Dallas Hyland is a St. George News columnist, the opinions stated herein are his own and not those of St. George News.
OPINION – The St. George Ironman is around the bend here in Dixie and with it will come the inevitable onslaught of those pesky cyclists doing what seems in this town to be the most annoying thing the average daily driver has to face: riding on “their” roads.
If you are among those who find this activity an annoyance or perhaps even an interference, may I be so bold as to say get over it?
Cyclists have as much right to the road as those who operate motorized vehicles and are subject to most of the same laws as drivers.
But here in St. George it seems they are also at times the target for some aggression played out by people behind the wheel in the form of what could aptly be called vehicular harassment.
I frequently ride from my home in Dammeron Valley into town and until I reach the Snow Canyon entrance, I have to brave the road without a bike lane. To be frank, it can be a scary and life-threatening experience at times because of people in cars who pass me in close proximity.
Now to be fair, it is neither the motorist nor the cyclist who is necessarily at fault in this scenario as they both have the right to be there and to arrive at their destination safely. Not unimpeded mind you – but safely and without unreasonable threat of harm.
I choose to ride on the road. Therefore I subject myself to the inherent dangers but may I just say to the drivers out there that I encounter, those that give me 2 inches of space as they pass, you could kill me?
In fact, speaking for just myself here, I would prefer you just hit and kill me instantly if I upset you so much because what I mostly fear is not death but being nudged at 40 mph into the volcanic debris field along the side of the highway near Snow Canyon.
OK, all kidding aside this is a serious issue.
As a member of both the cycling community and the driving community, I see this situation as one we could overcome.
Drivers, remember that pesky cyclist in the funny riding britches has a wife and three kids at home to get to. It will not kill you to move over a little if it’s possible to do so without engaging oncoming traffic. Motorists are required by law to do this for emergency personnel, why not citizens on the side of the road as well as cyclists or any other measure of pedestrian?
Or, if that is not an immediate possibility, how about slowing down for the time it takes to make a safe pass without near-grazing the poor chap on the bike?
Cyclists, do your part too. Instead of insisting so much on your right to the road and riding side by side on roadways with limited space, drop to a single file formation until conditions allow otherwise.
City and county officials, get with the program and support the communities you encourage with events like the Ironman and put in some bike lanes. Maybe the next time a nifty $300,000 used and dilapidated merry-go-round seems like a good idea, consider spending the money on making this a more pedestrian friendly community with things like bike lanes. You cannot seriously present yourself as an up-and-coming progressive city and not have bike lanes on your main roads.
Lastly, to all the aggressive motorists and cyclists alike, with respect to your frustrations, grow up. Using a car to take out your frustrations in some parts of the country is considered a terroristic threat; besides that, it is just plain childish.
As a community, we can do this.
See you out there.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.