Share the Road is a national campaign for bike riders and car drivers to co-exist on our city streets. The likelihood of this happening is a long shot. First, since every community has control over certain rules of the road and speed limits and such, very few communities have chosen to decrease speed limits or mandate a 3 foot zone when passing bike riders. In my community as conditions of the road deteriorate due to winter weather I’m inclined to take up at least half the lane to encourage car drivers to move around me and crossing the center line of the lane. This style of bike riding also includes a thumbing gesture, much like a hitchhiking sign, alert the driver to move around me. Actively turning your head when traffic is coming up behind also alerts drivers that you are aware of their proximity. These subtle moves and gestures are necessary for the bike rider who must take responsibility for their own safety. So as it were the Share the Road advocacy is more that bike riders have a stake to claim their share of the road, not a concession by car drivers to give up a share of the road.
Hey, let’s get real about what is happening on city streets across America. There are more bike riders going places using bikes for transportation and this means at rush hour which is crunch time for many people. Car drivers don’t want bike riders slowing them down since if you are in a hurry you are not on a bike. I wish for once I could pin down the stereotypical pissed off car driver and the oblivious driver but I can’t. There are little cars, driven by economy minded people who think they can just stay in the lane passing within a foot. Then there are the old ladies. Where are they going so early in the morning? Lately its been Saab drivers who are talking on their phone, passing too close. I owned 3 Saabs but that was before I owned a cell phone. What’s up with that? Then all these Van’s taking kids to school rushing to pick up their car pool buddy, sneaking around me just to park the van half a block ahead of me. This is Sharing the Road? Driving behavior on American streets is anxiety filled enough, I know because I drive a car occasionally and can’t stand other drivers. Honestly, a campaign to get people out of their cars and onto bikes would calm down a whole bunch of people. But, fooling ourselves with Share the Road has done nothing to change driving behavior. Driving Sucks. And so do most drivers. Thumbs up to those drivers that get it and are watchful.