If you’ve read my blogs, you know I’m a cyclist. I also drive a car. We both need to coexist on the roads, so we all need to get our acts together and share the road.
Tonight at a gathering of family and friends, a friend of a friend of the family was there (and probably had a few drinks in him). I arrived late after finishing a training ride for an upcoming 24 hour cancer charity event. I had my jersey still on since I was late, but everyone there knows I’m a cyclist. The friend of the friend, saw me, and decided to talk.
“So, you must be pretty serious. Those are the kinds of jerseys I aim for.”
I was kind of shocked, as I don’t really know the guy all that well, but I played it off thinking he had a few drinks, and it was just a joke that wasn’t funny. The day went along, and when the picnic was wrapping up, he had to walk past me to leave. I changed from my jersey to a tshirt (oddly enough, my Stomach of Anger “108” shirt in memory of Wouter Weylandt, who died in crash this year at the Giro d’Italia), but had put on a long sleeve jersey, as it was kinda chilly. Again, he felt the need to talk to me.
“See ya around, I’ll aim for ya. You know, you guys think you own the road. Why don’t you just get over and let people go by.”
Some one called for him, so he walked away, but his wife explained that they live on a twisty road, that can be dangerous for cyclists. A group ride goes out every Saturday and Sunday on their road, so they just to know drive slowly and look out for cyclist.
I was shocked by his comments. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t know where they live, what this group ride is, or how they ride, but still, I seriously couldn’t believe he said that to me. I guess it really shows some people’s attitude towards cyclist. That needs to change. It is tough to do, especially when you have people like Michael Smith of ESPN laugh at Johnny Hoogerland being thrown into a barbed wire fence from an accident cause by a TV France car in this year’s Tour de France. He later continued to berate cyclists who responded in anger to his comments and tweets about the crash and how hilarious he thought it was. He is not the only person in the media who has gone after cyclists, insisting we have no place on the road.
Now, as a cyclist, we need to do our part as well. I know that riding can be a social event for some, while we are doing something we enjoy, whether it is for our health, for an event we are training for, or just for the sake of going for a ride. Drivers need to be courteous to us, and we need to be the same to them. While it is PA State law that riders can ride 2 wide at times, when riding on a busy, or dangerous road, riders should always ride single file, as close to the side of the road as SAFELY as possible. While there may be a shoulder, it is not always the safest to ride on, due to debris, drain grates, or cracks and holes that may have formed. On the other hand, drivers need to be courteous to riders, and slow down and wait until it is safe to pass, and give us at least 3 feet of room. By slowing down, and waiting until it is safe to pass, it might slow you up by a minute or two, but in the end of the day, is it better to risk someone’s life? Drivers are enclosed in a multiple thousand pound metal vehicle, cyclists are exposed on a two wheel vehicle, made of carbon or metal, probably weighing around 20 lbs or less. In the end, a cyclist will ALWAYS lose that battle. So don’t fly by and almost clip us, and don’t honk. All honking will do is scare the rider, to the point that it could cause an accident.
Keep in mind, that person riding a bike, could be out there for various reasons. Maybe they are riding for their health. Maybe they are riding to train for a charity event that could be benefiting someone you know and care about. Maybe they are riding a bike to work so there is one less vehicle on the road. Maybe they could just be out doing something they love, like when you go and play golf, or watch TV, or enjoy a glass of wine. Cyclists are not out there to annoy you, or make you late. We are just out there doing something we enjoy.
Share the road.