As I rode down Broad Street in Augusta recently to have lunch downtown with some friends, I couldn’t help but notice something – the long-bed trucks parked in the parking spaces were sticking way out in the street, causing cars to have to drive slowly and cautiously around them.
This brings to mind reader comments both in The Augusta Chronicle
and the Aiken Standard voicing opinions that roads were not made for bicycles, and if one got on the road on a bicycle, that person was asking for trouble.
Well, the streets in our cities were not originally designed for the long-bed trucks and SUVs either, but do we stop driving those vehicles? I think not. In fact, they have become a norm for our society. We have accepted them and will make whatever adjustments need to be made to accommodate them. It doesn’t matter whether they are being used for work or pleasure; we love them. I drive an SUV myself.
That brings me to the point of this letter. We have bicycles on our roads. For the most part bicyclists are fine, upstanding citizens. They work, they pay taxes and are productive. Many of these bicyclists are training to enter planned race events, just as the rowers train on our beautiful river and ponds for their events. Do we, when we’re out on the river, gripe and complain that they are in our way as we may be boating? No, we’re proud of them.
The recent accidents that have occurred between bicyclists and vehicles are so heartbreaking. It’s as if motorists have the idea that the road belongs to them exclusively. It is not to be shared.
On my way home the other day, I came up behind a bicyclist who was pedaling uphill on the road I happened to be on. I slowed down to be courteous to the young man, when all of a sudden a vehicle came flying up behind me and, without thinking, passed me in a no-passing zone. Coming toward us was another bicyclist, who quickly veered off the road to keep from being hit.
Was this necessary? Of course not. Was this person who passed me in that big of a hurry, or was it in anger at the bicyclist slowing him/her down that caused this foolish act? I think it was the latter.
Have we become so narrow-minded, and so stuck in our old ways, that we cannot accept anything new and different? Can we not accept the sport of cycling? Or if it’s not football, baseball or golf, it can’t possibly be good?
Yes, both motorists and bicyclists need to be more careful and alert to the dangers of traveling on a busy road. We all need to be more alert, stay off the cell phones, stop the texting while driving and basically practice being more courteous to one another. You might just save a life.
That Golden Rule we all learned as children – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – should apply today.