Thursday, May 30, 2013

Cycling Citizen

I posted the following message on a radio station message board when they posed the question "Should cyclists be on the road?"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I am a Madisonville resident and I commute by bike almost daily to my job in Downtown. I commute over 2,000 miles a year.
First, I want to say thank you to all my fellow road users. We all share the road. We all do our best to drive and ride safely and sometimes there are others, drivers and cyclists who are not cautious as we are.
Is it fair to take the rights away from all just because a few do not exercise caution?

I adhere to all the same traffic laws as a car. Most of the roads I ride on are two lane streets—I hope that in doing so it is easier for a car to change lanes to pass. I really make sure I signal using my hands and arms, and I often thank drivers with a wave. I do not take my fellow citizens on the road for granted, and I really ride safely because I do not want to endanger others or myself.
My commute also features many urban neighborhoods. I often average speeds of 15-25mph on flats and sometimes 35-45 downhills. I would worry that if I were forced to ride the sidewalk that I would endanger pedestrians, the mothers pushing carriages with their children that I often see along my route.
Also, I am a home-owner. I do own one car (although I let my wife use it). I have a job, insurance, pay my taxes. These contributions should add up to pay mare fair share as well of road costs.
I also hope my cycling can benefit you and society as well. Less demand on gasoline and health-care (I am fortunate to have lost over 60 lbs since I took up cycling and I have been going to the doctor less) will hopefully reduce the cost for everyone.
Once again I want to say thank you for sharing the road. I wanted to share my story and point of view. I am grateful to cycling for changing my life and health—and I am grateful that I can commute and be in the sunshine and enjoy our beautiful home town.
In closing I wanted to invite you to ask yourself how could you get around if you suddenly lost your car? Having a full array of transportation options benefits all of society. I am grateful to have a car but there are many who cannot afford this. I am happy to have the Metro as a convenient second choice. I feel that as the Greater Cincinnati area grows we need to ensure that there are options for everyone—sidewalks, buses, etc. so we are not tied to one specific form a transportation.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Unfortunately for commuters the bike trail (at the moment) does not network in every possible destination. In Cincinnati I am excited about the Wasson Way and Ohio River Trail which will provide this as an option.

At the moment cyclist are legally entitled to ride on the road. This 3 foot law just adds in a bit of safety for people. There are 1% of motorists who are not completely respectful and are rather dangerous. This law will help educate the public about safety (kind of like Buckle Up), prosecute the very few who are dangerous and will hopefully make the road safer for all of us.

- - - - - - - - - - -
True it is frustrating when all road users do not follow the law.

This is above the spandex nation. It is for the right of your neighbor's 16 year old without a license to get to work safely. It is for the impoverished that cannot afford a car to be able to get around safely. Currently is is legal for bikes to be on the road, the 3 foot law would just require extra safety, I feel it will act as an awareness campaign similar to "Buckle Up" and only be enforced against those who are truly negligent.

As Steve the bike lawyer wrote: "it is the right of every Ohioan to choose a vehicle to use on virtually all Ohio roads - be it motorcycle, car, truck bus, Amish buggy or bicycle."

- - - - - - - - - - -
I mentioned in another comment that I am a commuter who travels from the Suburbs of Cincinnati to Downtown for work. I do follow the laws because it keeps me and other drivers safe. At the moment there is not an option for me to get to my destination on a bike path. I would love such a route—sometimes rush hour is very stressful. Most people are nice and I ride in a way that is predictable (signaling, riding in a straight line, following traffic laws). But then there would be other days where I would require a more direct road route to get to my destination quicker—and I wouldn't want that bike path to make my ability to use the roads I help pay for and use a less "legitimate" option.

- - - - - - - - - - -
Trying to be a positive face for our sport and form of transportation.


  1. For future reference, evidently drivers don't pay enough for roads.