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067 Bikes, Here is Here 2009-04-08

raod bike on the Natchez Trace

From time to time I hear jibberish about bicycle riders breaking the law in Tennessee. The complaints usually come from vehicles who are inconvenienced by the slower moving cyclist or just peeved by the bike making better time than the vehicle sitting in traffic. The major thread of the argument is that if bicycles are to be treated as other vehicles (Share the Road), then they should obey all of the rules.

People in general seem to be in a rush to get there, a rush to leave there and then in a rush to get somewhere else, just so then they can be in a rush to leave there also! Cars are just the vehicles needed for such a rush job, they are built to move fast. Many drivers therefore drive cars fast. They try to get from point A to B as soon as possible. Anything that slows down this natural momentum is a detriment, this includes school zones, mail delivery vehicles, sanitation trucks, pedestrians, and naturally bicycles. Basically drivers do not want to wait on anything because they need to get there. Here is never there.

When I run, walk, or ride the streets I obey the laws of common sense which supersedes all other laws to me. I must always be aware, alert, and vigilant. I approach every intersection looking both ways, yielding to anyone at the intersection prior to me, and proceeding hopefully without ever coming to a complete foot on the ground stop. Many feet before coming to the intersection I have already began making decisions. Never do I go racing through an intersection (even when I am not supposed to stop) without looking, planning, and yielding. All of the burden is on me the bicyclist. I do not trust that driver who seems to be eating, smoking, listening to music, and texting to know I even exist. If I run into someone at an intersection, it is not going to be a fender bender for me, instead it will at best - be a visit to the emergency room and I will lose. If in turn a vehicle runs into me, I am still the one getting hit, and the one that loses. I really cannot think of how a bicyclist or pedestrian wins with any encounter with a vehicle. So why do the drivers get upset? Here is never there.

I have friends who are afraid to ride bicycles on the road. I questioned their reasoning and soon realized why they were afraid. Basically they did not like to yield to bicycles so why would they think that anyone would yield to them if they were riding!

So drivers of the world. Slow down. Put down your mobile phones and applaud the commuter bicyclist who is making the world a little greener. Tip your hat to the town biker who is just out cruising for exercise, their healthy habits will be one less problem for our insurance companies. Rejoice at the youngster learning to ride, hopefully they are learning green, life lessons they will exercise for the rest of there lives. And drivers, if you are afraid to ride the roads, it is time for you to look at yourself, change your attitude and habits towards bicyclist, buy a bike, and ride.

To a bike rider here is always here. There is always a long way away.


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