To the editor:
Recently, there have been several instances of accidents on our roadways between bicyclists and motorists, and my sympathies extend to both the motorists and the injured bicyclists — in particular, to the family of the man who lost his life recently in downtown St. Louis.
Having said that, I would like to state emphatically that roads are made for driving, that is, driving 3,500-pound cars, 20,000-pound buses or 80,000-pound trucks. They are not designed for 15-pound bicycles. To imagine that there would never be any injuries when you pit those differences against each other is illogical.
The truth regarding the recent episode in Sunset Hills may never be revealed, but I have been disheartened to hear how the press has portrayed Mayor Mark Furrer as a road-rage maniac who purposely ran the innocent bicyclist off the road. Accounts of the incident from both sides proclaim innocence of any wrongdoing.
I personally am a very calm and placid driver who is never given over to road rage. However, there have been times when I have been tempted, and those times have most often been when bicyclists do not obey the rules of the road by shooting through stop signs without stopping, riding in tandem down the road or riding in the middle of the road.
For instance, I live very near to where Grant’s Trail crosses Watson Road and travel through that intersection almost every day.
Countless — and I do mean countless — times, bicyclists ignore the crossing lights and fly across Watson Road in between traffic and in front of automobiles that may be traveling above the speed limit down the hill there. Who would be at fault if they collided?
While walking on the Des Peres Greenway one morning, a bicyclist flew by me at top speed without the courtesy “on-your-left” warning, which is not an unusual incident. If I had drifted one step to my left, he would have hit me. On a regular basis when walking the trails, one has to be constantly aware of the faster and heavier traffic that bicyclists bring to a pedestrian walkway, because many don’t seem to care about someone on foot.
The latest roadway incident I had occurred on Mason Road between Clayton and Manchester Roads. Mason Road has double yellow lines all along this stretch — no passing — curves and hills galore, and absolutely no shoulder. Why on earth would anyone want to put their life in jeopardy and ride a bicycle on that road? I have no clue, but at 35 mph I came around a curve and upon a bicyclist doing just that. I had to drop my speed under 15 mph because there was no way for me to pass without the possibility of hitting an oncoming car.
Fortunately, after several miles, I was able to find a way around, but to do that I was forced to illegally cross the double yellow lines. That morning, I was tempted to be given over to a little road rage.
Who should be polite and give way? We all should. But cyclists should dump their ideas of “owning” the roads that were made for automobiles. It doesn’t make sense to play “chicken” with something 200 times — or more —your size.