Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sharing is a Two Way Street

Driving in DC, many people have experienced various levels of road rage. I know I certainly have – I have a mental picture of a weeble wobble© world where I can vent my frustration by just ramming into the offending car but it just weeble wobbles with no harm done.

However, nothing spikes my blood pressure like driving on the road with a bicyclist.

More than 52,000 bicyclists have been killed in bicycle traffic accidents in the U.S. over the 80 years the federal government has been keeping records. No argument, that stinks.

It is not an ideal situation – large, fast moving, metal and steel objects sharing a relatively small space with completely unprotected human beings on two thin wheels. Yep, pretty much a recipe for disaster. The majority view of cars and bicycles sharing the road is akin to David and Goliath.

However, may I remind you, David won that battle.

In my experience, the bicyclist is one of the most entitled creatures I have found in the commuting world. They are quick to howl and flip you off if you begin to turn right and did not see them in your blind spot. But they are just as quick to weave in between cars in traffic and ignore stop signs trying to skim through the intersection between moving vehicles.

Let me go out on a limb here and make a suggestion – If bicyclists consistently followed the basic rules of the road with the same dedication they request of vehicle drivers, the roads may just be safer for all.

The stupid groundhog may be lazy but we can still dream about spring! DC spring usually has a nip to it so skip past the woolly and slip on this bright cardigan!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, MIH, you hit a touchy point with me ;-)

    I cycle up here in Boston which is, on a good day, a life-threatening experience. Please don't paint all cyclists with the same broad brush. While many cyclists flaunt the rules of the road (bike messengers, anyone?), the majority of us just ride and try not to get killed. Yes, sharing is a two way street; but while most cyclists are aware of the rules governing cars on the road, the same cannot be said for motorists.

    (Based on MA law)
    How many motorists know that bicycles do not have to stay to the right? That up to two cyclists have the right to occupy the full lane? That it is unlawful to honk at a cyclist for legally riding in the road? That it is legal to cyclists to pass on the right? That it is legal to ride on sidewalks outside of business districts, unless otherwise posted?

    In a perfect world, motorists and cyclists would travel in harmony, side by side, while daisies grow on the shoulders. Until that day, cyclists do need to be a bit more agressive - especially in a world where they are shot, run down and the victims of intentional braking (yes, these have all happened) - and they only have a plastic helmet and some lights to protect them.