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Scree - April 17, 2011

bicyclist on the Natchez Trace

That's Just a Yard

A bicyclist was recently hit by a dump truck south of Nashville in Williamson County. Even though the bicyclist was severely injured the driver was not charged and did not even have to pay the $50 ticket for driving too close to a bicyclist (the Three Foot Rule). By the way, the $50 fine is the same fine that can be levied for hitting an animal.

The Three Foot Rule was passed unanimously. The problem is that there's no one to enforce the rule. Even worse, there seems like there's no one who wants to enforce the rule.

And worse yet, many drivers don't know there is such a rule or, possibly, they just chose to not obey the rule.

Yet, by my unofficial statistics, the numbers of bicyclist who ride for exercise, enjoyment, or commuting is growing. Each rider on the road, as well as each walker or runner, is a person. They are sharing the road with fast moving motorized vehicles that could harm or kill the unprotected users.

Recently, I was riding with a friend and we were discussing bicyclist. He commutes on a road that is heavily used by riders. Seeing a group of cyclist riding two abreast he stated that their actions did not help the bicycling cause. I agreed but then reminded him that the interruption in speed would probably be but a few seconds, or perhaps just a lane change. We then discussed other vehicles who are on the roadway that also cause us to wait. Mail delivery vehicles, farm vehicles, school buses, sanitation trucks, and police cars are just a few of the vehicles that cause us to routinely reduce speed or negotiate a safe passing.

When I was a child I remembered the push to educate drivers to stop when the school bus stopped. When the drivers learned they had to respect the school bus, the road was safer for transporting students. School bus safety has improved and so hopefully will bicycle and pedestrian safety.

The "sharing the road" goal is attainable through education, I just hope not another bicyclist or pedestrian is injured because the driver does not give them three feet, that's just a yard.

(WSMV article)