John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." NIV

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Save a Life!

I have had something on my mind since the group ride on Sunday.

My biggest fear out there was the cars because I *was* one of those drivers before. You know, the ones that ride super close to a cyclist. The ones that quickly swerve around you and act like a road hog. The ones who honk so loud it catches you off guard and you almost fall off your bike (okay, I don't think I ever did that).

But on Sunday, I finally understood. At church that morning, a member asked me why we rode on the road instead of on the trails. Good question I thought, so I brought it to the club. Personally, as a runner I hate cyclists on the trail. The trail isn't wide enough for runners in each direction and cyclists. Rarely do they give you enough room (I have been clipped by a cyclist twice while running) and they act like you should get off the trail so they can pass. But this is a runners position and I am no longer just a runner.

As a cyclist (lol - not really one, yet!), I learned a lot about their world at least from the perspective of this group.  Each time a car approached us from behind, the last rider would yell, "Car pass" and we passed it up the line and we would all get over as far as we could, single file, and even slowed a little so the car could pass. Most of the time we rode single file, except when passing, as not to hog the rode. There were many hand signals exchanged between the riders to avoid pedestrians and even pot holes. Never once did the group run a light or a stop sign. They obeyed all of the laws just like a motorist. I was impressed and I started to feel guilty.

As a driver, I just figured they were making a political statement and wanted the same rights as motorists. My attitude was... yeah, but I'm bigger than you so you better watch out. I also wondered why they didn't use the trails that we have.... and we are blessed with a lot around here. I KNOW, horrible, right?

I cannot speak for all cyclists or even group rides, but I have a completely different attitude now. When asked why they did not ride on the trails, there response made sense. They too thought the trails with the runners and walkers and pets did not give them enough space to ride safely. They explained that the condition of the trail (holes, branches, roots, leaves, etc) made the ride unsafe as well. I NEVER thought about it. I mean it does makes sense... much easier to run around those things than it is to ride around it.

So here I am today, a budding triathlete (which means a wannabe cyclist) and I wanted to take a moment to ask you to SHARE THE ROAD. Give cyclists 3 feet. Not all cyclists are road hogs and I promise, they are looking out for the motorists - after all, you ARE bigger and you WILL win.

Share the road and save a life!


Anonymous said...

Great post and good reminder for everyone

Julie said...

As a non-rider I was always angered that the cyclists would ride so close to the white line when they had the whole bike lane to ride in. It didn't make sense.

As a Rider, I realized that all the rock, broken glass, and debris clutter up most of the bike path but that the area close to the white line is usually clear.

It is all about perspective. I try to give the benefit of the doubt more now. Not just in cycling, but in all areas of life. We never really know what another person is thinking.

I do dislike when riders blatantly ignore the law or safety guidelines. It gives the rest of us a bad rep with drivers.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Great post. Timely reminder as runner and cyclists get back outdoors more and more often with the increasing spring and summer traffic.

Walkers, runners, cyclists, drivers. It goes back to what we learned in grade school. Share.

momof3 said...

bike paths? What bike paths? We don't got no stinking bike paths... so we have to share the road, and whoa, there's not always a lot of room to share. I hate it. As a car AND as a "budding" cyclist.

Hey- a year ago, would you have imagined either of us as budding cyclists? yea, me either. we rock.

ajh said...

In Vermont it is now the law to give bicyclists, runners etc. ample room. Does this mean it always happens? No, but there is more awareness and hopefully it will continue to improve.

LB said...

love this post, i used to be the same way as a non cycling driver. but now that i am a cyclist, i am super courteous to cyclists when i drive. i have had a couple close calls with cars driving too close to me, its ridiculous!

*~* *~* Tracy said...

Great post! I have two friends who are avid cyclists and have had close calls because of rude drivers.

I think drivers - in the cocoon of their car - forget that the cyclist or runner they are about to mow down is an actual human being. I have joked with my husband about running with a big sign that says, 'I have 4 kids so please don't kill me.'

Thanks for this great reminder to share the road!

coach dion said...

As a motorbike rider I think 90% of other biker want to die on the road, and as I cyclist I think 80% of other cyclists want to piss cars off. It's summer in Cape Town and The Argus (cycle race with 35 000 riders) is in a couple of weeks so everyone is out, and the problem is they think they own the road...

Richelle said...

Thanks for the reminder!

XLMIC said...

Awesome reminder. There are tons of cyclists all over town here as well as on the back roads just outside of town. I'm looking out!