From the Presidentby Earl Jones
I've written before in this space about the importance of working together to protect our rights to the road. That's why we've put so much effort into our advocacy program over the last 5 years. All of us have to become bicycling advocates. You can do it by working with Cheryl Brawner and the Advocacy Committee on one of the many opportunities we have to participate in local planning activities, e.g. the Ohio Bridges projects, the Route 22 study, the Waterfront Park Big Four bike and pedestrian bridge, signage for Louisville bicycle routes, etc. And I'm sure you do it when you talk to friends and neighbors.
But are you an advocate when you bike?
Two LBC members in separate conversations related to me incidents involving LBC riders in July that, had they not been members of the club, would have made them anti-bicyclist.
The first incident involved a group riding in Anchorage on their way back to Tom Sawyer Park, the ride start location. This wasn't a case of riders insisting on their right to ride two abreast, they mobbed the road and were riding 3, 4 and more abreast. The driver recognized several of the riders as ride captains.
The second incident took place on Brush Run Road, also a narrow road. This group continued in a pack for almost a mile making it impossible to pass. As the driver got madder and madder, she couldn't help wondering what a non-cyclist would be thinking under similar circumstances.
I think we can all answer that question. Too many of us have been intimidated by aggressive drivers. And each time it's happened I'll bet you thought, like I have, "What's that a-sh-l-'s problem?" I'm not justifying driver road rage, but maybe it was one your fellow clubmembers. ("We've met the enemy and it's us." - Pogo once said.) I know that as a group we don't intend to antagonize drivers. I just think that we don't focus. Maybe we're too concerned about being dropped if me move into a single file. Or maybe the other riders don't give us room to move over. Whatever the reason, we need to start being more aware of the impact we have on drivers. Especially on the narrow country roads we enjoy, which intimidate drivers seeking to pass cyclists.
It's not hard. But it does require that we pay attention. You never know who'll be watching.
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web posted: 9 September 2001
last updated: 10 September 2001