All New Mexican's need and deserve safe roadways

Because we are people there will always be crashes; as a group we are just not capable of perfect driving all the time.  But the kind of crash that claimed the life of one cyclist and left another in very critical condition last week can be made less likely.

 

One of the first complaints from motorists about cyclists is when they see a cyclist run a red light or commit some other traffic code infraction.  While I don’t think that cyclists should run red lights, can anyone site an instance where a cyclist running a red light resulted in the death of another road user?  If the NRA can say "It’s not guns that kill people, its people that kill people." to keep guns legal, then I am going to say "Cars don't kill people, people kill people!”  When we, you or I, drive a car in a careless, illegal or inattentive way, we are gambling with not just crumpled metal and a wrecked vehicle, but with life.   And while some of us are more vulnerable road users than others, everyone is put at increased risk by the careless, illegal and inattentive driving habits we see around us every day.  People like Matt Trujillo and Dan Montoya can be cycling in completely lawful, safe ways, but those practices cannot protect them from all drivers.  From a KOAT online report May 12, 2011, “The bicyclist (Dan Montoya) was heading eastbound on Tramway when a car crossed the median and hit the bike head-on, (Bernalillo County Sheriff’s) deputies said.   Deputies said the driver of the car may have had a medical episode.”  Reports of the incident that caused severe bodily harm to Matt Trujillo said that he was hit by a driver who ran a red light.  Motor vehicle drivers are in control, or not, of a potentially far more dangerous means of transportation.   Our streets and highways are not a level playing field. 

It is not the other driver I’m asking you to look at, it’s you.  We are each responsible for our own driving habits.  Take a realistic look at your abilities, attentiveness, and habits.  What about your cell phone use, texting or talking?  Can you see well enough or do you need new glasses?  Are you healthy enough? How is your awareness of two wheeled vehicles, motorized or human powered?  Do you obey the traffic laws?  What else do you think it is OK to do while driving, besides paying attention to the road?   

 

Being in denial about this could have an incredibly high price. 

 

Jennifer Buntz

President, Duke City Wheelmen Foundation

 

 

There will be a minute of silence before Wednesday’s Ride Of Silence for Matt Trujillo and Dan Montoya, their families and friends in addition to the usual dedication of the ride to cyclists injured or killed.  For more information about this ride, go to dukecitywheelmen.org

 

 

Views: 50

Tags: Albuquerque, bicycle, motorcycle, safety

Comment by killbox on May 17, 2011 at 9:47am
And When biking please learn and use handsignals,  they really help drivers not smoosh you!
Comment by once banned twice shy on May 17, 2011 at 10:00am
When driving, please learn and use your turn signals--they really help cyclists not get smushed by you!
Comment by gleejb on May 17, 2011 at 10:55am
A wave, signal, or friendly word are all helpful out there in the traffic jungle.  Just remember: At the root of many problems is a lack of communication.
Comment by Phil_0 on May 17, 2011 at 1:10pm
I ride all over town, but somehow a disproportionate number of my close calls (including this morning) have occurred while I'm walking my bike (with a walk signal) across designated pedestrian crossings in the NE Heights. Sadly, pedestrians and bikes alike just don't seem to be on the radar for many of ABQ's distracted, hurrying cars. Heads up, drivers...just because Albuquerque has large areas that aren't friendly for anything but cars doesn't mean someone might be trying to cross at that corner or intersection you're blindly whipping around...
Comment by gleejb on May 17, 2011 at 1:41pm
Pedestrians have a high incidence of being hit by automobiles, maybe higher than cyclists.  Motorcycles are not so well off either.  Motorists would do well to expand their search image of traffic to include smaller vehicles.  Less surprise and irritation for them, safer travels for us.
Comment by once banned twice shy on May 17, 2011 at 2:44pm
Also...SLOW DOWN.
Comment by Benny the Icepick on May 17, 2011 at 5:00pm

Motorists will say "I didn't even see them."  Well, sure, because you're not looking for them.  Warmer weather means more cyclists and pedestrians will be on the road.  Be aware of your surroundings!

Comment by Lahjik on May 17, 2011 at 6:56pm

Regarding hand signals and their use: I know them, but I seriously doubt 90% of the car "drivers" do.  Most of the people who insist that "Them dang bike riders in thur spayndex and silly hats don't follow the laws none.  That's why I feel justified in runnin'  them off'n the road and such"  don't know that the hand signals laws changed a while back and now cyclists can legally use their turn-side hand to indicate which direction we're going.  I've had more than one instance of auto-ensconced morons berating me for "not using hand signals" after a) I did, and b) they failed to use turn signals or even stop at stop-signs.  I tend to be fairly conscientious about traffic laws regardless of the vehicle I'm in and while the majority of anti-cyclist cage-drivers complain about cyclists not obeying the law to justify their whinging, the majority of car-drivers I see day in and day out fail to even remotely comprehend traffic laws much less obey them.

Comment by gleejb on May 17, 2011 at 7:49pm
Self-evaluation of drivers' skill: A cross-cultural comparison

Maryla Goszczyńskaa and Agnieszka Rosłana

aDepartment of Psychology, Warsaw University, 00-183 Warsaw, Stawki 5/7, Poland

Received 12 October 1987; 
revised 10 September 1988. 
Available online 18 July 2002.

Abstract

In a study conducted in Sweden and the United States, subjects judged their own driving skills in relation to other drivers. The results showed that a majority of subjects regarded themselves as more skillful than the average driver. This result was compared with that obtained from similar studies on the population of Polish amateur and professional drivers. The outcomes of this comparison confirmed the existence of an optimistic tendency to overestimate one's own driving skill. This tendency was observed in various groups of drivers differing in cultural back-ground. Finally, the influence of this tendency upon risk estimates of traffic accidents and inefficiency of safety propaganda are discussed.

Comment by flutephobia on May 18, 2011 at 11:05am
Lahjik- I don't think it is fair to characterize "drivers" as you do with a southern accent. People from the south are capable of speaking with excellent grammar, and they are intelligent, too!

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