When we leave our house on family rides, we have to ride on secondary roads to access greenways and other neighborhood roads. I'm talking short stints, as in less than 200 meters, less than a minute in terms of time. These roads are lightly traveled during all hours other than "rush hour" during the work week. We are always conscientious of motorists and wait for any vehicles within sight to pass before we hop out to make the short connector rides.
This afternoon, my wife and I were doing the same thing we've done many times before and rode the 150 meters of secondary road to get into the back entrance of Maryville College where we can enjoy the solitude of the campus and connect to the city and greenways. Most people we do encounter are very respectful and cautious as we shepherd our girls to safety. Today with no cars in sight, we get out on the road, stop at the intersection about 50 meters from the last neighborhood road, and take the right hand turn where we have another 100 meters or so to get to the college entrance. No vehicles in sight when we make the turn and after we're a progressed a little ways after our turn. a truck and a loud motorcycle hit the intersection we just passed through. The truck moves on in the opposite direction from us. The motorcycle driver then proceeds to yell that we need to be on bicycle lanes where it's much safer, and let's just say it was not in suggestive tone, rather a condescending one. I bit my tongue, despite some reflexive responses that came to mind, as that's not the example that I want to set for my kids nor what I'd like other motorists to think of cyclists. The motorcycle then rumbles off in the opposite direction. We complete the short ride to the entrance, turning before we encounter any actual traffic.
I don't know about you, but I want to set an example both when I'm a pedestrian and a when I am in a automobile. I try to obey the traffic laws and be considerate of others in both situations. I also try to think like a pedestrian whenever I'm out, even if I happen to be in a vehicle. See someone at a pedestrian crosswalk...STOP and let them cross. If you're driving in a parking lot and it's raining, be mindful of those walking to/from the store and give them the right of way so they can get out of the weather safely. It's simply being courteous and giving the right of way to those on foot, bike or other human powered transportation. Common courtesy seems to be becoming less and less common. Let's change that and bring it back into focus! Thinking like a pedestrian is a good start.
Rider or is it writer?
My name is Adam Harris. I'm a lifelong cyclist. I love bikes. All types of bikes. I hope I can relay the joy that cycling provides me through glimpses into my thoughts and some of my mini adventures.