Ryan Horn: Don’t ride your bike in the roadPublished 10:03am Thursday, October 11, 2012
One of the scariest moments in my life as a child was when my parents caught me riding my bike in the road. Their reaction scared the daylights out of me.
Needless to say, I was relegated to the sidewalk the remainder of my childhood. As the popularity of cycling has sky rocketed the last 10 years, the danger of riding your bike in the road has remained ever present.
Solutions to safety issues have been mild and perplexing at best. In some instances, cyclists have been given their own lanes on roadways and ‘’cutsies’’ at stoplights and stop signs. Their presence makes motorists nervous and tense. With cars, trucks, semis and the occasional tractor already sharing the roadway, the space for safely riding a bike, simply doesn’t exist. The difference in size and speed amongst automobiles and cyclists is evident; it’s lethal.
I hear the plight of cyclists. They’re conscientious citizens, practicing environmental awareness and healthy, physical exercise. To be candid, I envy the ‘inner-drive’ pushing them as they pedal the hilly country roads (especially during a Michigan autumn). In the city, cyclists aren’t bothered with ridiculous parking rates and demoralizing traffic. The economic benefits of riding your bike to and from work as well as leisure activities would be noticeable instantly, I presume. Cycling culture has a lot to offer and I embrace it, sort of.
A more comprehensive set of solutions needs to address safety issues for both parties. Cyclists shouldn’t be ushered into the roadway and motorists shouldn’t have the added distraction of near-invisible cyclists weaving in and out of traffic — at much slower speeds.
Let’s acknowledge and discuss the clear benefits and dangers of cycling. It seems as a society we have addressed this issue halfheartedly.
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