This is the sign that’s cropping up on roadways everywhere. It cautions drivers that they have a responsibility to share the road with cyclists. I am not referring to motorcycles, which have the ability to keep up with traffic instead of impeding it.
The sign is to remind motorists that bicyclists, by definition of the word ‘share’, have an equal right to the roadway. I wonder if the lawmakers truly understood what they were doing. To ‘share’ implies that each party has an equal opportunity, an equal responsibility, and an equal division of that which is being shared. But when there’s a motorist and a cyclist on the road at the same place and at the same time, the division of responsibility is nowhere close to equitable. The motorist bears it all.
The cyclist, however, owns the whole road. He owns his lane and the other lane. In some areas that may not be a problem, in which case you’re reading this and scratching your head in amazement that the author would even take the precious time to complain.
But if you live in an area where there are curves and hills, and the next place to safely pass a cyclist could be another two to three miles away, traveling at an incredibly low speed, then you are nodding your head ferociously at my accurate descriptions.
They don’t share. Going uphill, in a curve, the cyclists will stand on their pedals and pump away, no doubt gaining great strength in their leg muscles for their effort. I am behind them, unable to pass, going all of two miles per hour on my way to work, exercising great restraint, which is also giving me several new jaw muscles, and a headache, for my effort.
I know that in just a few more minutes we’ll be at the top of the hill and my vision unobscured. I will be able to pass the cyclist safely.
Do you have any idea how fast a bicycle can go downhill in a near-perfect straight stretch? About 40 miles per hour. By the time I can get enough speed in excess of the limit to pass him, I’m at the next curve and can’t see. Going up the next hill, does the cyclist lay over and allow me to pass? No. Does he care that now there’s a convoy of anxious employees trying to get to work on time? No.
But does he ride the middle of the road and flip you the bird for being impatient? Yes. Because the sign says I have to share the road.
I want one that says he has to. It should look like this:
I told a friend a couple of years ago that I was taking my youngest to that neighborhood where all the cyclists live to give her the very first driving lessons.
She thought I was kidding.