Our View: At our altitude, sharing the road a matter of attitude
It's also a weighty reminder that the number of bicyclists on our narrow roadways increases dramatically during the height of summer — and that safety concerns increase, as well. When a bicyclist meets a vehicle on our winding roads, the results can be horrific.
But even in the High Country, where drivers are as likely to meet a bicyclist as another vehicle, these accidents can be avoided.
In the most recent year for which data is available, 2009, bicycle deaths accounted for 2 percent of traffic fatalities nationwide. Nearly 51,000 additional bicyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes that year.
A change in attitude is a starting point in addressing these numbers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers good advice to bicyclists — wear a helmet, remain alert, use proper lighting — but none of this will prevent a crash if both motor vehicle drivers and bicyclists are unwilling to view bicycling as a legal mode of transportation.
Bicyclists older than 10 have the responsibility to ride and abide by our traffic laws. That means they cannot legally ride on sidewalks and that they must obey traffic regulations.
Drivers must respect a bicyclist's right to be on the road. Simple measures such as providing bicyclists a three-foot cushion, paying attention to cyclists as vehicle drivers perform turns and checking before opening doors of parked cars will go a long way in decreasing the threat of injury.
Bicycles on our roadways during the warm months are a High Country fact of life — and it's a fact to be embraced.
After all, for every bicyclist on the road, there's one less motor vehicle.