The summer season, warm and inviting, is usually a good opportunity for cyclists of all ages to pedal their bicycles as much as possible before the arrival of winter. I see people of all ages pedal for all their worth down sidewalks, hiking paths, dirt roads…paved roads…major traffic arteries…. Where was I? Ah, yes, summer is the season of sharing! When drivers acknowledge that even cyclists have a right to the road by showing courtesy and sharing the road with them. But, deep down, in the hearts and minds of those who traverse treacherous roads of urban sprawl, rests the vicious truth: There can only be one.
Imagine yourself driving down a road with a cyclist in your path. What do you do? You certainly did not buy a car and pay for the gas in the tank to crawl behind this man powered vehicle, did you? You would probably try to give the cyclist a wide berth and pass him, right? Remember those signs scattered across the city to remind you to be courteous? To share the road with cyclists? What does courtesy mean anyway? Now that you think about it, what courtesy has a cyclist ever shown you? They jaywalk on their bicycles, shoot out of no where when you’re performing a right turn on a red light, and they’re slowing you down at this very moment in your mind! But, it only takes a few good people to make a few mistakes to cause a tragedy on the road.
Consider the most obvious of physical differences between a motor vehicle and a person on a bicycle. A compact car’s weight can be around 2500 lbs, while a full sized truck can weigh over 4000 lbs. On the other hand, a person on a bicycle tops out at 500 lbs – and that is only if this person is big boned or they’re riding on a bicycle from the set of the Flintstones. There is no contest between a bicycle and a car. Should a vehicle ever collide with a bicycle it is likely that the cyclist alone will be seriously injured. In addition to this probable severity of injury that a cyclist bears on the road, let us not forget one serious flaw all humans possess: Change blindness. Clearly, the cyclist – of noble breed, only wishing to save the environment while keeping fit – is at a disadvantage while sharing the road with cars.
So what’s the solution? Just follow these easy steps: Read the traffic rules, follow them, and return home safe without killing anyone. If people can no longer respect the traffic rules and those cute courtesy signs, traffic calming, or whatever rat’s maze some engineer can think of, will not be worth the trouble of building.
So, before you turn that ignition, remember the mission: No more blood on the streets.