Monday, October 2, 2017

Treat all motorists with respect


By Todd Murray
Waving my arms while riding down the middle of the right lane of the two- lane county road, I was trying to do everything I could to get the attention of the box truck driver pulling out to pass the car in front of him. I had nowhere to go on the narrow blacktop but the ditch.
Todd Murray and his wife, Debbie, biking in Cottonwood Falls.
I will never forget the sound of the driver accelerating his truck or the sight of him coming directly at me. I had his attention, and he knew exactly what he was doing. “Get off MY road or you are dead!” I used my only option, the ditch, just yards before what would have been sure death for me.
I will never forget how angry I was that day. Someone had intentionally put my life in danger, virtually attempted murder! I was not an opossum crossing the road, I am a real life human being, a son, a husband, a father with a family that depended on me. Just because I chose to ride a bike to work for exercise and to save money on gas does not make me a “road hazard.”
Even though that incident happened nearly 30 years ago, I would love to say it was an isolated incident, but it wasn’t. I meet thousands of cars every year while riding my bike, and that scenario has replayed itself a handful of times since that fateful day. Sometimes more respectful drivers pull out, then pull back over allowing me to continue on before passing.
What makes one driver pull back in, while another comes at you bent on destruction? Attitude and respect for life.
Every person on a road, whether in a car, a truck, a motorcycle, on a bike, walking or running is a real life human being. We are all sons and daughters, we all have families and friends. Every person has a right to be on the public roads, they are not owned by any one person.
They are not a nuisance that slows you down, they are not obstacles, are not disposable. Sure, everybody out there does things they shouldn’t do. They break traffic laws and do less than smart things sometimes. I see it all the time whether it is a cyclist or runner or driver.
But in our hurry up, distracted, self centered world anything and anyone that dares get in our way or slow us up for a few seconds will often get to experience our wrath. Shaking fists, gesturing fingers, blaring horns and super close passes are the result. We have a problem, and the problem is us.
Take a good look in the mirror. How do you want to be treated? Do you respect others how you want to be treated? What if it we’re your husband or wife, your son or daughter that was treated that way? How would you feel then?
Leave two minutes earlier and the 10 seconds you lose slowing down to get around a bike rider won’t be a problem. Respect others and you will be a happier person.
Todd Murray is from Hutchinson and owns Bikes and More.



3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this important reminder, Todd. Motorists have the responsibility to share the road and respect one another no matter which mode of transportation they may travel.

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  2. I learned to drive while it was still a class in high school. Our books had this phrase on the inside cover "Courtesy is the Code of the Road." I have never forgotten that phrase and I try to abide but there are those drivers out there that make it very difficult. I'm glad you are a defensive rider - God Bless.

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  3. Wow, that sounds like a really close call! I've experienced it too on my motorcycle but you're really vulnerable on a bicycle. Thanks for the reminder that respect for all on the road is important. We can only hope that those sharing the road with us today are in less of a hurry, are not late, are not mad at the world, and have no strange idea that they are the most important driver out there.

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