May 21 update: The posting is anonymous, but a person identifying herself as the mother of the injured biker commented on this post on May 20. If you read this post, please also read her comment.
As longtime readers of this blog may know, CR Biker has had a few close calls.
Once, I slipped on ice and banged up my knee. Several times, rude drivers have cut me off or ignored the presence of a bicycle—indeed, crossing Blair’s Ferry and C Avenue is always the most “invigorating” part of my daily commute because it’s a roll of the dice whether right-turning car and truck drivers will notice or care about a “walk” sign and a biker in the crosswalk.
And once, at night, a pair of teens actually seemed intent on trying to do me harm.
So, I’m a bit defensive about bikers and car drivers. And I was ready to take umbrage when I opened my paper this morning and there was a column with the headline: “Bicyclists, please put safety first.”
Then, I read the column. And my umbrage melted away. I don’t know Nick Gearhart (great name for a biker, by the way), but he’s right. In the column, he describes a scary accident where three bikers ignore a traffic signal and one of them is hit. We’ve all seen them, fast bikers who don’t seem to care if there is traffic or traffic controls or lights.
Somehow, it does not surprise me that the trio of bikers he saw ignoring a traffic light existed as a trio. Like teens in cars, groups of bikers don’t always behave better than a lone biker would.
This is bike to work week. I’ve noticed a few more bikes on the streets and sidewalks, although we two-wheelers are still far from a crowd in Cedar Rapids. I’ve been riding to work every day—not exactly a surprise since I commute by bicycle all year long, stopped only by rain, snow and ice on the road. This has been a good commuting week.
And Nick and his wagging finger? Frankly, I can’t find anything to disagree with in what he wrote. He’s right. CR Biker agrees—while it’s more important for car drivers to be respectful of bikers, on the theory that they can do more damage, it’s also important for bikers to recognize and follow basic rules of road civility, traffic laws and common sense. “Share the road” goes both ways.
Nick finishes his column in the Gazette this way: “Let’s all put safety first.” To which CR Biker can only reply, “hear, hear.”