Louisville Bicycle Club
November-December 2007 Newsletter

Moving Toward Bicycle-Friendly

by , VP Advocacy


The first time I had a chance to read my e-mail after being in a vacation-imposed communication state of limbo, I was disheartened to read about one of our members, a cyclist on a club ride, being struck on River Road by a hit-and-run driver. I thank God that the resulting injuries seem to be minor in nature. I sincerely hope that the driver of the Hummer is caught and made to fully account and take responsibility for his or her actions.

I was attending a family reunion in Southern Indiana the day I returned from vacation. At its conclusion, I needed to go to an LBC Executive Committee meeting and I chose to cross the river via the Clark (2nd Street) Bridge. I was again disheartened when I saw that the on-road sharrow marking closest to the spot Chip Cronen was hit and killed, had been disfigured with multiple tire marks. These marks could only have been done purposely, caused by a driver repeatedly “peeling out” while on the sharrow marking. To me this wanton act seemed to be making a statement that there are drivers out there that still are hell bent on making certain that we do not accomplish our bicycle-friendly objectives.

This morning, I read an e-mail note on the LBC “listserv” (KyCycList mailing list) that I believe does an especially good job of summarizing my feelings. It was written by a fellow named Reece Bookout. I have never met the gentleman, but I feel strongly enough about what he said to repeat it here:

“I am sorry to hear that you were hit, but elated to know that it was not a serious or fatal injury. I frequently drive a large truck doing deliveries throughout Louisville, and every day I see other drivers who simply are not paying attention. It is ironic, but I have faced a similar problem both in my truck and on my bike, people simply do not pay attention! When drivers turn abruptly in front of my truck without wasting time for turn signals or make an erratic maneuver while talking on the cell phone or applying makeup, I find myself yelling to the windshield, “Don’t you realize I could have killed you if I hadn’t been looking?” Of course on the bike the opposite applies, “Don’t you realize you could have killed me?!!!”

As a professional driver I love to see bikers out on the streets (they make me jealous) and I try to slow down, give room and avoid accelerating too quickly after passing to reduce the cloud of diesel smoke I fog the rider with.

All this is to say that people do not always pay attention and I agree with you that safety is not as much about our legal rights as it is being proactive to make sure others know where we are at all times. As a father of teenagers, I also am trying to come to grips with the simple fact that not everyone with a driver’s license is a good driver — a subject for another rant. Defensive driving whether in a truck, car, or preferably a bicycle often requires us to swallow our pride and do the safest thing even when we have the legitimate right of way.

Glad you lived to ride another day!”

I would like to plead with the bicycle riding members and non-members to heed his words. We will only convert drivers, like the one in the Hummer on River Road and the demented individual that felt it necessary to desecrate the sharrows on the bridge, by going that extra mile to push defensive driving and opt for the safest option.

We’ll continue to do our part with our elected officials and police contacts. Let’s have the cycling public do their part to continue toward our bicycle-friendly objectives.


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web posted: 23 Nov 2007
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