Sunday, May 24, 2009

Please Don't Kill Me


I signed up for a trio of triathlons this year (with a fourth in Connecticut possible depending on what funds look like at the end of the summer.) My big race this year is going to be the Cleveland Triathlon again. I liked the race last year. It’s fun being downtown with so many folks, over a thousand participants are expected. I’m also running the Fairport Tri – it’s close to home and affordable and then I’ll be doing the Lorain Tri where I placed second in my division last year (my division being that of Clydesdale – competitors weighing over 200 pounds.)

All the running I did in order to run the Cleveland Half Marathon has laid a pretty good base endurance-wise now I need to get my bicycle legs and swim back up to speed. Frankie and I chopped down a tree for my parent’s yesterday and on the way home we passed a half dozen or so cyclist. The number of people on bikes on the side of the road seems to be increasing each year. I’m sure some of this phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that I ride and am more aware of others out there on two wheels – but I’d be willing to bet that the number of folks out there pounding pedals has increased.

So people – please remember to share the road. By law that spandex wearing cyclist has every bit of right to be on the road as those behind their two tons of glass and steel. In fact it is illegal for a cyclist to ride o the sidewalk in most instances. A little common sense comes into play here – when on my townie bike going to the grocery or something I will take to the sidewalk since I am going to be travelling under ten miles an hour for the most part and can make adjustments for pedestrians – on the other hand if I am on my racer pushing twenty five mph – I would be a menace to walkers.

Like any subset of humanity there are idiot cyclists out there but for the most part we have a vested interest in staying alive. To whit I would like to offer a few tips to drivers out there. Firstly, relax. The extra fifteen to thirty seconds your trip will take you to safely pass the guy or gal on the bicycle up there is not going to alter the trajectory of your life a whole hell of a lot. As soon as it is safe to do so pass safely and quickly – prolonging your time behind the rider only prolongs the time that something could go wrong.

Let’s see - you don’t need to beep your horn – we know you’re back there, shouting out your window trying to scare a rider is just stupid – especially when I just might be catching up to you at the next light – fair warning I WILL squirt you with my water bottle. . Oh, this is important, watch your right hand turns – that cyclist you just passed didn’t disappear into the ether because you overtook them – they’re still back there moving forward. I’ve been run off the road a half dozen times in the last three years by people making right hand turns. Every time, I was in a designated bike lane.

So that’s it – keep your eyes open. Even if you raise your awareness to bicyclist by five percent it’ll make a difference ‘cause any of us out there two wheeling it with any sense are spending one hundred percent of our time watching out for you.


heckrazer said...

It would really help also if all the bikers would ride on the right side of the road.

michael salinger said...

You're absolutely right.

Crash statistics show that wrong way riding has about 3½ times the risk as riding on the right.

BUT - there are times when the right side of the road is in such poor condition that a cyclist must ride a bit further into the lane (still on the right side - just not hugging the white line) and this is accounted for in the traffic stature.

Ohio Revised Code: 4511.55.
"This section does not require a person operating a bicycle to ride at the edge of the roadway when it is unreasonable or unsafe to do so. Conditions that may require riding away from the edge of the roadway include when necessary to avoid fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, surface hazards, or if it otherwise is unsafe or impracticable to do so, including if the lane is too narrow for the bicycle and an overtaking vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane."

Diane Vogel Ferri said...

I'll try to be more patient - but when a cyclist holds up traffic with a long line of cars trying to get to work - it's tough.

PS -can you put my blog on the blogroll on Clevelandpoetics?