This morning I heard there was a crash on a highway that had traffic stopped and I was thankful the traffic jam was nowhere near me.
Later I read a post on Consider Biking that said it was a car that crashed into a bike, and the cyclist died. I was very thankful it wasn't me. I felt terrible for the cyclist and his family. And for the driver of the car.
I avoid the roads as much as I can. When I am on the main street, High Street, I ride the sidewalks. I know it is just as dangerous (or even more so if you are not paying attention), but I can't imagine riding on the street itself. I ride on the side streets where necessary but where there's heavy traffic, I am just terrified to be on the road with cars.
Let's face it, roads around here and in most of the country were made for one purpose - cars. Bikes, if considered, are an afterthought. Occasionally you see a bike lane here or there, but accessible roadways are virtually nonexistent. You have to be extra vigilant on the roads, and you can still make a mistake. I read on blogs and in guide books that bikes are to be treated just like cars; we need to obey all traffic laws. But bikes are NOT cars, and roads are not built to be shared.
I do feel sorry for the driver of the car. Bikes are gaining popularity, but there's not really any training for drivers. Should you pass the cyclist? What do those hand signals mean? What about cyclists that cross across three lanes of traffic, or don't stop at red lights or stop signs?
There's some mutual responsibility here, and some responsibility on the part of city planners. If bikes are to be treated the same as cars, then roads must be re-examined as a path to be used by cars AND bikes, sharing the road. And drivers and cyclists need to understand the rules of the road for both forms of transportation.
For now, I think I'll stay on the sidewalks and bike trails. I think there is a bike revolution going on, but I don't know how long it will last, and I don't know if it will go anywhere or if gas prices go down, everyone will return to their gas-guzzling four wheel boxes, consuming far too much nonrenewable energy and getting fatter and fatter all the while.