May 26, 2010

The Opportunity for A Cycling Public Awareness Campaign

By admin

I’ve read the news.  A tragedy occurred involving some high ups and a bike courier.  A decision was made yesterday that many don’t agree with.

I understand that a lot of people are frustrated and they’re thinking this is a massive conspiracy.  Maybe it is.  The way I saw it, the driver was attached by a person, but maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to look.  I don’t know.

But before you put on the tinfoil hat, consider ways that this can lead to more productive outcomes for all of us.

Let’s turn that frustration into something positive.

More than ever, we need a public awareness campaign concerning cyclists, pedestrians, the road and drivers.

Here are some simple messages for cyclists that I would love to see materialize from this campaign:

  • WEAR A HELMET and learn how to ride a bike.  If you’re on the road, learn the rules of the road.  If you want the respect of drivers, follow the rules.  As a cyclist, nothing annoys me more than seeing other cyclists flaunting the law (or lack of laws), taking their life into their own hands and acting like buffoons.
  • Demand more bike lanes.
  • Demand unique trails that don’t involve urban transit locations.
  • Exchange respect.  You get what you give.

And for the drivers out there?

  • Demand more bike lanes.
  • Demand that cyclists be treated like vehicles on the road and insist that existing and new laws apply to them.  For their own sake.
  • Until there are more lanes, you don’t own the road.  Cyclists are taxpayers too.  In fact, as a driver, you’re at the bottom of the commuter food chain (starting with pedestrians, pedestrians walking sideways on the road, pedestrians walking on their hands on the road, cyclists, animals, street cars, and so on).  Accept it and get used to it.
  • You are conducting a vehicle that can kill.  A person on a bicycle cannot kill you unless they’re some freaky futuristic distopian death machine armed with submachine guns, but even then, you can outrun a cyclist.
  • PAY ATTENTION.  You’re driving a machine that crush just about anything besides a hippo or a bulldozer.  Understand that!  Get off the phone, put down your latte, stop yelling at your kids, don’t fiddle with your GPS.  Drive.
  • Exchange respect.  You get what you give.

Tragedy happens on the road nearly every day in this country and it’s time we all started to figure out ways to get along.  In urban areas, things are getting way too crowded for hot tempers and short fuses.

Thank you.