(Picture from Jose Fidelino Vera Hernandez via the AP.)
I trust my husband. I really do! But he does one thing every day that makes me so nervous…I’m glad I’m usually asleep when he does it! See, each morning he gets up and goes on a pretty long bike ride. I’m proud of him for getting up before the sun to exercise. And I’m constantly amazed that he continues to be so enthusiastic about working out. (I never seem to have that problem!) BUT…he has been in 2 different accidents while on his bike. Neither accident was his fault, but he was injured all the same. He’s been lucky so far, and hasn’t been seriously hurt, thank goodness! But I have seen a person hit by a car, and it ain’t pretty, folks. It’s down-right scary to see just how little and insignifcant a human body is when up against a whopping 3,000 pound car!
And look at these poor cyclist doing their thing in what was supposed to be a safe area. A drunk and sleepy driver hit 11 people, killing one. Even though they all seem to be wearing proper safety gear, it can’t hold up to something like that!
So I guess what I’m saying is…if you see a someone tootling along on their bike on the road, PLEASE be careful!! I know it’s tempting to try to squeeze past them on a road that doesn’t have a bike lane, or fly by them at 80mph when you finally get a chance, or show them just how you feel by honking your horn, flipping them the bird, or yelling at them. I know it’s tempting; I want to do it sometimes, too. But when you’re stuck going 25 miles per hour with screaming, hungry kids in the back seat and a dinner to get started and dogs to feed and laundry to do and so on…please think(even if you don’t live near me) “What if that cyclist was Bridget’s husband? Would I still want to risk his life to save 2 minutes?”
If you’re wondering how you, as a motorist, should handle car/bicycle situations, I’ve found a wonderful article from the League of American Bicyclist about know how to Share the Road effectively. Some key points for drivers that they had listed are:
- Drive Cautiously: Reduce speed when encountering cyclists, and don’t tailgate (especially in bad weather).
- Yeild to Cyclists: Bicycles are considered vehicles, and cyclists should be given the appropriate right of way.
- Be Considerate: Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists.
- Pass with Care: When passing, leave four feet between you and a cyclist; wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass; and check over your shoulder before moving back.
- Take extra caution to WATCH FOR CHILDREN: Because of their size, they are often hard to see. Children also don’t often know traffic laws or understand traffic patterns. Expect the unexpected, and slow down.