Monday, December 9, 2013

Dear Motorist

Recently, MyID released a video on Youtube, titled "Dear Motorist." It is a plea from cyclists of all backgrounds and riding styles, you can view it here. I thought that perhaps I too could write a note to a motorist, and I would encourage my readers to do the same, and share it at www.dearmotorist.com.

Dear Motorist,

I'm a student, a son, a brother, a friend. I hope to one day be a father. And I'm a cyclist. I'm known by many as a cyclist, that is perhaps the defining characteristics that people that know me associate me with. But like you, I own a car. When I turned sixteen my father and I scoured the classified ads for a car until we found a great Toyota Camry. Sure, the upholstery was a little beat up, it had almost 140,000 miles on it, but I loved that car. One of the things my drivers' ed teacher told us always stuck with me, when you're operating a motor vehicle, you are operating a weapon. And like a gun, you can injure someone in a freak accident.

I very much hope that you are never in the position of the injurer. As a cyclist, as a person, I recognize that it takes two to tango. An accident is often not caused by only one person. In fact, having served on a Bike and Pedestrian board in my hometown, I was able to ascertain that in over 50% of accidents involving a bike and a motor vehicle, both parties were at fault. This is my pledge to you, that I will do everything humanely possible to avoid putting you in that position.

Three feet. Three feet is the margin that should exist between motorist and cyclist. And while I don't always get it, I wish that you would realize that it is extraordinarily terrifying when the margin is sometimes less than six inches. I've been hit, run off the road, brake checked, and slid across the pavement as a direct result of the actions of a motorist. My greatest wish is that you would not use this as a reason to avoid but rather a reason to ride. Because the more motorists we make aware, not of the terrors, but of the joy and freedom that comes with riding a bike. The more we educate, the more we empower, the less we will have to fear the motorist. The less we fear the motorist, the more we can get out and enjoy the road. Together.

Your friend,

The Cyclist

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