Can’t We All Share the Road (and get along)?

Riding nearly 50 miles today gave me plenty of time to think. It was The Ladies cycling group’s 4th Anniversary Ride, and I’ve been blessed to ride with this supportive group of women since 2008.

I celebrated four years of riding with the same great group of women who rode nearly 50 miles around Phoenix’s South Mountain today.

Cyclists, for the most part, are a supportive bunch. At least recreational cyclists are; pros say that if you’re going down, aim to land on a body because people are softer than the pavement. That’s assuming they are racing neck-to-neck and hit a bump or someone clips their wheel. But when a cyclist is hit from behind by a car, there’s no time to react.

Lately, we’ve had too many cyclists hit by inattentive drivers. A few weeks ago, three were hit because a driver was fiddling with her GPS instead of watching where she was going. Because I had “liked” Not One More Foundation on Facebook, I got updates on the accident and requests for volunteers to provide meals for the families, so I signed up to bring food yesterday. As I turned into the neighborhood, I saw a woman and two girls out for a walk with a man in a wheelchair. I wondered if he was the injured cyclist and had been released from the hospital. I turned the corner and found the address, which I couldn’t miss with a huge “Welcome Home” chalked in the driveway, and signs on the door saying “We love you Daddy.” The family rounded the corner after I dropped off the food. The man in the wheelchair had a neck brace and couldn’t turn his head, but he could move his lips enough to say “thank you.”

Another local driver was fined $420 when her inattentiveness took a cyclist’s life. She didn’t even blame an electronic device — she just drifted into the bike lane for no apparent reason. If you’re outraged over the piddly fine, click on the link and check out the reader comments. Why publications allow readers to post anonymous comments is beyond me, as most are haters with nothing better to do, no matter what the topic. But there’s something about the topic of sharing the road that brings out the rednecks who think that cyclists deserve to get hit.

I wonder if they would feel the same if they saw that chalked driveway yesterday and the family that has their daddy home.

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