Practically our whole lives we have had bicycles in the garage and enjoyed tooling around the various communities we have lived in. As the years have passed, that form of recreation has decreased and eventually disappeared, but we enjoy seeing other families enjoying this pursuit of exercise and fresh air.
With the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, and people isolating themselves at home to avoid contact with someone who might have the virus, more and more people are walking and biking as families or solo just to evacuate the house for an hour or so. But, with the increase in this type of activity, we have witnessed an almost total lack of awareness on the part of these residents of cars and trucks being on the same street.
We are the first to advocate for having our streets open to walkers, when there isn’t a sidewalk and bikers but we all need to adopt some rules of etiquette in using our streets in tandem with others.
To provide a vivid example of the dangers if people don’t develop this awareness, we were driving on a back street the other day, and after stopping at a stop sign, we turned right onto another street. While doing so, two bikers rode up alongside our car on the right side and tried turning onto the same street in the direction we were going. They were not visible to us because they were out of the range of our side-view mirrors and, but for the grace of God, we would have run them over had we turned one foot closer to the corner.
If you are walking or bike riding, be aware of cars and trucks in front and behind you. Don’t assume they will see you and automatically adjust their route to your actions. If you are walking a dog, keep it on a short leash. If you don’t, it might jump in front of a vehicle when it spots another dog, or squirrel, on the opposite side of the street. If you have kids with you on foot or in carts, keep them close to you and frequently monitor the activity on the street both in front and behind you. Then there are those people on cell phones or listening to music who seem oblivious to the fact that they are on a public street with cars and trucks that can do them great harm. It is not unusual for many or all these categories of people to wander into the center of the street to greet someone on the other side or because they think they are indestructible.
Please help the driving public avoid a terrible disaster by following these simple rules. And, at the same time we would ask drivers to stop at stop signs, not roll through them, use their turn signals, and avoid texting while driving especially when there are bikers and walkers on the street.
Enough of our citizens are dying from the “invisible enemy;” let’s not increase that number because we fail to make ourselves aware of the dangers around us in our everyday lives.