Letters to the Editor

Brake for bikes, save a life

Give us a brake. Please. The next time you’re driving one of our island’s beautiful country roads and come upon a cyclist using part of your lane, resist the temptation to veer slightly to the left and roar past them. I know you’re an expert behind the wheel, and a miss is as good as a mile, but trust me, my heart rate is already high enough. I don’t need the extra burst of adrenalin that comes when your SUV flies past at 40 or 50 miles an hour, inches from my leg.

I’m a cyclist, but I’m a motorist, too. I know it can be frustrating to come around a corner and see a cyclist or two in the road ahead. Now, we’d like to use the shoulder, but sometimes there isn’t one, and sometimes there’s tire slashing debris on it, so there we are, out in the traffic lane. Sure, the vehicle code gives us the right to be there, but we’re still in your way, right?

So, here’s the math quiz. Part one. If you’re driving 15 miles, say from Coupeville to Ault Field, at an average speed of 40 miles an hour, how long is your journey? Twenty-two minutes and 30 seconds. Okay, part two. If you have to slow down to 10 miles an hour behind a cyclist, wait for the passing lane to be clear of on-coming traffic, pass and accelerate back to 40 miles an hour, how long is your journey? Fifteen seconds to slow, 30 seconds to wait, 15 seconds to accelerate: total, 23 minutes and 30 seconds. One extra minute. Can you spare a minute?

One last thought. Since 2004, a Washington cyclist has been killed by a car, on average, once a week. When it’s car versus bike, the bike always loses. So, please, when you see that cyclist ahead of you, give them a brake. Thanks.

Ron Rhinehart

Oak Harbor

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