Good and Bad Times on the Bike

14 Nov

Yesterday was an interesting day as a cyclist in Edmond, OK.

We took a bike ride in the perfect fall weather in the afternoon. We rode out east on Sorghum Mill and Coffee Creek roads for about 2 hours. We rode from home although more often we park at a school and ride from there to avoid bad experiences we’ve had in the past riding on Coltrane between Coffee Creek and Covell.

It was a perfect weather day as I’ve said and we enjoyed our ride immensely. Up until the last 3 miles when we turned onto Coltrane heading south. Suffice it to say that the drivers were aggressive, irresponsible and dangerous towards us and other drivers. They sped past us with oncoming traffic present and one car passed us with less than a foot of clearance. If it had been a truck or van with protruding side mirrors we would have surely been hit.

408915_10151284233763268_2026895766_nIt was the worst experience I’ve had on the road in the last 5 – 10 years combined. We had probably 10 cars blow by us with oncoming traffic (two lane road) on a hill no less! We were riding single file to the right but not on the “white line of death”. I was riding just to the right of where a car’s right wheel would be so we were riding in a way that should have told the drivers behind us not to attempt to pass until they could change lanes to do so. And would have told them that (as it almost always does) if they had not been asshat drivers!

I saw one of the oncoming cars get far to the right of their lane to avoid getting hit by the car passing us. They may have had to leave the roadway, I couldn’t tell. The worst offender mentioned above was reported to the police when we got home. We caught up to him and 75% of the other asshat drivers that had narrowly blown by us at the stop sign at Covell and Coltrane.

Their behavior was completely inexcusable. They could have hit us and would have I believe in one case when thanks to my mirror I could see what they were doing and I was able to move to the right edge of the roadway to avoid them.

Thanks to my mirror I was also able to pick the right time to take the full lane without losing sight of what was happening in front of me. Mark pulled up alongside me and we rode that way until it was safe for cars to pass us and then returned to our previous positions.

I have not felt that threatened on the road in forever and I can’t ever remember having so many drivers behave so recklessly at one time. They had either all been at the same bar or café getting hyped up on coffee.

I wish I could talk to every single one of them. I wish I could put them on a bike riding on the same road with similar drivers riding behind and passing them. I wish they could really get how easily it could have ended tragically for me or Mark because of their impatience and frustration that we were on the road!

Mark did make a complaint about the “worst of the horrible drivers” to the police including their tag number. The policeman told Mark they had been instructed by the city attorney not to issue citations unless they had observed the offense. Mark then asked if the police would at least contact the driver and inform them of our complaint and they were required by law to give a person riding a bike at least 3 feet of clearance when passing. The police officer was cordial and said that he would attempt to contact the driver of the vehicle. Mark requested to be notified of the outcome of that contact.

We quickly inhaled a recovery shake and showered  because we had an important city council meeting to get to. There was a large representation of area bicycle riders on hand as the Edmond City Council voted unanimously to accept (adopt) the Bicycle Master Plan!

City-of-Edmond-Bike-Plan-logoThe plan is comprehensive including both short and long term goals which will be prioritized for implementation. I encourage you to visit the website for the Edmond Bicycle Master Plan, view the bicycle plan network map and read the Edmond Bicycle Master Plan.

We now have a framework and community will to improve bicycling here in Edmond – to hopefully reduce the likelihood that any cyclist experiences what we did yesterday afternoon.

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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