I’ve had this conversations more times than I can count. Some have said, “I hate when cyclists are on the road because it puts them in danger and slows drivers down.”
Or, “It doesn’t matter if there are marked bicycle routes, to me they’re just dangerous – both for the cyclists & the drivers.”
An all too common “solution” to this problem is, “why don’t they just ride on the sidewalks?”
Or, “Bikes should be ridden on sidewalks instead of streets.”
However, sidewalks aren’t an option for a lot of us. For example, when I’m biking on the road, I’m traveling 15-30 mph. There’s no way to safely do that on sidewalks where you come upon people walking 1/10 or less your speed, and the constant up curbs/down curbs at intersections. A dedicated bike lane is the best way to go, but NOT on the side with the parked cars.
The other issue is driver education. Drivers are overwhelmingly at fault in car/bicycle collisions.
I’m still waiting on the data that tells us why drivers keep hitting cyclists. Because I am tired of freaking out when I roll up to a stop light and every third driver is using both hands to type texts, and I don’t see them look up when they accelerate at the green light.
There appears to be little forward momentum on solving the causes of these accidents. Which to my estimation include (but are not limited to):
*Lack of driver education – includes misconceptions about bicycle positioning, aka ‘get on the sidewalk’ arguments, penalty pass, etc.
*Sense of driver entitlement
*Intermittent explosive disorder at the wheel (aka regular people turn into aggressive warlike chimps behind the wheel)
How do we solve this?
*Make bike lanes ubiquitous, and separated where possible
*Get self-driving cars on the road? (Yeah, maybe not realistic, but can you sense my frustration!?)
*In the mean-time, educate more drivers
*Perhaps a teensy enforcement regime?
Where is the forward momentum in the states? As far as I can tell, distracted driving is going up at the same time severe, fatal cyclist injuries are increasing. Every time I see a link posted about this problem, the answer is always reactionary.
I admit, there are a fair share of entitled and rude cyclists on the roads too. Some have no qualms holding up traffic for long stretches.
Cyclists need to use common sense and decency in those situations. Most of the time I can easily go the posted speed limit for motorized vehicles. If not I keep as far to the side as possible or pull over occasionally if I’m holding up traffic for more than a block or too. Those are rare cases but if cyclists show proper respect where appropriate, it could help ease tensions on the road.
Most cities, other than maybe some of the largest, don’t have the infrastructure or funds to create proper riding lanes. So until that changes motorists and cyclists alike should show respect, common sense and common decency. And for the love of pete, STOP texting in your vehicle! Even if you’re at a red light. If you’re “emergency” is THAT urgent, get OFF THE ROAD and make your call or text.
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