It's that time of year again.
Sunny skies. Warmer temperatures. Longer days. Leaves on trees. Singing birds. And swarms of pesky, annoying, unavoidable... bicyclists.
It's only a matter of time - 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - before a perturbed columnist has had enough of being inconvenienced by these slow-moving scofflaws and takes to his soap box to cry out "no fair!" Just like that, the "war on cars" experiences a resurgence, foot soldiers fall in line, and hatred rolls out into the streets.
But it doesn't have to be like this.
Being asked to share the road isn't an infringement on anyone's constitutional or god-given rights. Slowing down and giving three feet of clearance when safely passing a cyclist isn't an inconvenience of the same magnitude as submitting to a background check, removing your shoes at the airport, or providing your ID when you buy a bottle of Nyquil. It's simply a law that protects the safety of others on the roadway (pretty much the rationale behind most motor vehicle laws).
Stop and think about that for a moment. Other. People's. Safety.
We are not just motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians. We are fellow human beings that happen to be moving along in cars and trucks, on motorcycles and bicycles, or on foot. We're each somebody's son or daughter. A friend. A father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, or cousin. We're not the conveyances we operate - we're people.
To help get this message across, Volkswagen and People for Bikes have produced a very simple, yet powerful PSA to remind us all of our common humanity (above or on YouTube). Replete with all the stereotypes that fuel these exaggerated stand-offs, it's worth a minute of everyone's time to watch. Give it a view and sign the pledge. Let's Roll Together.
May is National Bike Month.
Bikes will be everywhere this month as advocates push to create greater visibility for bicycling, bicyclists, and active transportation issues. Consider taking the National Bike Challenge and participating in a Bike Month event to show your support.
One of the best Bike Month events to remind us that we are all people sharing public space is The Ride of Silence. It is a somber event taking place at locations worldwide on Wednesday, May 15th. In one silent procession, it both honors those killed while bicycling and reminds road users to exercise caution while sharing the road with bicyclists. It is a powerful event that every cyclist should experience.
Here's hoping to a Bike Month free of animosity, aggression, and accident.
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Keep riding and be safe!