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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Today's topic: cyclists, bicyclists specifically. There have been numerous letters to the editor in our local newspaper from cyclists lamenting the fact that vehicle drivers do not share the road with them. On and on they go about how they have every right to be on the road, people are rude to them, drive too close to them, tailgate them, blind them with their highbeams, the list goes on. My take on the whole thing is this; when was the last time you saw a person on a bike obeying the traffic laws just as they are supposed to. They have to follow the same laws that a driver of a car does. This means that they can not go through stop signs or red lights. They have to stop. They must ride with traffic, not against it. They must use hand signals to tell others what move they are planning to do. Don't get me wrong, I have seen some doing those things. But the majority don't. There are plenty of bad drivers out there that you need to be aware of.

Yes, sometimes it seems like we are tailgating you and I'll tell you why. You need to ride as close to the white line on the side of the road as you can. Not in the middle so we can't get around you due to oncoming traffic. Yes you get blinded sometimes with headlights but maybe its because you're on the wrong side of the road, wearing dark clothes and no reflectors or light. Wjen I'm turning right onto a road I don't need to see you come whizzing by me on the right to go through an intersection. Cars cannot pass on the right. Use your heads people. While I am a good driver and never assume I know what a pedestrian or biker will do, I know that there are lots of assholes out there driving that aren't paying attention, talking on the phone, eating, putting on makeup, shaving. Hell, I even saw someone reading a book while driving on the xway! Its just a matter of time before someone hits you. I hope it is not me.

I write about this because once this summer we saw a tragedy and the other night were almost part of one. We came upon an accident with a bike and a car. The vehicle was turning right on to the entrance ramp of the xway and hit a bicylclist. I don't know whose fault it was, we happened upon the aftermath with the twisted, broken bike in the road and police investigating. The car won that collision, the young man, age 21, was killed. The other night on a 4 lane road a kid, maybe 16, riding a bike that was too small for him, no helmet and a frosty from Wendy's in one hand, cut across two lanes and without the quick reflexes of Sean, we would have hit him. After slamming on the breaks we came to a dead stop right behind him. This young man just went on his merry way leaving us with heart palpatations and almost being rear ended in the process. I only hope he learned a lesson that night when his life had to have flashed before his eyes but I don't think he did. A bicylclist will never come out on top with an altercation with a car.

So if you want the respect you feel you should get and to feel safe on the road when riding a bike, please take the time to learn the traffic laws, ride smart and don't play games. Don't assume that we see you, sometimes we don't.

3 comments:

daboga75 said...

How true you speak!!!

Summer said...

Wow! Someone really read this and took the time to comment. Thanks daboga. I knew I wasn't the only one that felt this way.

Anonymous said...

Hello Summer,
it happens here too, unfortunately. The thing that strikes me most is that the more vulnerable they are, the more wildly they run. Most bikers ignore red lights and don't care about safety. On the road, life's lamp becomes a candle.
Thanks for sharing it, Summer.
Hugs,
Claudio