Saturday, July 4, 2009

A yoga matt will not make you invincible

With the mood I am in and what I have gone through since last Wednesday, I should be writing about something that isn't fluff or flowers. Too bad. I just don't feel like going down the road of negative emotions. It has been crushing and outside of this short vent, not an avenue I am ready to take.

Instead, after a great Saturday morning of photographing doors around the Portland area and having a satisfying breakfast feast at Mississippi Street Station, I was driving home. As I crossed the Broadway Bridge and stopped at a light (kissed the bride as is our tradition) there was a young woman on a bike headed toward the light. She didn't stop. Just looked both ways and barrelled on through.

Now, as a one time avid cyclist who is now just a recreational rider, this always makes me cringe. A bicycle is required to obey laws of the road just like any other vehicle. But most important, this woman had nothing more for protection that the yoga matt strapped to her back - no helmet, no mirrors, no common sense. Not only is she endangering herself, but she is giving other cyclists a bad name. Hey! I'm a rider and those of us who ignore the rules piss me off.

Lots of drivers out there already don't want to share the road with bikes - "they are so annoying and always act like they own the road". The reality is there is room for all. We just need to be respectful of one another. The cyclist should obey the rules and drivers should have a bit more patience and provide a wider berth when passing a bike. It seems so simple, but we are, after all, human beings and the centers of our own universes, so to think about others is often a stretch. Especially when we have already established that "we hate cars and drivers" or that "we can't tolerate the attitude of bikers".

Lighten up. We all end up at the same stop light. So slow down, take a breath and enjoy the company in your car or the music you're listening to and smile at the cyclists. If you ride a bike - obey the laws and smile back at the drivers. "Share the road" goes both ways.

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