Our segment this morning on how to help cars and bikes share the road was one of our more passionate in weeks. Monday's conviction of a motorist who intentionally caused serious injuries to two cyclists was seen by many of our riding listeners as an important step in supporting their rights. There are several other pending court cases involving allegations of road rage carried out against bike riders. Postings continue on the "AirTalk" page, as listeners debate the best ways to work out road conflicts. Fortunately, most of the conflicts don't end in rider injury, but the number of such incidents is growing as more people ride.
Most callers provided a pretty balanced perspective, looking at the sometimes competing interests of cyclists and drivers. Others verbally went after either bike riders or drivers for rude behavior and violating the law. I suspect just about all of us have seen examples with both groups. The ongoing problem will be how to respectfully share streets that aren't designed for the coexistence of both types of vehicles.
Unfortunately, it will be tough to keep some impatient drivers from blowing past cyclists without regard for the rider's vulnerability or legal right to share the road. Maybe as more people ride, or have family members who do, it will sensitize drivers to cyclists.
It will also be difficult to avoid some riders who claim the full lane, regardless of whether there are parked cars, a narrow lane, or a road hazard that makes lane ownership adviseable. It might be legal, but it's sometimes unnecessary and, in my opinion, rude to needlessly hold up car traffic.
Regardless of who's being rude to whom, let's hope these incidents of violent road rage stop. The jury in the Mandelville Canyon case sent a clear message.
Hopefully, we can begin a dialogue that takes us well beyond what's technically legal, to what's a considerate and safe way to share the road.