I Just Want To Say

| August 26, 2010 | 7 Comments

You may have noticed that there are a lot of cyclists on the road lately.  This is my favorite time of the year.  One of the few times when it isn’t too hot or to cold to enjoy my sport.  Many of us are training for the Seagull Century on the Eastern Shore.  Some of us are training for triathlons across the country and around the world.  And some of us are just out there trying to stave off heart disease and a hundred other diseases caused by leading sedentary lives.

As a cyclist, I find myself confronted on a daily basis with drivers who make it clear they want me off the road.  I wish there was a forum for drivers and riders to speak with each other and air their complaints but there isn’t.  Instead I would like to tell you a few things that might help you understand me, as a cyclist, better.

  1. I have three beautiful kids and a husband who love me waiting at home. Almost every cyclist you come across on the local roads has someone they are hoping to return to at the end of their ride.
  2. I am not purposefully trying to make you late for work, the movies or your hot date. Most of the time I arrange my rides around the traffic.  Early morning riding works best because there are fewer cars on the roads.  But once in a while, events force my hand.  Sometimes it is personal events in my life that don’t let me out the door or maybe my car has broken down and now I am forced to ride as a form of commuting.  I promise you that I don’t enjoy riding with cars any more than you enjoy sharing the road with cyclists.  I am well aware that in a battle between car and bike your car is going to win.
  3. I don’t in the shoulder because it is more dangerous for all of us. It is better for drivers and bikes alike to be able to predict the others’ movements.  The problem with the shoulder, at least shoulders that are not specific bike lanes, is that it is unpredictable.  There are hazards that you, as a driver, never have to think about.  Tree limbs sticking out into the shoulder, pot holes, glass, nails, and other debris.  All of these things could take me, as the rider, by surprise and cause me to either crash or swerve out into traffic.  It is far safer for me to ride in the car lane and you to give me a wide berth when passing than it is to have me suddenly swerving out into traffic.
  4. Even my husband hates cyclists. When you live with one of the most perfect people in the world and he hates your type, it does make you hyper-vigilant about safety.  I understand there are cyclists out there who have become jaded and have started to believe that it is an every man for himself sort of world, but most of us aren’t like that.  On the other hand, as a cyclists I approach every ride with the knowledge that the drivers of these multi-ton vehicles really don’t like my presence very much.
  5. I don’t pull up beside you at stop signs and stop lights without thinking about the best plan for everybody. There is a reason for doing this.  If you are in the right hand turning lane, I won’t pull up beside you.  It isn’t safe.  If you are in the left turn lane and I am turning left then I will. The same goes for the thru lanes.  The reason is two fold.  It keeps me from holding up the rest of the traffic and puts me in the safest possible position.

There is a theme running through this list – SAFETY.  I spend 90% of my ride thinking not about how fast or far I am riding, but whether I am riding in the safest way possible.   I really do understand that there are riders out there that give the rest of us a bad name but the majority of us are doing our best to be responsible riders.  And though there are times it might seem like we are doing our best to cause an accident or slow down your progress, I would like to say on behalf of all riders, we are not.  We know who will win and who will lose in a battle between car and bike and we are doing everything we can to make it safe for all of us.

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Category: LIFE IN THE AREA, OPINION, Sports

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