Monday, August 19, 2013

Things No One Tells You: Roadkill

This morning on my way into work I nearly ran over an armadillo so freshly killed and intact that from a distance in the dark it looked like someone had dropped a large purse in the middle of the bike lane. I then spent the next mile or so unsuccessfully trying not to throw up. And it got me thinking - no one tells you about roadkill when you start cycling.

In the US the majority of bike lanes aren't segregated from the roadway - it's a stripe of paint, and the shoulder of the road. The fanciest ones look like this:

All the detritus of cars ends up in the bike lane - this includes the wire bead of car tires, shattered glass, and whatever bounced out of the bed of a pickup truck. Many of these items present a pretty significant hazard, especially for punctures. Street cleaning helps, but to a point there's only so much they can do. But roadkill is fairly unique because it's not an actual feature of cars, but a consequence of them. And it's WAY more common than you think until you're out in the world without any separation from cruel reality.

I know this is a fairly morbid train of thought. But it's unfortunate cruel reality, and I can't think of an animal that's exempt from becoming potential roadkill, from tiny squirrels all the way on up to deer weighing hundreds of pounds. And if you bike for long, you're going to see it.'s definitely one of those things no one tells you.

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