Cleaning Up the Junk



It’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that motoring will result in a certain amount of junk being cast upon our roadways:  crashes happen, fenders and lights are ripped off…  snow falls, copious amounts of sand and salt are thrown down on the roadways.  Yet, what is done with this junk is completely up to us, the collective us that is, to care for and cleanup our public spaces.

I had the unfortunate luck to come in contact with a roadsign post, strewn across the breakdown lane and into the travel lane this morning.  I suspect some motorist managed to run over the sign post, requiring them to drive quite a ways up onto the curb, and most likely being pissed left the mess for someone else to clean up.  The end result was to toss me off my bike, past the handlebars, and squarely onto the pavement… I don’t even think I scored well with my landing.  Yes, it was ultimately my fault for not watching more closely, my focus at the time was the cars around me and I don’t think I should have to worry about random signposts lying in the road.

The request here… if you are involved in someway creating a mess on our public infrastructure… CLEAN IT UP!  It would have taken about one minute to drag this signpost off the road, past the sidewalk, and onto the grass where it would have caused no harm to any public infrastrcuture user.  I took care of cleaning up the mess for this motorist and I hope they are eternally greatful.

Back to licking my wounds… mainly my pride.


  • Ted Lewandowski
    Jan 4, 2011 at 7:30 am

    Go to a chiropractor and hire an personal injury attorney (many will do this to get 1/3 of the settlement) – many also have their own doctors. This is clearly the city's liability – I am certain your bike sustained damage as a result as well. The City is negligent in not removing the sign from the roadway – which posed an immediate threat to motorists not to mention cyclists.

    Be sure to take photos of the sign if it is still there – given that this is Providence – it will probably be there till Spring.

  • Jan 4, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Doctor's visit is lined up, although I'm really feeling pretty good. As for going after the city, I think I'll pass this one up. Yes, ideally they would have noticed the issue and cleaned up the mess, but who knows whether anyone from the city a) saw the down sign or b) was notified. While I could legally go after them, it's hard in my mind to lay blame on them without knowing they either caused the condition or new about the condition and did nothing.

    The person I really blame is whomever ran over the sign and then left the mess. If I knew who this was, I wouldn't feel bad about going after them and getting them to cover any medical bills rather than my insurance.

  • MattyCiii
    Jan 4, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    WOW a sign post. I can't imagine coming upon one on a bicycle and not wrecking.

    Trash in the gutter is why I ride almost exclusively in automobile lanes. No trash can survive frequent beating from 2-ton vehicles moving 40mph. Mufflers, sand, snow, brake parts, suspension struts – they all get pushed into the gutter/bike lane. Ride in the road where the cars have cleared you a path.

  • Jan 5, 2011 at 5:14 am

    I was riding in the lane, albeit not the center of the lane. This is one big reason I'm so pissed at whomever ran this thing over, because they clearly made no effort whatsoever to clean up their mess. Actually, it's fortunate that I was riding in the travel lane, as I had the breakdown lane to land in!

  • Jan 11, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Oh Mark, I'm sorry to hear about this. I hope you're ok! I worry about this a lot, too. I've seen some interesting stuff in the bike lane on Allens Ave…

    I wish the city would take the time to sweep the streets more regularly…

  • Labann
    Jan 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Allens Ave? While riding with RIDOT's bike coordinator, I pointed out numerous problems in the bike lane, which he recorded by cell phone digipix. Nothing changed. Sometime later by myself, I picked up a bit of debris… click, click, click before I could pull over. It was a DRILL BIT that wormed itself through Kevlar and around Mr. Tuffy to flat me out. A number of people I know crashed because of the embedded RR tracks. And the bike lane ends well before you get to Point Street Bridge, which is the only reason you use Allens Ave anyway.

    I don't use Allens Ave any more, take Eddy St instead. Lately I've noticed they've rerouted traffic from highway to empty at two places right next to entrance to RI Hospital. What a dangerous traffic snarl! They don't see bicyclists coming out from underpass.

    Anyway, bicyclists are entitled to use the right third of the travel lane, and should only use gutters and parking lanes as escape zones to permit faster traffic by. Unfortunately, because of RIDOT's criminal negligence in following federally mandated road design standards, riding in the gutter is the norm, and escape means leaving road altogether.

  • MattyCiii
    Jan 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Allens Ave? I've seen brake parts in gutters everywhere, but the first time I saw suspension parts was on Allens Ave. I ride in the automobile lane on Allens Ave (since there's two). The "bicycle lane" is full of sand, salt, car parts, and parked cars. So I ride in the (middle of the) road.