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The Future of Road Rage

Sharing the road ruffles a lot of feathers.

The future is here.

Road rage is about to take a turn for the worse if we don’t educate and accommodate. Bike sharing without road sharing is like an airplane without radio controls. It takes to the sky on a prayer.

When I first spotted this bike kiosk in Boston this Spring, I was as excited as a kid in a candy store. It’s called bike sharing and it’s likely to hit your town sometime in the future. Already there are between 100-200 bike sharing programs in cities around the world.

For a small fee, you grab a nice and sturdy bike and hit the road. At your destination, you return the bike to another kiosk. “Brilliant idea!” I exclaimed. “No messing with your own bike transport or worries about theft. And it promotes fitness for all!”

Last week a cyclist my age was killed by a distracted driver in a charity ride. That same day my husband and I biked 75 miles only to experience the ever so familiar “close calls” of cycling on the roads.

Cars whizzing by so close I can feel the heat radiating off their cars. Wind gusts from speed demons flying past that almost knock me over. I don’t recall a long ride where at least one driver didn’t honk their horn expressing their disapproval of my wheels on their road.

I read a USA Today article that New York City has committed to a bike sharing program with up to 10,000 bicycles. In Washington D.C., a police lieutenant stated that it stirs debate over who should be on the roads. Drivers say many who rent bikes are clueless. Most are not cyclists who know the rules of the road.

I love this idea and hope it expands to all cities for the sake of our environment and fitness. The program must coincide with more dedicated bike lanes. When I biked in Florida, where dedicated bike lanes are everywhere, I felt so much safer in my space. A couple of drivers actually smiled at me- what a shocker!

Distracted driving is an epidemic. Add thousands of new bicyclists on the roads and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s going to take a shift of mindset to embrace other modes of transportation. We need to accept that our roads are meant for sharing with runners, cyclists, walkers and those doing their part to reduce their footprint on our planet.

Next time you’re driving and see a cyclist, remember:

  • Pass the cyclist slowly.  (Many drivers try and get around as quickly as possible).
  • Pass only on the left when other lane is clear. Otherwise wait patiently until it is.
  • Pass far enough away from the rider so if he fell toward you, you still wouldn’t hit him.
  • Allow a rider to have entire lane when crossing railroad tracks or similar obstacles. Do not pass!
  • Never pass on a hill or curve when your view ahead is limited.
  • Use hand motions at intersections to grant permission to proceed. (This is very much appreciated!)
  • Don’t begrudge all riders because a few don’t ride responsibly.
  • Be cautious, courteous and patient.

Please share these tips with your young drivers. My 15-year-old daughter heard kids in her driver’s ed class joke about hating to see cyclists, and that they and their parents just wanted to run them over. My daughter piped in and said, “Hey, that could be my mom or dad out there!”

Here at I’m trying to build a FIT mind and body community. Sharing is an integral part of a healthy community.  

Cyclists, runners and walkers need to be mindful and courteous as well. It’s not a one way street.

"A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for." Grace Murray Hopper

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One Comment
  1. Mark L. Willens #

    * Don’t throw things at the cyclist;
    * Go ahead and spend the extra grand to redirect your diesel exhaust pipe to the driver’s side;
    * Vote for higher taxes so a substitute can be used for chip ‘n seal repairs on major bike routes;
    * Don’t confuse a cyclist’s rear blinking light for a warning barricade begging to be run over;
    * It’s ok to smile, smirk, chuckle, guffaw or laugh when seeing the slow-motion fall of a cyclist who can’t click out at a stop;
    * Don’t honk (friendly or otherwise) behind or to the side of a cyclist;
    * Don’t confuse a single-finger wave with a full-hand wave;
    * Remember that the cyclist you see could be currently subsidizing your future spouse or significant other.

    July 11, 2012

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