About the blog: Alaska is a wonderful and fascinating place. Whether its backcountry hiking, coastline kayaking or dining on a downtown deck, there truly is something for everyone. This blog picks up where the annual Daily News Visitors' Guide leaves off. The guide is published in late April, but that's just when summer fun starts heating up. Throughout the year, we hope to give readers a look at Alaska through local eyes. The blog also serves as a calendar of what's going on, a place to look for some outstanding vacation deals and other cool stuff. We invite your comments and your questions. E-mail me at
About me: I live in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, and I served as the special sections editor at the Anchorage Daily News for nine years. My wife and I have been Alaska residents since 2000 and never plan to leave.

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Cyclist dies ... is Alaska safe?

Sad irony today.

Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage are promoting April as Freeze Your Keys month, encouraging people to trade in car rides for bike rides. Then a motorist kills a cyclist at an intersection I have ridden through many, many times.

I love my bicycle. I love riding in Alaska. And I’ve had my fair share of near-misses.

Situations like these give one pause … as do the comments from my fellow Alaskans and their attitude toward cyclists. Here are a few from the story about the cyclist’s death:

“In my opinion, cyclists should have to register their bikes, have some kind of plate and carry insurance. As a driver I do these things to cover myself and the idiots that don't. Cyclists cause accidents, create hazzards, do not follow the laws of the road just like everyone else. If they do cause a accident or damage to a auto they should be held liable. I am sorry, I do not want bike in trade for the damage to my car. Also, if I hit someone due to their negligence, they need to pay for MY damage.”

“Fine, then do the speed limit on it or MOVE THE F out of the road when cars are backed up behind you, as the law states. Idiot rude bike riders cause road rage.”

“And this is why bicycles don't belong on the road. Even when they are in the right, as this gentleman most likely was, they still lose. A moral high horse offers little protection from the laws of physics. Sad all around, but riding on roads this time of year especially is high risk behavior, plain and simple.”

“And incidentally, if you hit my truck head on, you'd neither scratch the paint nor clear the hood. A couple hours of therapy for me, and 12 dollars at the lazer wash for my truck, and your little Kamakazi run might as well have never happened.”

Despite those attitudes, I’ll still be riding my bike to work and for fun. And I always encourage visitors to get on a bike a ride. But I also encourage them to keep their heads on a swivel and not expect that the guy or gal behind the steering wheel to know or care that they exist.

It’s kind of sad.


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