A Short Story about Daily Bike Dilemmas
One morning I was sitting in my local little town of Davidson, NC. This is a small college town known for Davidson College and also one of the most friendly bicycle towns in the area of Charlotte, NC. Their welcome signs on all ends of the town state they are a “bicycle and pedestrian friendly town.”
As I’m sitting, drinking my latte and putting together my farmer’s market list, I see a great amount of cyclist stringing through town practicing for the big sprint triathlon that happens the end of August at the local YMCA. The cyclist have just finished a open water group swim and now riding the bike course for the sprint triathlon.
Here is the issue, this post-swim bike ride is not organized and often has 200 or so cyclist. There are elite level triathletes down to the most beginner bicyclist within the group. The ride goes through downtown Davidson with heavy car and pedestrian traffic. The cyclist do not know how to behave within a group of cyclist, let alone with cars and people walking around.
A month ago, during one of these exact times, a group ride after a large open water swim at the local YMCA, an entry level cyclist was cut off by a car pulling into a parking spot. The cyclist grabbed her brakes, flipping over her handlebars and hitting her head very hard on one of the parked cars bumpers.
I counted 45 cyclist at one point “strung out” down the main street of Davidson, NC. It took these cyclist 18 minutes to get through the town as they weren’t in a well organized pack, instead they were parted out into groups of 2-5 people with a few bike lengths in between. The groups were running two stop lights, cutting off cars and other cyclist!
Where Have We Gone Wrong?
When you purchase a car, they check your license to make sure you not only can operate the vehicle but can operate the vehicle on roads with other vehicles.
When you purchase a bicycle the store may ask if you’ve ridden a bike lately, or own a helmet. They don’t ask if you know the rules of the road, know how to ride in a group, or on a trail.
Is a Bicycle License the Answer?
There are many people across the world that are against bicycle license and all the rules it brings with them. Personally, I don’t have the exact answer to present you to help add some guidelines and rules to prevent what I saw this morning. I know there are things that need to be done, we need to educate and add safety to riding bikes. Everyone involved: cyclist, automobile drivers and pedestrians, need to become aligned instead of against each other.
One Last Quote
A quote I heard of a pedestrian after attempting to cross the road during the 45 cyclist strung out down the road.
“The only thing scarier than a kid on a bike: An adult.”