May 19, 2009

Tips for Motorists AND Cyclists As The Weather Changes

commuterbikeAs the weather gets nicer around these parts, more and more bikes start showing up on the road, even here in the Salem/Keizer area, where I don’t often see all that many bikes. But the sun makes people happy and gets us all out enjoying the weather in new ways, and I can’t think of a better way than by rolling out on two wheels. That being said, any cyclist that ventures out onto the public road system knows that it’s at least tricky out there, and sometimes can be downright dangerous. Or it can at least feel that way. I’ve read tons articles about safe cycling on the road, and rights and responsibilities of the cylcist, but today I read a really great article that I wanted to share. Please read on for more…

No matter where you live, you’re bound to hear a motorist somewhere complaining about ‘the people on bikes who are taking over the roads,’ and if you’re a cyclist you have undoubtedly heard how ‘people in cars have no regard for anyone on a bike.’ It’s the simple law of seeing things from only one perspective, or at least more clearly seeing the perspective you represent. But in this reader-submitted article in a Binghmton, NY web site, Peggy Gordon writes some of the best words I’ve ridden in a while about sharing the road….with tips for both sides of the coin. In probably my favorite part, she says to motorists:

So, as a cyclist, I would ask the following of motorists: If you see us on the road, keep us in your sight as much as possible. Through no fault of anyone, we can go down. It could be onto the cruel, unforgiving pavement, or it could be under your wheel. Either way, we could lose our life.Please give us room. Move as far to the left of the bicycle as possible without placing yourself in harm’s way. This is especially important for trucks and busses. Usually there is plenty of room in the lane for most vehicles and yet they drive right next to us, which is too close and extremely dangerous. Anything can happen in an instant, and with little room for error there is more likelihood for calamity. I have actually felt the swipe of a side mirror on my arm, which, as anyone can imagine, is way too close for comfort. For an inexperienced cyclist that may have turned into tragedy.

As is evidenced in the first three lines, Gordon presents all her points, to both sides, in a non-confrontational manner. She doesn’t assign blame to anyone, and simply makes good points about how bad things can happen. Things we’ve all heard before, but things that are good to be reminded of. I’d encourage anyone who shares the road, whether in a 4-wheeled vehicle, or on one with only 2 wheels, to read the full article.

And hey, let’s be careful out there….

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