02

Blog

Uber as Bicycling Motorcade? Absolutely.

Faced with a perilous bridge, Charlie summons a motor-pacing escort. Know this $8 ride-hack!

I often find myself wanting to ride on a roadway corridor that doesn’t want me there. At best, I could make it across alive with some close calls and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. At worst, I wouldn’t be around to write this blog post. 

Of course, a safer, alternate route doesn’t always exist. So, you have to make one yourself. 

Green Bridge Bad Biking

Take, for example, the Green Bridge in New Orleans. This key artery connects two parts of great riding in the city: St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans East. The Green Bridge is over a mile long, has no shoulder at its crest, and stands over 13 stories tall. Its speed limit is 55 mph, but traffic travels at an unenforced 70. 

Fortunately, there’s no need to either risk your life or ruin your intended route. When I find myself here, I call an Uber of Lyft not to hop in the car, but to gain a private traffic escort. 

The conversation typically goes like this when the driver pulls up:

Me: Hi, I’m Charlie. I’m not trying to get in your car all sweaty with my bike. Can you just put your hazard lights on and follow me over the bridge so that no one hits me? It should take about 4 minutes and I’ll tip you at the bottom. Cool? 

David the Uber driver: Alllllllright. 

Uber Cycling Motorcade

This will likely be the first time your driver has gotten this request, so make the request confidently enough to not give the driver second thoughts. Of course, it’s completely within the driver’s discretion at this point to accept/reject this ride, but I’ve never seen anyone decline it. 

I pull away on my bike and head onto the feeder road. David tails me in his Xterra about 40 feet behind. The adrenalin of the bridge ahead and passing traffic keep me moving at 15 mph up the grade. I feel like Egan Bernal. My legs start to burn as I near the top, which comes just in time to start coasting downhill. Within a few seconds, I’m zooming down the backslope somewhere around 35 mph. Traffic is still passing twice as fast as me, and I’m glad I have cover. 

At the bottom, I pull over and David follows. He rolls down his window and I thank him for literally saving my life. He seems genuinely happy to have done some good. He also seems happy that I didn’t get sweat and bike grease all over his interior. Mutual 5-star reviews are exchanged. Everybody wins.  

So, use this life hack when you need it. As someone who wants to occasionally ride high-speed corridors and live to tell about it, it hasn’t failed me yet.  

If you’d like to keep up with these developments and hear what we’re else doing at Bike Law, drop me an email at [email protected]. I’ll add you to our update list so that you have the latest information on these issues as they develop further. 

Comments

Ghost bike in New Orleans
Charlie Thomas Nov 26, 2019

Recently, I was in a spirited discussion about whether Louisiana needs a law to act as a middle ground between serious criminal charges and petty traffic tickets when a bicyclist is hit or killed. Someone asked whether Louisiana law should hold a driver, who didn’t have the “intent” to hurt someone, criminally accountable. This led […]

Read More
Bike Law Ambassador
Bruce Hagen Nov 18, 2019

Trena, as her friends and family call her, is also Joshua’s mom, she works in accounting, a born and raised Atlantan and perhaps the most enthusiastic daily user of the controversial Atlanta Streetcar.  What was at first just a weight loss goal quickly turned into an unexpected journey of self-discovery, transformation and purpose. Today Trena […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 17, 2019

Today, we at Bike Law join the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (“FEVR”) in commemorating the 2019 World Day of Remembrance, honoring and remembering the many millions of people killed, injured and impacted by traffic crashes, and recognizing that “life is not a car part.”    We ask you to watch and pass along this […]

Read More
Brendan Kevenides Nov 11, 2019

A federal government agency is making a controversial recommendation to all 50 states that all bicyclists be required to wear helmets.   Mandatory bicycle helmet laws are a terrible idea.  Cycling as a form of recreation and transportation offers a myriad of benefits to the individual and the community as a whole.  An adult or child […]

Read More
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Nov 07, 2019

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, the family of Kathleen (“Kate”) Kirsch placed a ghost bike in her honor near the site of the tragic September 13, 2019 motor vehicle operator versus bicyclist collision that ultimately led to the loss of her life. Ghost bikes are public memorials parked on public ways near fatal crash sites […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Nov 01, 2019

November 1, 2019: Daylight Savings ends this Sunday, November 3rd, and we are counting down to fewer day time hours and the most dangerous time of year to ride a bike in the U.S. With approximately 65% of all crashes occurring in low light conditions, and the number of fatal crashes at a 30 year […]

Read More
Load More