Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bicyclists are friends, right?

People who ride their bikes everywhere have my utmost respect, awe, and admiration. They are getting exercise, saving gas, and making me feel a teensy bit guilty for driving around in Schmitty, my gas guzzling Minivan. (Yes, I feel guilty, even though I'm so sick with my second child I can barely hold down food most days, and I'd have to lug around my 35 pound two year old in a trailer behind me. I'm crazy.)

I do have a bone to pick, though. The other day, I was driving out of my neighborhood when I noticed a friend of mine was in a car accident. A car accident caused by a bicyclist who ran a stop sign. Luckily none of his three children were hurt, nor was the person walking with her child in a stroller or the the driver of the other vehicle. The potential was there, though. About a month ago, I nearly ran over a man who ran a stop sign on his bicycle. Again, last night, a man on a bicycle blew through a stop sign --after dark no less -- nearly causing an accident.

I get that it sometimes is inconvenient to stop at stop signs. And then you have to work up the energy to get those pedals started again. It's also inconvenient for me to stop. I have to completely stop, wait for pedestrians to cross, other cars to cross and work up the energy to get my lead foot back on the gas pedal. But you know what? I do it. I stop. Because it's safe for everyone. Do bicyclists realize that they are technically on a vehicle and are required to follow all of the same laws that automobiles are required to follow -- including speed limits? Sometimes I'm not sure. Yes. If you are on a bicycle, riding on the street, you are required to stop at all traffic stops, lights, etc. You are not allowed to go faster than the 15 mph speed limit. No exceptions.

We who drive our automobiles do need to be vigilant in keeping an eye out for our friends who are walking and riding their bikes. But you also need to ensure that you are watching out for us, by following all of the stop signs. Really, it's for your own safety. If your bike and my minivan get in a fight, I guarantee the minivan will win. I will escape uninjured, but my mental health will suffer if I hurt you -- even if it is your fault. Please be aware of the laws, and follow them -- it's better for everyone.

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Amen! I HATE it when bikers don't stop at red lights and stop signs, they are on the road, they should be abiding by the rules, not picking and choosing which ones to follow at their convenience. And don't give me the evil eye when I cautiously pass you.