This past week Josh ran into a car while biking. He was coming down a hill 30+ mph (I told him I was thankful I wasn't with him, he said we wouldn't have been going as fast as he was;)) when a car pulled out in a blind curve and his handle bars ran into the driver's door. His helmet hit the top of the car, he flipped over on his back, slid down the back of the car and landed in a gravel driveway. He suffered from two fractured ribs, a bruised lung, road rash on his left shoulder, cuts and bruising as well as a big gash on his right leg. Luckily, he COMPLETELY blacked out. He doesn't remember putting on his brakes, or coming in contact with the car. All he remembers is lying on his back and he heard a muffled voice say, "I'm so sorry, don't move." I was so humbled when the man who he collided with called the hospital to make sure he was okay.
I am not writing this post out of anger, I want to make people aware of cyclists. He wasn't ran off the rode or ran over, he was simply caught in a curve at the wrong time and place. This accident could have happened to anyone, not matter how cautious you are.
First off, according to North Carolina laws, bicycles are legally defined as vehicles. You can find more information about this here. In all honesty when I read this, I had to re-read it because to me, I do not consider myself to be operating a vehicle when I take my bike for a spin on a NC road. I do it for fitness, not as a way of transportation. It is true that there are people that ride a bike as their main source of transportation and it is important to keep them safe. :)
Now for what you have ALL been waiting for, here is my definition of a "bike snob". To me, a person who is bike snob dislikes people who operate a bike while they are behind the wheel of a vehicle. YES, I
Here are a few tips when you are operating your vehicle and what to do when you come across a cyclist. After all, riding a bike on a road filled with motor vehicles is very different than riding in a park or driveway.
Tip #1: Do NOT honk your horn at a person riding a bike. I cannot tell you how many times I have been honked at and then hear words of profanity yelled out the window. When someone honks at me, my first instinct is that something is wrong or they mean to say "watch out", but in all actuality they are trying to say, GET OFF THE ROAD. Remember, bicycles are defined as a vehicle and have a right to be on the road.
Tip #2: Pass with care. There is nothing more frightening than being blown off the road by a car that I could literally reach my hand out and touch. When passing a cyclist, it is important there isn't a car coming in the other direction and you give the cyclist enough space. A few weeks ago, on a curvy up hill a HUGE truck waited a LONG time to pass me. They wanted to make sure they had enough room to pass with care. Vehicles are allowed to pass a cyclist on a double yellow line. Vehicles MUST give the cyclist at least four feet or it is considered reckless driving.
Tip #3: DO NOT if all possible pull out in front of a cyclist. Yes, I have thought,"I'll pull in front of this guy so I don't get stuck behind him." There is nothing more scary than slamming on your brakes on a bike in fear of hitting a car!
Tips #4: This goes along with #3: Do not pass a cyclist and then slam on your brakes to make a stop. Yes, this has happened to me. We could CLEARLY see a stop sign and then all of a sudden ZOOOOM a huge truck speeds pass to beat us to the stop sign and then slams on their brakes. I had few cuss words to yell at that truck, but refrained because that leads us to... --->> #5
Tip #5: Be kind. Yes kind. I am a firm believer in "kill 'em with kindness". Don't shy away from waving after you pass a cyclist. Even though you might be a bike snob, kindness can go ALONGGG way. :)
I hope this post made you chuckle, open your eyes and made you think about keeping cyclists safe on the road. After all, the cyclist you pass, cuss at, or are kind to is a son, daughter, mother, father, etc., and deserves to have a equal opportunity to fitness and transportation.