Wednesday, February 15, 2012

SHARE THE ROAD!

I've added a few signs to my bike for the next ride. Hope they aren't too over the top?
Still not able to run well, I've taken to the bike for all of my workouts. I had a nice ride yesterday but it didn't take long for my heart rate to go up, but it wasn't from the riding. It was from the drivers who were cutting me up and unfortunately, it happens to us all to often! Yesterday, I actually had my heart skip a beat when a car brushed by me and he was flying. It was scary and he was too close for comfort. I'm sure all you cyclist's out there know what I'm talking about. The guy who speeds up to pass you only to make a right hand turn in front of you seconds later!! Or the granny that doesn't even see you and shouldn't have a driving license to begin with. Or the teenager who's texting and comes inches from taking you out and realizes it last second. I could go on and on about cycling stories/incidents. Like the guy at Beech Mtn (this is where Lance Armstrong trained when recovering from cancer) you'd have thought if any place was a great place to cycle...it was where Lance trained. Not so. I had a man flip me off and scream obscenities when he passed me, then slammed on the brakes to try and kill me I suppose. Then I caught him up at a traffic light where he turned his car into me and actually hit my leg. Of course Rich came up and saw this and went mental. The guy took off, Rich took off and the guy tried ramming his car into Rich. Needless to say Rich left a couple of dings in the jerks shiny Volvo...one from a fist and one from a full Gatorade bottle throw. This guy was insane and could have killed me and Rich. That was probably the worst experience ever. I've even had a car full of boys who sat in behind me for ages and when I realized that they were taking pics of my bum....well, let's just say I shouted a few obscenities at them and they sped off almost taking me out. What's up with the disrespect? What's up with the people who don't realize that they could take our life in an instant??? I'm so tired of it. In my search of bike accident statistics, I actually came across many " I HATE CYCLISTS" websites. What? Why? What is wrong with people??

The most cycle friendly place I've ever been is in the mountains of France!!
Top of Col de la Colombiere in the French Alps
 A couple of years ago when we were cycling in the Alps, the local people were so kind and courteous. I had a nice French couple sit in behind me as I was climbing Col de la Colombiere. With it being a Cat 1 Tour climb...it was a slow go for me for sure. The couple sat behind for ages and when they finally were able to make a pass, the honked and waved and cheered. Not only that...a mile or so ahead, they had stopped and pulled to the side and were waiting to offer me water. They were cheering and clapping as I approached and I felt a Tour rider getting all the attention. It was so cool. They couldn't speak English and I couldn't speak French. When I said "American"...to them they started clapping more and saying "Lance." Was too cute. We didn't understand a word each other said but they were kind and supportive. That's how most are in Europe. Even on England's tight winding roads... drivers are more respectful and aware, at least all of the ones I've cycled on. The US is a bit different and drivers just aren't as friendly to cyclists. We are only a nuisance to many.

I was curious about cycling accident statistics and in my search the latest report that I could find was 2009. Here are a few facts....
  • In 2009, in the US, 631 cyclist were killed on the roads and 51,000 were injured.
  •  1 in 8 of the cyclists with reported injuries has a traumatic brain injury. Two-thirds of bicycle accident deaths are from traumatic brain injuries.
  •  The average age of bicyclists killed in traffic accidents in 2009 was 41. The average age for those injured was 31.
  •  Bicycle rider fatalities occurred more frequently in urban areas (69%), at non-intersection locations (64%), and between 5 and 9 at night (28%)
  •  Bicycle crashes and injuries are under-reported, because the majority of bike accident injuries are not serious enough for emergency room visits.
I think that cyclists should obviously know the rules of the road and be smart about their cycling. I have seen cyclists make errors before that could have caused even a safe driver to hit them. It's not all about the drivers being aware, we cyclists have to be aware to and always look and look again. We have to know what's around us too.

Check out this video and see how you rate in awareness??


  • Please visit People for Bikes and sign the pledge for safe cycling. Over 2500 TT bike riders have signed the pledge, myself included and over 37,000 road bikes. Also, check over the website...it's great! Here are a couple of good websites as well.. 
  • 3 Feet Please, 
I really just want to be able to go out on my bike and not have to worry that a car is going to take me out. Drivers and cyclists...let's all be aware and let's share the road. Thanks.

9 comments:

Laura Wheatley said...

Wow. Maybe that's why I don't ride on motorcycles and will never attempt to sky-dive... cycling is risky enough :(

Maggie said...

Oh my gosh - drivers can be so ridiculous sometimes. LIke slowing down for 10 seconds or giving bikers/runners a little breathing room when you pass is really going to keep them from getting to their final destination.

Glad you and Rich both survived! I've always thought about chucking a water bottle but never had the guts... :)

Stay safe!

Jamie said...

It is amazing how people can so easily dehumanize someone just because they are on a bike. That is something I may never understand.

My best defense has always been standing up on my pedals and staring right at the driver and try to make eye contact. That usually makes it pretty hard for them to ignore me and do something dumb.

But then again, that won't help me at all if some crazy nut job is out for blood...

I wonder if a bigger emphasis on driving with cyclists on the road was a part of drivers ed, if that would change things....

Cher said...

I doubt it would make any difference, people are in such a hurry to get no where. They are the most important people in the world, and they have to race 100 MPH to get to the next red light don't you know, that? When I see cyclists I am so paranoid about hitting them, because I actually realize there is a living, breathing human on that bike with a family. Stay safe!!!

Chloe said...

We have so many problems with a## hole drivers for many reasons here - mostly because of tourists who don't know where they are going and ignorant locals. It's so frustrating when a girl 'rear ends' a cyclist and kills him last year - and gets off free.

Congrats on the water bottle throw :) I've found out that cycling shoes can leave a nice mark on cars ;)

Tonya said...

Maggie...totally agree! Sucks but the water bottle throw will hopefully teach a lesson hehe!

Tonya said...

Jamie...well said and I agree that drivers ed classes should cover more on this!

Tonya said...

CHER...You have a blog now?!? YAY! Anyway, yes, you are right...everyone's always in a hurry and don't think that they could take a life in a second :(

Tonya said...

Chloe..I recently read that FL was pretty rough riding because of the tourists. Stay safe out there girl!