Some Headlines

Hit and Run of Cyclist and Child in San Francisco

Motorist Shoots Bicyclist in Asheville, NC

Firefighter charged with shooting cyclist carrying his 3 year old

These stories are being discussed widely in the child-hauling bike community, and daily I stop to think about my routes and how I can best avoid traffic.  Okay, I have to admit that the aggression and carelessness of drivers is scaring me into getting out less.  I have been more hesitant to take a local trip or two, have restructured some play dates to be at our house, and have asked for help from friends and family more often for rides and pick-ups.  I rethink the grocery trips and go only if I absolutely need to, or early in the am alone.  And I’ve prolonged my summer bike camping trip because I’m nervous about facing Blue Ridge Parkway traffic with kids alone.  The risk is high enough when it’s just me riding, yet I certainly feel more able to stand my ground in traffic as a solo rider commuting to work and back.  But when it’s my children in the thick of it, the worries increase.   Frankly, it’s been debilitating. 

But I’m not giving this up.  I have to get over this fear.

I’m happy about many of the changes in my life because of this choice:  health, community, my kids being bike-crazy.  I also have some figuring to do, and sometimes, I will have to weigh whether it would be better to drive in a given situation, like picking a child up at a high traffic destination in 5 0’clock traffic.  Maybe I will be forced to drive a car when safety is an issue.

The need is there for more riders, more education about cycling, driver education classes that incorporate bike sensitivity, and a general public discussion about how to protect the lives of cyclists and how not to irritate drivers into aggression.  I realize that if cyclists are smart, considerate and careful, we can go a long way towards educating people who do not like or understand cyclists.

On a lighter note:

Alabama bans wine with naked nymph on label   Where can I buy a case of this wine? 🙂cycles_cabernet_centralcoast_2004_sized

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ridesolutions on July 31, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Chris,

    I sympathize – I once rode my daughter to church down Franklin and became suddenly terrified; routes that seemed just fine to ride on my own became malevolent while riding with a 4-year-old. Some of that was pure fear, I’m sure, but we quickly found an alternate route – just in case.

    The story of the Asheville firefighter is bizarre and horrible – maybe there’s something else going on that wasn’t reported in the story, but if not I hope that man is put away for a while. Fortunately, he’s not representative of most drivers, and I’ve generally found Roanoke drivers to be generous with the road.

    Keep up the good work, and I’m glad to hear your daughters are growing bike-crazy!

    Reply

  2. Chris, thanks for posting this entry. Not sure what to say really. My own experience of riding as my primary transportation has been one of very very little untoward activity from motor vehicles. Perhaps I am oblivious to it but really I have not encountered hardly any difficulty from drivers in Roanoke. The exceptions I can count on one hand and only one was malevolent and even then only slightly dangerous. Maybe it is different for me as I ride alone and can move about a lot easier than it must be with kids in tow. As u know, the more bicyclists on the road the safer it is for all bicyclists. I hope the upcoming Manif Spaciale event will help motorists to appreciate that by us riding bikes instead of driving cars it is making more room on the roads for their cars!

    Reply

  3. Thank you for sharing, I will continue to ride and be polite and respectfull to car drivers in hope that it makes the streets safer for us all.

    Reply

  4. Just wanted you to know that I feel the same way as I’m about to get into the CAR with my children. Stay brave!

    Reply

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