Views from the Veranda - Those Dad-gummed bicycles
By Jerry Sailors
I've stood it long enough and gone as far as I can go without saying what I think. I am really tired of two-wheeled, non-motorized toys ridden by a bunch of people who wish they were athletes dressed in the fruitiest, most ridiculous outfits imaginable on public roads and streets. Bicycles are toys not unlike skates, skateboards and such. I know that they can be great fun; I grew up riding my bike but never on a busy, public, heavily traveled roadway.
Yes, bicycles are a great way to exercise. So are jogging, swimming and going to the gym. But, everything has a place for proper usage and streets are not the place for bikes. Our roadways are dangerous enough with the large number of automobiles in Middle Tennessee.
Streets and highways are designed and built for travel within certain speeds. That is why many places post minimum as well as maximum speed limits. Our roads are maintained by taxes generated by licensed vehicles.
Our taxes have made it possible to provide some large and very nice public parks, which are ideally suited and certainly safer for bicycle riding. If one life is saved by removing bicycles from the public streets, it will have been worthwhile. It would make much more sense to allow four-wheeled, motorized vehicles (four wheelers) than bicycles but they are prohibited. Can anyone in a position of authority give me one good reason?
Let me give you three instances that I have personally seen or encountered within the past two weeks. First, a young woman was riding a bicycle in the right, southbound lane of Franklin Road near Brentwood Country Club during afternoon rush hour traffic. The bicyclist was rolling along in the middle of the lane and she refused to move over despite car horns honking at her. Several drivers were expressing their opinions of her inconsiderate attitude in other ways but she was bothered not in the least. All the traffic behind her backed up until each driver could change lanes to get around.
Last week, a guy was riding on Hillsboro Road near Franklin High School (only two lanes) with at least 20 cars backed up behind him. He was obviously unconcerned as he refused to move over. Apparently, he wanted to impress everyone with his tight, shiny britches and his colorful shirt with a number on his back. Buddy, if you are reading this, we weren't impressed and we know you are not on the Olympic team. You are just a thoughtless excuse for a good citizen.
Sunday morning, I was driving on a two-lane road near Spring Hill behind two guys riding bikes and using all of the right lane. The area is hilly so I and other drivers behind me followed them for about a mile at almost walking speed until we could get around. They absolutely did not care.
I'm sure most of you have had similar experiences. I am writing this column at the request of a number of people I have heard from, many of whom I do not even know. So, I call on all of our elected officials in a position to make the necessary changes. We will be safer for it.
From the veranda, y'all have a good day.
Jerry Sailors is a columnist and public speaker.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: 7/11/2012