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Defining ‘Share the Road’ in time for Bike Week
Welcome to Bike Week. This time of year means more drivers will put down their car keys and hop on their bicycle to get to where they need to go. It also means more children will be two-wheeling it, too. It also means it's time to buckle down and share the road. But what's the definition of “share the road?” To Street Smarts, that phrase means obeying road laws. Rules, such as moving as far to the right or left as possible to make the corresponding turn, use your turn signals, keeping right when moving slower than everyone else, stopping at stop signs and red lights, all say share the road. Those laws tell us to take turns, look out for the other guy, look out for ourselves, get out of the way and communicate our intentions. By obeying traffic laws, we all – whether we are in a car, on a bike, on foot or some other method of transportation – will be sharing the road. Street Smarts reader Alex Anderson, 51 of Santa Cruz, agrees that if everyone followed the rules of the road, it would be a safer place to be, especially for the most vulnerable – cyclists and pedestrians. Anderson has been using his bicycle as a method of transportation since he was 12-years-old. He also rides mountain and road bikes recreationally, as well as on the racing circuit. But cycling can be dangerous, he said, as motorists can be distracted, annoyed by cyclists or simply have bad driving skills. “I've had two co-workers hit in the last three months on their bike commute because motorists pulled out of driveways without stopping and/or looking,” said Anderson. “My most common complaint – drivers who pull out in front of me. I wear a bright orange vest , have one flashing light on my handlebars and a helmet light but somehow they just don't see me or I just don't register – very frustrating since this happens almost every ride and sometimes twice in my 20-mile commute.” Daily, you can count the drivers who roll through stop signs, exit driveways or turn right on red without stopping, tailgate, speed or “can't be bothered with a turn signal,” he said. “I think you will be alarmed at the large percentage of drivers who violate basic rules,” he added Anderson suggests motorists “think about the fact that if you do something dangerous that results in an accident, the likely outcome for a pedestrian or cyclist is serious injury or death. If my fellow cyclists and I are lucky, we won't be hit by the driver who is too distracted or impatient to follow the law,” he added. “I know most motorists would be much more careful around a loved one on a bike.” Street Smarts appears Mondays. Read the daily blog at www.santacruzlive.com/blogs/streetsmarts or on Facebook or Twitter. This week's blog will feature submissions from local transportation interests. Submit questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the aforementioned social media sites. Be sure to include your name and city of residence.
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