As I began the ride pedaling through my favorite hangout town where I lived as a little girl, I discovered all the traffic lights were out. Drivers typically know how to handle this, by alternating stops according to custom and law. Try this on a bike, however, and the cars sometimes forget the rules also apply to us. I was relieved that I had on my obnoxious neon vest, and they kindly gave me my right-of-way. All through the town, the vehicles and pedestrians patiently navigated this inconvenience without effect. It was just another sleepy Saturday morning in the Village, and I remembered the air of civility was one of the primary reasons why this was my favorite place.
Leaving downtown and heading into the hills, I very carefully crossed the busy expressway and exhaled. I made it. The next part of the ride was a series of winding hills, past the picturesque barn and then down the “S” curve, headed for home. After the gentle drivers in town, I felt like we were all sharing the road this morning—something that doesn’t always happen on a hurried weekday. The streets leading from the barn were frequented by more bikes and dog-walkers than cars, so I confidently accelerated into the turns. Wheeeeeeeeee, just like skiing! I was careful to stay on my side of the road in order to avoid a potential catastrophe.
It turns out not everyone was in the mood to give right-of-way, as a black SUV came whizzing around the turn, crossing over the double yellow line. I praised the guardian angel that had kept me from nearing the line, and gave a big pointer-finger (no, not that finger!) to the couple in the Range Rover to remind them that they could have killed me. I hope my mom doesn’t read this or my biking days are numbered. After trying to reprimand the hurried couple, I thought how polite the drivers had been down in the valley when their stop lights weren’t working, and I considered the accidents that could have occurred if any of them had been so pushy. For all of us—you and me both—let’s remember that the goal is for everyone to reach our destinations in one piece. We’re all in this together.
A nearby town recently launched a transportation safety campaign, distributing hundreds of "Share the Road" bumper stickers and signs. Start one in your community by ordering bumper stickers from www.cafepress.com, or designing your own at www.zazzle.comLooking for a cool service project idea?