Summer is here, and kids are everywhere. As a parent of a young child and leisure bicycler, I want to remind you that there are times when we will share the road. We often try to stay on sidewalks and trails, but there are times we will cross the street.
We are doing what we need to in being responsible riders. Wearing our helmets, riding on the right side of the road nearing the white line are all things I’m teaching my little ones to be mindful of when we ride. Recently, we even staring discussing hand signals.
Sharing the road with you can be terrifying. I know too often a cell phone may be in your hand. Even if you are checking your GPS, it is that split moment that could be dangerous to cyclists. In the time it takes to check a text message, a car travels the length of a football field. That’s a long-distance, and we could quickly go unnoticed if you are distracted.
In Hamilton County, trails and crosswalks are also a challenge. It’s not a race, so please don’t speed up to beat the pedestrian. Those flashing lights at trail crosswalks mean that we are near. As a parent of a young kid learning to ride, crosswalks are both terrifying for the parent and child learning. Starting and stopping a bike for a young kid is tricky enough. Then you add cars into the mix, which makes it that much more stressful. It doesn’t matter how much of a cushion you teach them to keep; crosswalks are stressful.
In 2003 Indiana was ranked 13th “most deadly” fore pedal cyclist accidents in the United States. Ok, so you say 2003 was a long time ago. I’ll give it to you; it has been a while. Look at 2013 then, 52 kids died in these accidents. That’s one kid each week. It would be devastating for you as a driver to be involved in an accident like that. My world would be absolutely shattered.
As a parent and leisure bicycler, I am doing my part to be a responsible rider and teaching my child to be a responsible rider as well.
I beg you to be a responsible driver and put yourself in the shoes of those who enjoy the fresh air while we go on a family bike ride. Nothing is so crucial, no text message or meeting or appointment that you should ever put another person in danger.