Sunday, August 23, 2009

pay it forward

Chicks had a great ride today and while we were sauntering around hill and dale, Eileen said she found a chat board on the Net where motorists in Lancaster were posting about how awful it was on the roads for cars during the Covered Bridge Ride. There were over 4100 riders on the roads of Lancaster County with not enough support personnel, so things got dicey. Too many riders doing bad stuff.

I would have to agree with the motorists on this one as I wondered myself what in heck did the cars do. I saw some cars giving up and just riding in the left lanes for long periods of time.

I think we, as cyclists, now have to bike defensively and constantly try not to take over the roads. It is very easy in a group to get distracted and forgot about the cars. Or expect the cars to not mind riding behind us for long periods of time.

But with so many people texting and talking on cell phones, you have to bike with the notion that car is KING. For one thing, it is way bigger than a bike and way more deadly. I will repeat again and again, NEVER interact with a car when biking with me. We will simply ignore them, never clog up an intersection and get over fast when cars are coming up behind.

Maybe this is easier for chicks than guys. The guys can get confrontational with each other when a motorists gets nasty. Who knows??

I have an idea, next time you are on your bike, do something really nice for a motorist. An example, today on my way home, I got to an intersection, Washington and Darlington. Four cars were in line to cross in front of me. I waved the first guy, then decided to wave them all. They all had smiles on their faces.

So pay one forward and start a chain reaction. It just might help our image out there on the roads. Eileen said the hatred on that website was unreal. Remember your life depends on biking well. And on lessening the anger motorists now have towards cyclists.

It is easy to complain, let's take some steps to change that.


Kathy said...

I paid it forward to a fellow cyclist today. Lib is familiar the with Ridge Pike and Manor Rd intersection near Philadelphia. Manor Road leads to the SRT. Cars zoom by about 50 mph even on a Sunday. I was traveling home on my red Vespa scooter, south on Ridge Pike today and saw a fellow cyclist at the intersection, balancing his bike in the left hand turning lane waiting for a break to turn onto Manor. I slowed way down so the cars behind me had no choice but slow down. I waved him to turn in front of me. Now this might sound dangerous but I began waving him on as soon as I saw him. He figured it out quickly and made his turn in front of me and gave me a wave.

My husband and I have had two friends killed on their bicycles. Both experienced riders, one was a woman racer, and both were killed in exactly the same way. Both were riding with a group and not being careful. Both were riding close to the center lane of the road as they approached a hill. Both were killed by an approaching car speeding over the crest of the hill. One was a drunk driver and one was an illegal alien. Have no idea if he was drinking. Both were killed instantly. Both were women. The woman hit by the drunk driver was hit so hard her socks and shoes were blown right off her feet. Her husband was behind her in the ride and came upon the accident to find his wife. Ever since that incident I always make sure when I ride I am never near the middle of the road on a hill. Be careful out there. My husband and I have been biking for over 35 years and have not been in any accidents. We have however been yelled at, cursed at, had drivers try to hit us with their trucks, had drivers get out of their cars and start to chase after us, honk their horns, and who knows what else. Lib is right, never interact with drivers. We try very hard to obey all traffic lights and signs. We wait at red lights unless we are in the middle of nowhere and no one is around, we then go. Sometimes there are lights on our courses that only change when cars sit on the sensors. We sometimes have to go at those lights.

Lib's twin

Libby Maxim said...

funny comment by my son in FL, he said he thinks the motorist hate comes more from just plain hatred for the biker, regardless of what they are doing on the road, he asks the question "if you were driving your car and stumbled upon a parade taking up the road, would you be just as mad??""