Get two or more cyclists talking together and inevitably we’ll share stories about drivers who pass us too fast or two closely; harass us by honking, yelling, or throwing things; run us off the road; or worse. Sometimes we forget that on shared pathways, WE are to pedestrians as automobiles are to us! We are traveling many times faster than they are. We have a responsibility to slow down, call out, and give pedestrians the right of way.
Recently, an elderly disabled woman was struck by a bicyclist on a private path off of White Oak Drive. Running into a pedestrian is unconscionable. To add insult to injury, the cyclist was trespassing. The path through The Villages at Wild Oak has a pedestrian-only easement; cyclists are required to dismount and walk through this property. (Read more about the 2017 settlement regarding this easement.)
Cyclists are subject to the same laws as drivers; leaving the scene of a bicycle/pedestrian collision is a criminal act, just as it would be if a driver left the scene of a collision. (A San Jose cyclist was recently charged with felony hit-and-run manslaughter after crashing into two other cyclists – killing one – and leaving.)
We are all ambassadors for our sport; when one of us behaves badly, it reflects on all of us and hinders our ability to lobby effectively for improved bicycle policy and infrastructure. “Safe cycling” doesn’t just mean keeping OURSELVES safe – we owe it to the people around us to consider their safety too.