... perhaps because it's summer, perhaps because I've been riding my bike so much that I don't have the energy, and perhaps because there have been too many bike-related tragedies this summer...
You may have heard about two tragedies in Anne Arundel County this summer. In fact the Elkridge Patch posted a link to articles about Patricia Cunningham just last week. She was a woman in my own age range, a beloved mother, wife and coach. Thomas Heslin, also in my own age range, a beloved parent, spouse and teacher, was killed last month. I didn't know them, but of course I feel for their loved ones. Two different accidents, one with the motorist alleged to be at fault, one with the cyclist alleged to be at fault. I'm not a very avid news-reader so there were probably other like tragedies in the area this summer.
I've logged over 2000 miles on my bike this year, and though I've been buzzed by cars now and then, my worst dangers were self-inflicted - a fall on my driveway, and a near fall while coming too close to a curb on Furnace Avenue. Despite years of ballet classes, my gracefulness is still lacking. But what COULD happen is never very far from my mind. I've brought it up in my blog again and again. It's a dangerous world out there. While I have stepped up my cautiousness because of both the tragedies and my own faux pas, however, I do not intend curtail my travels by bike. In fact, I'm almost more nervous to go behind the wheel. I could never live with myself if I caused such pain and loss to other spouses, children and students. I feel for the drivers of the vehicles as well and as a motorist and a cyclist, I see both sides of the coin. I just want to stress (again and again): Be careful, be vigilant, be VISIBLE, and have FUN.
In response to all this sadness, a Facebook group called SpokesPeople has grown up over night, spear-headed by Tracy VanDagna and Fran Interlandi, who are holding peaceful demonstrations in Anne Arundel County to remind motorists and cyclists alike to follow the rules of the road, and to also inform motorists of the fairly new "3 Feet Law." I mentioned the "3 Feet Law" before. Motorists are required to give cyclists a 3 foot clearance when passing. This is very important because the vehicle's wind-effect can knock a bike off track and into danger, and also, bike-riders may need extra clearance to avoid road hazards. I hope to join one of the demonstrations on Monday (Labor Day). I have my sign ready. Here is the schedule if you are interested, and I hope you will consider joining SpokesPeople as well. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/172621622922668/. Here is the schedule of demonstrations: Annapolis: Rowe Blvd & Taylor Ave from 2pm-5pm, led by Tracy VanDagna and Fran Interlandi; Edgewater: Rt 214 & Rt 2 from 11am-1pm, led by Anne Shaldone Brown; Glen Burnie: Crain Hwy (Rt 3) and B&A Trail from 11am-1pm, led by Mark Hamilton; Crofton: Rt 450 and Rt 424 from 2pm-5pm, led by Jenn Kittenbrink James.
Again, these demonstrations are not intended to point fingers at motorists. They are meant to inform the public of the law, and also stress the need for all motorists AND cyclists to be responsible, share the road, and follow the rules. Keep an eye out for us, and join us if you feel so inclined! Have a lovely Labor Day Weekend!