So I wanted to take some time to bring attention to some unfortunate bicycle/vehicular accidents that have occurred in my town in the past couple of months. I am proud of the fact that my town has become more bicycle friendly. We have signs all around town that say “Share the Road” and bike paths clearly marked on our roadways. Bicycling is definitely up around here.
Unfortunately, two cyclists have been struck on the same stretch of road. Both cyclists were following the law and had safety gear on. In fact, both are biking advocates and teach others how to ride safely. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to save one of them. The other incident, however, has a happy ending.
Frank Pavlick was riding his bike in the right lane of a bridge when a 17-year-old driver struck him – smashing his bike to bits. Miraculously, Frank jumped up moments later with only minor injuries and watched in amazement as the driver attempted to leave the scene. One of our local buses driving just ahead of the incident, watched this and blocked the driver’s getaway. Another vehicle, also driven by a 17-year-old, blocked the driver from behind. Because of their quick thinking, the driver was apprehended.
Amazingly, the driver became the first in the state of Pennsylvania to be charged in violation of a new law that states drivers must give 4 feet of space to bikers on the road. This law went into effect that morning. These laws are enforced in nearly 20 states. Many believe that bikes belong on the sidewalk. Bike riding on the sidewalk is actually illegal. It is also dangerous, as drivers cannot see cyclists behind street parked vehicles. (I actually had a girl collide with my car once as she and I didn’t see one another because she was behind large, parked SUVs on the sidewalk, and didn’t look at traffic.)
Bike riders, on the other hand, must remember to act like a car when on the road including stopping at stop signs and lights and signalling with their hands which way they intend to turn. They need to stay alert and wear proper safety gear.
So I implore you drivers, please slow down when you see a bike rider, know the law, and give them the space they need so we can all use our roads safely.