Forget for a minute that it's the law. Think for a second of the life changing decision not to give 3 feet.
This past Friday we heard the terrible news out of New Orleans. A triathlete out on a recon ride getting ready for Sunday's IM 70.3 NOLA triathlon, was rear ended by a car and killed. One of his riding partners, his brother-in-law was also struck and as of this writing still in the hospital fighting for his life.
On our local ride this Saturday, a young lady was struck by a car. The driver was overheard saying that she was "late". The victim, as of this writing is in the hospital and thank goodness, is expected to make a full recovery.
Whatever the reasons, whatever the circumstances, lives have changed...permanently!
Frank Guinn leaves behind his wife Kimberly and 7 year old triplet girls. Nothing said here can begin to explain the emptiness left by Frank's quick and senseless departure... all because someone did NOT give 3 feet.
Stories like these are becoming all too common. So what do we do? How can we address this?
It's all about awareness. From all sides.
Lets begin with the cyclists. To all of you that saddle your bike, please remember that you have the same duties and responsibilities as do the cars on the road. When riding remember to ride defensively. Obey ALL traffic laws. Always assume the driver of the car does not see you. Keep your ears open and be alert, know what's coming behind you. Give the car room to pass. Yes... you have the same right as the car but the car will always win.
When out on your on your ride, is not the time to be stubborn. Not the time to show 'em who the boss is. Not the time to get in an argument or lose your temper. Its time to keep your cool and think straight.
Always heed the warnings; "Car Back!", "Car Up". Move over. Never ride three wide. No time to move out of the way. Yes, its fun to chit chat, but the chit chat could come with a price. Give no driver a reason to hit you.
And remember this... riding in a group guarantees you nothing. The two incidents mentioned above is proof of that. But always ride in a group.
And drivers please... 3 feet is all we ask. 3 feet. Slow down, pass carefully, and please, please, please do NOT honk your horn. A gentle tap is enough. Honking will startle the cyclist and could possible cause him, or her to crash. Oh yeah, and revving your engine when you pass us, making us swallow your diesel fumes, proves nothing, solves nothing.
It almost a guarantee that when the weather is nice, cyclists will be out. Be aware. Be respectful. A couple of miles slower, a few minutes later and you'll save a life. A cyclists and yours. Yours? Yes Yours, for your life will never be the same should you ever hit a cyclist.
For the most part, most drivers are courteous and respectful of cyclists. Most abide by the rules of human decency and the laws of the land. However, all it takes is one negligent driver to change someone's life forever.
I Give 3 Feet. Do You?