KRISTIN ROVER
Cyclists and drivers need to cooperate

March 6th, 2014    Author: Administrator    Filed Under: Opinion

By Kristin Rover

In my career as a journalist I have become immune to writing tragic stories, but none have affected me as much as a story I wrote last week.

Frederick Carey, a local teacher, family man, outdoorsman, and cyclist, was hit and killed while riding his bike on Round Bottom Road in Union Township Feb. 21.

He was taken away from his family, his students, and many others who cared about him.

I did not know Mr. Carey, but Mr. Carey was riding his bike on a road that my street is connected to.

I ride my bike on that same road every time I leave my house for a bike ride.

Mr. Carey was hit and killed less than two miles from my house.

In 2008, I was also hit by a car while riding my bike in Lexington, Ky.

I had left the house that day ecstatic to be riding my brand new bike in preparation for a local triathlon.

I was traveling through an intersection when I was hit by a woman driving her car.

The impact left me with severe injuries, and today I still have a titanium rod and four pins in my leg.

I am thankful to be alive and continuing to participate in triathlons.

But I could have been Frederick Carey on Feb. 21. My husband could have been Frederick Carey.

The driver who hit and killed Mr. Carey was intoxicated and had a history of OVI offenses.

It was only a matter of time before Todd Shaw injured or killed someone on the road.

This incident is not just a reminder of the dangers of impaired driving, but also a reminder of a constant issue that exists between cyclists and drivers.

I believe I speak for a number of cyclist when I say Round Bottom Road is treacherous.

Not only do multiple dump trucks and semis drive by without leaving much room, but cars drive at speeds well beyond the posted speed limits (35 and 45 miles per hour).

Aside from adding a cycling lane, or even a shoulder to Round Bottom Road, I am not sure there is a solution that will appease both cyclists and drivers.

And Round Bottom Road is just one road.

Car crashes involving cyclists are happening throughout the Greater-Cincinnati area.

In August of 2012, Andrew Gast, another local cyclist was hit and killed on his bike near Lunken Airport.

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there were 18 fatal crashes involving cyclists, and there were 1,544 injury crashes involving a cyclist in Ohio in 2012.

What I believe will help save lives on any road is cooperation between cyclists and drivers.

Without cyclists and drivers working together and respecting each other’s rights, progress cannot be made to reduce the number of crashes involving vehicles and cyclists.

As a cyclist, I promise to ride in a legal manner on the road.

I promise to be aware of my surroundings and be as visible and safe as I can be.

I will wear reflective clothing, a helmet and use the proper lighting devices on my bicycle. I will signal my turns and changes in speed, and I will stop at intersections.

I promise to ride as closely to the right side of the roadway as possible, unless it is unsafe or unreasonable to do so, as specified by section 4511.55 (C) of the Ohio Revised Code.

When I am riding with a group, I will ride single file when possible and not ride more than two cyclists across (the legal limit according to section 4511.55 (B) of the Ohio Revised Code).

I promise to do my part, and I hope cyclists reading this are encouraged to make the commitment I am willing to make to cooperate with drivers on the road.

As a driver, I hope you will also make a commitment to cooperate with cyclists.

Please respect cyclists legal right to be on the road.

Please eliminate distractions when driving and focus on the road.

Please give us space when coming up behind us and when passing us as required by section 4511.27 (1) of the Ohio Revised Code.

Please look in all directions at an intersection and when making a turn.

Please don’t honk at us, yell out the window at us, or throw things at us as you drive by. These actions could be punishable by law.

Please don’t assume that we won’t be on the road during the winter or when the weather is bad. Some cyclists commute to and from work every day.

Please help cyclists like me not have to fear that the next car coming up behind us, or coming around the corner, may end our lives.

Please help cyclists like me be able to enjoy a hobby that allows us to exercise and travel while enjoying the scenery and nature around us, just as Mr. Carey was legally doing on Feb. 21.

For more information about the rules of the road for cyclists and drivers in Ohio, visit http://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Planning/SPR/Bicycle/Pages/default.aspx.

A list of car crashes in Ohio including crashes involving cyclists, can be found at http://ohiohighwaysafetyoffice.ohio.gov/otso_annual_crash_facts.stm.

A helpful guide for cyclists and drivers can be found at https://www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Planning/SPR/bicycle/Documents/ODOTCyclingSmarterGuide.pdf.

Kristin Rover is a staff reporter at The Clermont Sun.

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