SHARE THE ROAD
It’s a vicious cycle: The pedestrians hate the motorists and the bicyclist. The motorists hate the pedestrians and the bicyclists and the bicyclists hate the pedestrians and the motorists. So can’t we just all get along?! I will admit to being guilty of partaking in and cursing out all 3 of the above mentioned means of transportation. While I run for recreation, fitness, health and competition, I ride my bike to work every day. And I ride it home, everyday. I do this for many practical reasons: it saves time and money. It’s helpful to the environment. I live in an extremely “bike friendly” town. As a matter of fact, Mayor Nutter has made major improvements to bike lanes here in Philadelphia.
I worry to death when I ride my bike. “Death” being the key word here. I have already been hot by a cab while walking home. Yes, me, a pedestrian walking in the cross walk at a green light. Thank God that my trainer focuses on a lot of quad building or I could be in worst shape. I often fear what would happen on a bike. A fender bender with a bike is a much different scenario than with a car.
So in a helpful manner I hope to share some insight into how we can all “share the road” and get along on our daily commute. First we need to pay attention to the signs, and especially those on the road:
Above is the most basic of them all. It indicates a bike ONLY lane. Notice the solid lines that on the road means “do not pass” Also notice the size of the bike lane. It is considerably smaller than that of a car. As a matter of fact, I often see cars riding in these lanes and besides being ignorant it just looks silly. Your car is wider than this lane!!!!
A “shared” lane for both bikes and cars. Notice the double arrows indicating “both” bikes and cars. The lane is as wide as a car lane,too. The other difference between this and the previous mentioned sign is that there is no bike rider on this one. probably because he got knocked off his bike by a rude driver. I kid!
Bike And Bus Only. This one NEVER has made sense to me. Let’s put the biggest piece of machinery in a lane with the smallest and share them! Nonetheless, it is for bikes, buses, and as a road sign indicates, right turns only. I have seen too many times where a car rides in this lanes for several blocks. When it’s not a right turn I make sure to ride in the middle of the lane.
The turn lane. This is where I often get a pit perturbed at bicyclists. Picture the next block where the lines in this bike lane are solid. Why are the broken? Because it’s a turn lane. If you are driving, it’s your queue that you can cross over into the bike lane to make your turn. PLEASE remember your signal, thank you. I get really upset when bike riders yell at cars, “This is a bike lane!” I WILL stop them to educate them next time I witness this.
OK- I see this every morning on my ride in and it’s confusing as hell. It’s a bike lane, however, it’s also a turn lane for cars making a right onto a major highway. Notice the size of the lane, and the broken lines. TWICE on my ride in I have seen an ambulance and a cop putting a bike in the back with the patient. Let’s not turn bicyclists into patients.
I hope I don’t sound like a preachy bike snob. I always yield to pedestrians but yell at them when they are crossing against a light while texting. And no matter what mode of transportation you are using, please put your phone down. If you’re walking I’ll give you a pass, but, please look up every other second, especially at an intersection. If you’re driving, “KNOCK IT OFF!” and same goes for biking. You need both hands. I don’t care how balanced you are.
And, lastly, for those of us biking, use common sense. Just because you have a bike doesn’t give you the right all the time. Let’s remember the first word in “SHARE the Road”. It’s ok to stop, that’s what you have gears for. For less than $20 you can buy a blinking light(s) for both the front and back of your bike. I love to run with music on but biking is not the best for that. People do get killed by cyclists. You are going fast and between your weight and the bike’s you can do more damage than you think.
Last, but not least, you are never too cool to NOT wear a helmet. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE protect your noggin.
Thank You, and ride safe.