Sharing the road

The top 5 things drivers and cyclists need to know about each other appeared in The Post-Standard last week.

I do not ride my bike very often but I do walk to work. I see and personally encounter bicyclists all the time. What I see happening in downtown Cortland is both encouraging and troubling.

I’m encouraged to see more and more people riding bicycles to work and for recreation. It’s great exercise, it’s fun, and it will save you a boatload of money if you can bike instead of drive.

What’s troubling is that too many are being dangerous to themselves and to others. As a walker my biggest beef is with bicyclists who ride their bikes on the sidewalk. I walk with an iPod as many people do and even though I don’t have the music that loud, I still cannot hear a bicyclist when they come up behind me. There have been many close calls when I have almost been run into. I know there are many streets, including Main Street, that are not conducive to bicycling but if a bicyclist needs to be on the sidewalk, they should be walking their bikes.

I also see many who do not wear helmets. I rode horses. I wore a helmet, though many do not. And it was a good thing I did. Concussion is one thing, a fractured skull is something else. There are unpredictable horses and unpredictable drivers. Head injuries are to be avoided at all costs.

Bicyclists need to be extremely aware of their surroundings. There should be no iPods in use when bicycling and cyclists should be extra careful before passing a parked car. It’s very difficult for a driver to see a bicyclist coming up before they open the door and most drivers aren’t even thinking about that.

If bicyclists and drivers know the rules of the road, follow them, and are alert to their surroundings, then sharing the road will work.

Jan

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