I’ve heard people campaigning for those who drive cars to share the road with cyclists. There’s the concept of the bike lane, which has its pros and cons.
I understand the desire of people who bike to be allowed to share the road, but I just have one problem with doing that. In my experience, a disproportionate number of cyclists blatantly fail to follow the rules of the road – and often, the rules of common sense as well! I really have no problem sharing the road with careful, responsible bike riders. I really don’t. However, I’ve just seen so many who feel the law doesn’t apply to them. I am very patient and understanding when I’m behind a cyclist who obviously can’t go close to the posted speed limit. I have no problem slowing down until I can safely pass them, or they turn, or whatever. It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s something I am willing to do.
My complaints about cyclists have to do with the ones I see doing crazy things like coasting through red lights or stop signs without even pausing to check if anyone is coming. I once had a man on a bike – a SEPTA Transit Policeman, no less – cut in front of me from the right lane to turn left at a red light and drive across the train tracks! Do I really need to explain how wrong that was?
The same thing applies to motorcyclists. Recently, I saw some on my way to New Jersey. There were maybe about 7 or 8 of them. They were on a major highway, but they stayed in their lane, and as far as I could see, were following the law. On the way home, I saw a different group, but these were weaving back and forth, and at one point, decided to ride on the shoulder of the highway at a very high rate of speed, apparently because they didn’t want to travel at the same rate as the rest of us. They quickly disappeared ahead into the distance. A little later, I saw there were a few cars on the side of the road because of an accident. I have no idea if this had anything to do with those cyclists or not, but I wonder if they got back on the road before they reached that spot, or if they had to suddenly swerve back into the right lane when they spotted the police cars behind the disabled vehicles. Or even if they were part of the cause of the accident itself!
I’m sure some who ride bikes will try to defend those who don’t obey the law, saying they only do those things because they can’t travel as fast as the rest of the traffic, or something like that. I understand that it can be difficult to ride around cars and trucks, but I would think that would cause them to be more cautious instead of more reckless.
I am very willing to work with bike riders who signal before they turn, stop at red lights and stop signs, and obey other very important traffic rules. I know people who drive cars don’t always obey the laws either, and I think they should get ticketed for it. I honestly don’t like sharing the road with dangerous drivers no matter what they use for transportation! I just get extra nervous and irritated about people on bikes who are careless for two reasons. One, if they are involved in an accident, they’re more likely to get killed or very seriously hurt. Two, I’ve actually seen them (as a general rule) drive more recklessly than people in cars do. I see many more cars than bikes, but I don’t remember ever seeing someone in a car drive right through a red light without even pausing, for example (although I’m sure it happens).
I decided to ask my husband about this. He said he’s seen people in motor vehicles drive right past red lights or stop signs like they’re not there, but not even close to the extent he’s seen people on bicycles doing it.
I don’t understand why. If you make this sort of maneuver in a motor vehicle, you’re at least somewhat likely to survive if you get hit by someone else. However, if you’re on a bicycle and go through an intersection without stopping and get hit, you’re much more likely to get killed or be very seriously injured.
How many people reading this are willing to share the road with others who are willing to obey traffic laws? How many cyclists reading this are willing to follow the laws, and be extra careful because they’re more vulnerable? How many in motor vehicles, like me, are willing to be more careful around cyclists, and willing to slow down and make it safer for those on bicycles to be on the road? I’m asking everyone to pay more attention to the road and to other travelers, obey the rules, and help us all get to our destinations safely.