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Vulnerable on the Road Awareness Message from PeopleForBikes.org

In my inbox this morning from PeopleForBikes.org was an interesting public awareness video message – “Vulnerable on the Open Road” – in which “five professional U.S. cyclists reflect on their experiences with bicycle safety.. The riders share their visions for better bicycling conditions and lessons for safer motorist-bicyclist interactions.”

Their advice:
* “Slow down” – this goes for bicyclists and drivers, too
* “Drivers need to understand that cyclists are traffic on the roads”
* “Get more people on bikes so that it’s a normal thing for you(drivers) to pay attention to cyclists on the road”
* “Education”
* “Training or living in a community with really good bike infrastructure with bike lanes, with easy routes in and out of town to be accessible on your bike…. above all it keeps everyone safer – it keeps the motorists moving smoothly and it keeps the bike riders safe; if things are safe and things are easy, we’re going to ride our bikes more, for sure.”
* “I think it’s crazy for people not to ride bikes. Bikes are just amazing things that can transform your life. The benefits of riding your bike definitely outweigh the risks of being out there with cars for me.” (this advice is my personal favorite!)
* “I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that people think that as a cyclist that we don’t drive cars”
* “You have to respect everybody on the open road and if we all work together, we can all enjoy exactly what we’re doing and go along with our lives without interrupting each other.”

Even though these riders are the top 1% of bicyclists, their advice—slow down, be aware, don’t blow through red lights, build more infrastructure, get more people riding—applies to anyone who likes to enjoy the simple pleasure of a bike ride.

Would you add any points to this advice list? I think it applies to all road users… especially the need for RESPECT by all and for all on our roadways.

Have a respectful ride.

5 Comments

  1. Rantwick

    I started that video ready to be pretty cranky about hearing pros expound on street riding… I mean, their experience of cycling is radically different than mine, right? Wrong… I ended up liking that video despite myself.

  2. Kim

    Interesting timing. I’ve been commuting for a few years now, I have no car anymore. This morning, I was hit by a car for the first time ever. I was respecting the traffic and the law of the roads. I was driving slower than I usually do. The car was coming from the other direction, and cut trough the traffic on my lane. It never slowed down, never tried to brake. All I remember was this car coming straight at me to my Left. I was lucky, the car hit my bike just a few inches behind me. The car actually continued on, and stopped in the parking lot. When the driver lowered the window, I asked if she was blind. She asked the same thing back, blaming me for riding on the sidewalk. I was not on the sidewalk, I was on the street. And what type of excuse is it to hit a cyclist because they are riding on the sidewalk? I’m actually still shocked, and don’t know what to make of all this. I’m trying not to think of what would have happened if the car had hit me directly, but watching this video gives me chills. I haven’t looked closely at the damage on my bike. I had to walk it home, only on the front wheel since the rear one is bent like a pretzel.

  3. Ghost Rider

    @Kim — I hope you got a police report, and insurance info, and anything else you can use in your defense. Glad to hear you’re ok, though!

    There’s a hell of a lot of inattention going on in our streets…cellphones and texting, zoning out, etc. Making sorry excuses seems to be part and parcel of today’s motor-vehicle-operating experience!

  4. Hermes

    Stuff like this just makes me want to ride on bike paths only.

  5. Nebraska Winters

    I was almost hit coming home from work. Day light, clear skies. Two-way side street, hardly any traffic, wide lanes on either side. Steep hill, slow climb. I was off to the far right of the lane. Totally out of the way.

    As I approached the t-intersection an elderly man came driving around the corner looking at birds flying over. As he rounded the turn he came completely into the wrong lane, far enough so to almost hit me. I think the high visibility vest I wear caught his attention at the last second.

    He jerked the car back into the proper lane and gave an apologetic look. Had I been another car that would have been a head on collision. I’m new to commuting and safety is always on my mind. Lights, vest, positioning, listening to experienced voices, etc.

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