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Health advocate urges calm when dealing with other road users, safety issues
Dear Street Smarts, Q: Your column and blog has recently hosted a string of letters and comments regarding negative interactions between bicyclists, motorists, pedestrians, and wheelchair users. I would like to step back and give some big-picture perspective to the issue at hand. The roadways are intended for many types of users. Whenever there are a variety of users with different needs traveling at different speeds, all users should try to be sensitive to each other and exercise extra caution. Bicyclists and pedestrians are more vulnerable than motorists. Both the bicycle and pedestrian networks should be usable for people of all ages and abilities, and everyone has the right to expect sidewalks and bicycle lanes/routes to be in good condition. Deficiencies or gaps in the bicycle and pedestrian networks can be reported using a Bike . These forms will be updated later this summer to include an option for people to load photos of the issue and pinpoint the location on a Google map. Try to understand and be patient with other users' experiences rather than blame and get angry. One observed incident is not representative of the behavior of an entire group. Many accidents are the result of one or all involved parties insisting on the right-of-way. Modes of travel can be obstructed at any time for any number of reasons. We should all practice taking a deep breath and looking beyond the immediate situation and respond in a safe, courteous manner. Even if it means giving up the right-of-way. It's not worth the risk of injury or death of a fellow road user to do otherwise. Sarah Harmon, MPH, Health Educator, Traffic Safety Programs, Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency A: Thank you.