The Online Voice of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sharing the road

Sharing—it seems like such a simple concept. By the time we were three, most of us had figured out that mom thought it was a good thing if we let our friends play with our toys. By the time we were eight, most of us had a decent handle on what sharing was all about. And as adults, most of us wouldn’t dream of keeping our possessions, our time or our talents all to ourselves.

So why is it that so many people have such trouble sharing the road? Why do people who wouldn’t dream of refusing to lend their neighbor a cup of sugar act like maniacs on the highway? There are many causes: frustration, impatience, inattention, intoxication, ignorance, and anger among others. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that operating a vehicle brings out the reptile brain in too many people.

As if we needed another reminder of the consequences, there’s the recent case of Dr. Michael Fadich in Wenatchee, struck and seriously injured by a pickup truck that illegally turned left in front of his bicycle, then left the scene.

Tracy Warner, the Wenatchee World’s editorial page editor, and a cyclist himself, used the occasion as an opportunity to educate drivers about cyclists’ legal rights, and remind cyclists that they, too need to obey the law. Warner’s column is a good primer on the rules of the road, and worth sharing with your non-bicycling friends.

At the same time, the state Department of Licensing, in conjunction with the Bicycle Alliance, is doing more to educate both drivers and cyclists about sharing the road and how to avoid collisions. This includes “Share the Road” brochures for both drivers and cyclists. The brochures are available on the Bike Alliance website.

The brochures, appropriately enough, were financed in part by revenue from the “Share the Road” license plates, the best car accessory you can buy. They’re way cooler than fuzzy dice, way cheaper than a new sound system, and help benefit the cause of safe cycling.

1 comment:

  1. As a Bicycle Alliance employee, I often times get asked a lot of questions about everything and anything to do with bicycling. I recently engaged in a lengthy conversation with someone that had just started bicycling on the bike trails. The woman was amazed at the amount of bike traffic she encountered. She was also surprised with the rude attitudes of many bicyclists. Instead of a willingness to accommodate one another , each biker acted like they “owned the road”. After my elevator speech about what the Bicycle Alliance is doing and how we advocate for a “bicycle-friendly Washington,” my new bicycle friend said “you should get the word out that people need to share the road.”