Are we really “sharing the road?”

By Jake McMeans |Copy Editor|

As global warming is gaining more and more prevalence in today’s society, many people are rethinking the way they complete daily activities in order to combat global warming’s effects.

Concerned citizens are beginning to take action, and many are turning to bicycles for transportation.

Bicycling has numerous effects on a person’s personal health, and the health of the environment, not to mention all the money saved on gas.

Not only is cycling a great way to stay active, it is also the most efficient self-powered machine, and by not driving a vehicle everyday, cyclists are effectively helping to create a more “green” environment.

Over the past few years, cycling has gained much popularity in many cities around the world, and many big cities are repaving streets to include bike lanes, and putting in more visible street signs for cyclists.

It seems however, that motorists and cyclists seem to have an ongoing battle, and are having difficulty “sharing the road.”

As a native of Redlands, which has seen a resurgence in bike culture over the past decade, I experience first and secondhand the woes and perils of a cyclist.

Riding on the streets, I have had close calls with vehicles, and altogether too many hostile interactions with motorists, who, often times, seem to have very little patience and respect for cyclists on the road.

I believe that the fast-paced way of life in Southern California is contributing to the hostility of motorists, as they are in such a hurry to get where they’re going; while driving my car, I have seen many impatient drivers cut off cyclists, and not even bat an eye.

The number of cycling-related deaths is on the rise; cyclist and blogger Ted Rogers, who runs the site states, “The city of Los Angeles had been averaging four to five bicycle deaths per year. Last year, it was 18.”

This is obviously becoming a bigger in issue in more recent years, and motorists and cyclists should use much more caution when on the road.

This is not clear-cut issue, and I do not believe that motorists should take all the blame; there are a number of overzealous cyclists who seem to overstep their boundaries on the road.

I do believe that it is a give and take, and that motorists and cyclists should both take necessary precautions on the road to stay safe.

Cyclists should wear a helmet at all times, wear bright clothing if riding at night, have lights on their bike, and stay within the confines of the bike lane.

Motorists should slow down, turn down the music, and when they see a bike lane, be more aware that they could be seeing a cyclist, and take the necessary measures.

The popular motto among cyclists is to “share the road,” and there should be a mutual respect from everyone; from previous experience certain hand gestures might not be the most effective way of dealing with other people on the road.

Cities are becoming more bike-friendly all the time, and I encourage people to jump on the bike, for their health and improving the environment, but the bottom line is that awareness is critical, and motorists and cyclists alike should keep this in mind.

Stay safe out there!



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