up blind hills on these two-lane (one-and-a-half, actually) country roads should, reasonably, take priority. After all, the blindness on twisting roads is generally caused by all these tall trees so the more loggers cut and load and truck to lumber and paper mills, or ship as no-value-added raw material, the safer roads will be for our cars. As one our logger has said, We just want to mow’em all down. All day, every day. Cars, not trees, are the thing.
But trees aren’t what gets my crank turning. Not by a long shot! Trees are okay as something useful. No, the big crank-turners are those bicycles. These may also be responsible for all those potholes and pits in our road surfaces. According to some websites I’ve been reading for my car/bike editorial, bicycles are what we need to keep tabs on and make more laws restricting such use. Cyclists, in my experience, need better training. They are the number one hazard to cars. They seem not to know the rules of the road we drivers must learn to get licensed. I’ve never read where tankers or pulp-trucks crush that many cars in this state. But those bicycles! They are the ones driving car drivers crazy. The ones making it hard to keep your car safe on these roads.
Looking at this side-by-side swatch of new pavement, you get an idea what bikes can do to the road. In this contrast you see the necessity of repair if cars are to be safe driving Maine roads. There are other safety issues.
For instance. If there were no bikes whatever on the roads of Western Maine there would have been 226 fewer crashes in York County between 2008-2012. Think how much safer and more car-friendly those towns in York would be without those dangerous two-wheeled ill-conceived things on the streets. Or how about Penobscot County? —Would have had 87 fewer crashes. My own county, Oxford, fares better. We had but 24 car/bike crashes during that time. (Twenty-twelve provides the latest statics.)
One of the state’s most prestigious law offices confirms the increase in bicycling, citing the resulting 60+ percent increase in bike-related accidents for car-drivers from 1975 to 2012. This up from 21% to 84%—for adult cyclists 20 and older.
You begin to see the quantity of love and joy over that initial headline referenced at the start of this piece. “Maine is a car-friendly state.” This being 2017, if this indicates that statistics have taken a turn, there’s great hope that cars and car drivers will be safer than ever before. It may even be safe enough to ask if the kids and grandkids might be willing to go for a car ride this Sunday!
Or wait. I think that may be a bit optimistic. Sunday? That’s a big bicycle day isn’t it? There may be no pulp-trucks on Sunday but… I bet there’ll be bicyclists aplenty pedaling these curves and hills! Now that’s a problem.
I’m not sure I want to tempt fate for a joy ride in a car? Let me think.
… If we were all to take off work and school… say on Friday—or Monday! Monday. That might be safe.
(In the meantime, here you see a cyclist already trying to undo the Town’s good road work.)
… So, I did just talk to my spouse about this. He pointed out that the article was about Maine being a bike-friendly, NOT a car-friendly, state.
So… I guess, never mind.
—But… if they could just get some kind of rails-to-roads program going here in Maine. I mean, a full-throated conversion of all these defunct rail lines. Give cars and trucks dedicated rails-to-roads! We could give the rural motorways we now have over to those dangerous bicycles and get car-lovers off them so we can have peace of mind… perhaps for the first time since—Henry Ford? Yes, Henry Ford with his plucky little assembly line.
…But…again, I just glimpsed a headline about gas prices becoming more unfriendly to car-driving, car-love. I think it has something to do with that big gas state somewhere down south, was it Taxus?
Forget conversion. Re-start the railroads! We could lower taxes and use less gas if we just load our cars onto freight trains!