I don’t usually write posts like this, but it’s a topic I strongly feel can no longer be ignored.
This morning I read a blog post about one cyclist’s outrage with drivers these days – saying that he is “done” with riding his bike on the road in fear of being killed by an ignorant driver. Lately, I’ve been feeling quite “done” myself and wanted to share my two cents on the state of what’s happening on our roadways. Perhaps, if anything, it might remind all of us to think twice when sharing the road.
On a daily basis, I see almost unfathomable close calls and just plain stupidity from motorists on the roads. Tailgating, slow drivers in the left lane, speeding through yellow lights, excessive speeding, weaving through traffic, blowing through stop signs, failing to yield, cutting off other cars, and speeding through parking lots or residential side streets. Then there are the distracted drivers – texting, talking on the phone, or simply not paying attention to the one task they should be doing – driving. There seems to be a sense of entitlement to not follow the rules and a blatant disregard for anyone else. It’s negligent, ignorant and selfish.
I simply do not feel safe on the road anymore – as a driver, cyclist or runner.
Two weeks ago, a fellow runner in my community was struck by a car while out on her morning run. She was following all the rules of the road, and appropriately dressed in bright attire, when a car swerved behind her, crossed over the yellow line into the opposite lane and struck her. The driver of the car fled the scene of the accident, so we still don’t know why this happened, but it begs the question, what the hell was this person doing? How do you just drive into someone? But, almost more importantly, how do you walk away from that without a care in the world?
I’ve always been hyper aware of my surroundings and very diligent on following the rules of the road, but these days my senses are in overdrive and I practically flinch every time I see a car approaching.
I no longer feel safe running past dark, or on roads where there is no sidewalk – which can be very limiting. Even if there is a sidewalk, there is no immunity to the carelessness of others. It only takes a split second for someone to stop paying attention and drive off the road. I simply do not trust people anymore.
And, if I think running on a sidewalk is scary, imagine how I feel when I ride my bike on the road. There is almost nothing I love more than the freedom I have to ride my beloved bicycle for miles and miles along some incredibly beautiful countryside in our community. I’m sad to say that for every few miles I cover there is at least one motorist out there who can ruin all of that. Yes, I know there are cyclists out there who give us a bad name – the ones who don’t obey the rules of the road, but the majority of us do. Yet, we consistently get to hear the raging blare of someone’s horn or screaming curse words, and see the waving of middle fingers and shaking fists. We’ve even had beer bottles thrown at us, threats yelled at us and cars intentionally swerved toward us. I am so over it.
The fact of the matter is when I hit the road, I do often wonder if it might be my last ride, run or drive. There will always be risk in life and accidents do happen, but we have to take it upon ourselves to help ensure that each person who travels our roads gets to go home to our friends and family without incident.
We should all take more accountability for our actions, slow down, chill out and respect one another. Pay attention to what you’re doing, have some patience and we just might have a more peaceful experience sharing the road together.