Saturday, February 24, 2007

I Don't Like Sharing the Road


Sleek helmet and tights
Twenty-one speed wannabe
Tangled mess and pain

Springtime is upon us, and along with hopes of warmer mornings, budding cherry blossoms and baseball, commuters are also confronted with innumerable coveys of bicyclists crowding the roadways. Ah yes, the skinny people in lycra are back and they are staking claim to the white stripe on the side of the road. They firmly believe that this real estate was bestowed upon them by divine city and state ordinances allowing them to share the highway with the mighty automobile and SUV. “Share the road,” they say.

Well, understand this my boney, determined, Lance wannabe; You’re likely to end up in a drainage ditch with a crumpled Trek and a shattered pelvis. Maybe, just maybe, if you are unlucky enough, you might end up being a hero for some needy patients awaiting kidneys and livers. Hey, hero, everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame and this might just be your day in the sunshine.

Let’s look at some facts (see for complete references from which the below was taken):

How many cyclists die:

Deaths per year. 725, 629, 665, 732, and 693 cyclists died per year in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 2000 respectively, and were about 89% male. (National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration, and Insurance Institute for Highway Saftey)

An average of 16.5 cyclists per million die every year in the U.S. (For motorists, it's 19.9 motorists per million.) (National Safety Council 1988)

Cyclists are 2% of road deaths & injuries. The 761 cyclists killed in 1996 accounted for 2% of traffic fatalities, and the 59,000 cyclists injured made up 2% of all traffic injuries.

Cyclists accounted for 12% of all nonmotorist traffic fatalities in 1996. Pedestrians accounted for 86 percent, and the remaining 2 percent were skateboard riders, roller skaters, etc.

Yep, Lance, you have every right to the road, but don’t think of it as “sharing,” think of it as risk and be prepared the consequences of determination and pride. And as a final note, three out of four motorists never get charged when they knock you and your pals over handlebars and send you flying fifty feet! Crushing, isn’t it?

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