I don’t think I’ve gotten this far off topic before, but I’m short of things to talk about and there’s something that’s been on my mind.
Earlier this week, five cyclists were killed and four seriously injured when a pickup truck plowed into their Tuesday night riding group (CNN Article). There hasn’t been confirmation on what caused him to do it (road rage, alcohol, drugs, etc.) but the fact remains that this group was riding on the shoulder of the road and obeying the laws. As a road cyclist, this affected me.
The event took place in Kalamazoo, MI, my home state. I live on the east side of the state and Kalamazoo is on the western side, about 2.5 hours away by car. This past weekend, my husband and I traveled to Holland, MI for a charity bike ride. We spent Saturday and Sunday with 350 fellow cyclists raising money for MS research. As I’m sure the Kalamazoo cyclists were, we obeyed the traffic laws and were careful at intersections, conscientious of passing cars and sure to use hand signals. I was honked at, yelled at, and some fellow riders had curses hurled at them. I watched a near collision and was involved in one myself.
No matter where you live, please be aware of cyclists. It is legal for us to ride on roads (at least it is in the States) so please give us the same rights you would a slow car. Pass with care and give a wide margin whenever possible. If you’re going to wave us through an intersection, do it visibly and know we might be ensuring other cars have the same generosity. Don’t honk and scare us. Know that many cyclists can’t stop quickly because our feet are clipped in.
Cycling is a wonderful sport that makes me push my comfort zone and lets me see the beauty of my home state and area. I’m not trying to ruin your day. Please don’t ruin mine.
If you’re interested in the charity ride I did, you can click over to my page here. It was a great experience and I’m already signed up for next year.
Until next time, write on.