Cyclists riding on the nation’s roads have always had an uneasy relationship with motorists. Before there were cars on the roads, bicyclists were occasionally the object of insults and even the flick of whip during the horse and buggy days. The bad behavior of today comes from both sides: bicyclists sometimes act as if mere traffic laws do not apply to them and anger motorists. Motorists create dangerous situations for cyclists by passing too closely or turning right in front of oncoming cyclists. It’s a situation that desperately calls for both sides to live by the rules and respect each other as we learn to share the roads.
I was privileged to take part in Utah’s Road Respect Tour, a bike ride around the state around the state to spread the message about road rules and cycling etiquette that took place June 13-18. The ride was sponsored by Utah Department of Transportation, Zero Fatalities and the Department of Public Safety. The Road Respect ride started in northern Utah in Logan and wove through many of Utah’s cities and towns, riding through Zion’s National Park then finishing in Hurricane, Utah. Our core group consisted of about 2 dozen cyclists. We were joined along the way by those who just wanted to ride with us for just a few miles or an entire day. Many towns had rallies and community events that brought awareness to the needs of cyclists on the road. My favorite experience was in a small town where we led a group of nearly 50 children on a short ride, teaching them how to signal, how to ride on the right side of the road and more. This town was so small it had no bike shop, so a few of the guys in the group spent over an hour lubing rusty chains, fixing flats, raising seats, and performing other quick repairs on the children’s bikes.