A Plea to Drivers—Let Us Live

Happy to report that I’m running, cycling, and swimming mostly pain free. Some low level tendonitis, but nothing ice can’t remedy.

I’m hiking from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South, on May 23rd. Twenty-four miles in a leisurely 12 hours, assuming a rattle snake doesn’t get me. Then, to the top of Mount Humphrey, the highest peak in AZ, the next day.

A five day cycling camp in and around Bend, Oregon the first week of June.

In late June/mid July, I’m considering entering a shortish local triathlon and/or a nearby half iron.

And thanks to lottery success this year, on July 31st, the always epic Ride Around Mount Rainier in One Day. Here’s another RAMROD write-up. And here’s more course info.

Runners and cyclists have an obligation to follow the rules of the road and run and cycle defensively. Among other things, that means wearing bright colored clothes; using flashing lights early and late in the day; and following the rules of the road, including stopping for stop signs and red lights whenever anyone is within view; and always running behind any car with tinted windows.

Drivers also have an obligation to follow the rules of the road including stopping at stop signs, looking both ways before pulling onto a roadway, adhering to the speed limit, and respecting bike lanes.

I’ve had a scary number of close calls this spring. I don’t know why, but lots of drivers in my community are in a BIG hurry. That means they routinely brake 10-15 feet beyond white stop sign lines. Which can mean broken bones if not worse. Then, the same hurried drivers glance one way and quickly speed away.

Another common occurrence is what I think the police should write up as an “out of sight, out of mind fuck up.” This is when you, the driver, pass me, the faster than you realize cyclist, and immediately forget I’m right behind you in the bike lane. Then, you suddenly turn right, right in front of me. Recently, I locked my brakes up, swerved, and somehow managed to avoid contact with you.

Even worse, recently, a guy buzzed our bike team by passing closely by us at about 65mph and then immediately swerving into the bike lane. Then yesterday, Mark and I were riding side-by-side in a bike lane when a hulking SUV edged towards the line and gunned it. The message, “I could kill you, if I wanted.” As happens on occasion, we caught the offending SUV at a red light 200 meters later. The driver immediately looked down at her cell phone to avoid eye contact with us. Like driving a drone, she didn’t want to see the individual people on the bicycles.

I imagined her chuckling with her husband about her feat at dinner. If her window was down, and I had a chance to collect myself, I would’ve said to her what I want to say to you:

You’ve got about three tons on us, so if you want, you can easily kill us. But we have wives, children, and sometime soon, grandchildren. They would be sad. So please share the road peacefully and let us live. Thank you.


5 thoughts on “A Plea to Drivers—Let Us Live

  1. I started biking since I “retired” in 2009. Not in competitions but just as a means to exercise and run errands short distances within 3-4 miles. I stay on walkways were I can when I am on a main thoroughfare but not all thoroughfares have such walkways so when I am on a major artery I know I am putting my life in the hands of people who commonly text as they drive, at high speeds.

  2. I have biked 12 miles round trip every day to work this year. I only had one encounter when someone yelled something incomprehensible at me. (So as to return the favor I responded in German) I follow all rules and generally use a bike lane or shoulder, but merge with traffic at intersections. It only takes 5 more minutes to get to work by bike than by car, but I arrive much more awake. It would be nice if we could develop a culture where people see bikes as a way to get normal things done instead of either as toys or just recreational vehicles.

    • Good for you! Win, win, win. . . you’re healthier, you reduce your expenses, and you’re more awake and productive. Apart from the Pioneer bridge, you have really nice, wide shoulders the whole way.

  3. Wow – that is an impressive list of activities you have planned for the summer!

    And I am impressed with the thoughts you would have shared with that SUV lady, I think my words would not have been quite as calm and collected as yours.

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