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As motorcycles return to area roads, shift gears to safety
A Message to Motorists and Cyclists - Share the Road, by Steve Hall

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ELVIRA BUTLER
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 3/31/2013

AS THE AIR begins to warm and trees begin to bud, most people try to take advantage of the longer days and gradually warming weather. Cyclists are no different in this regard, especially during spring. Many have long charity tours, races, or other events circled on their calendars for later in the year--regularly totaling 100 miles or more in a single day.

These events are the climax of the cycling season, and countless hours and miles are dedicated to training for them. For many cyclists, though, going out for a bike ride is more than just training and exercise. It is also a means to relax, reflect, and meditate. Alas, as beneficial as cycling is, it can also be very dangerous.

While out on a recent bike ride in western Stafford County, I found myself in a tangle of back roads, rocking my way side-to-side up an incline. Behind me, I could hear a pickup truck accelerating, preparing to pass me. Although I was going relatively slowly up the hill, and within 3 feet of the shoulder, the truck continued to accelerate and moved into the opposite lane.

On a flat road with a clear view of what lies ahead, this would not have been a noteworthy event. However, in this case, the pickup truck was passing me on a blind hill, far exceeding the speed limit. Just as the truck began to pass me, another car crossed over the top of the hill, causing both to swerve and avoid a collision. In an instant, the actions of one person had put the safety and wellbeing of at least two others at risk.

After this near miss, I started to pay more attention when and where cars would pass me, and how risky a maneuver each was. By the time I got home that day, I had counted three more instances of drivers passing dangerously.


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Steve Hall lives in Stafford County.