A cyclist’s plea: Come on community — work with me

By Hayley Norris

I ride my bicycle year-round.
In the winter, I layer up for my ride, despite the snow or the cold for many reasons; mainly because it is for good me, I enjoy it and it is one way that I choose to reduce my mark on this planet.
We all know driving in the winter is more dangerous — and so is cycling. Cycling in the winter could be less dangerous though, if drivers would do two very simple things: slow down when approaching a cyclist and pass with ample space between.
Two weeks ago was the first time this winter I rode home from work on our freshly snowed-on roads. I feared for my life a few times in a mere 5-mile ride home, because drivers would not move over for me and instead drove dangerously close to me. The shoulder is covered in snow and ice, and I have nowhere else to ride my bicycle.
I was disheartened, angry and disappointed. I am your local barista and gardener. You see me in town. You know me. Don’t run me off the road. Don’t kill me.
My words are strong because this is serious. We have to work together to make it better. I will do my part to increase the safety on our roads too. I will be visible and use lights. I will maintain my bike to ensure that I don’t lose a tire in the road or a brake. I will have good, studded tires on for the icy roads. I will also lead others by example through my work in the Homer Cycling Club.
If the bike path is plowed, I might ride there, but the road is where bicycles belong and where they are generally safer. Our bike path out East End Road is great for many recreational uses, but for a cycling commuter traveling at speeds up to 30 mph, a bike path like that creates a dangerous intersection at every driveway and business entrance/exit. A bicycle is legally a vehicle, so please share the road.
I know many of you who read this newspaper are respectful to cyclists on the road and I want to thank you for helping make our community a better place to live. To those of you who aren’t so respectful yet, come on, work with me.

Hayley Norris moved to Homer from Austin, Texas three and a half years ago. She is a barista at Two Sister’s Bakery, an organic gardener, a cycling advocate and outdoor enthusiast.

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Posted by on Nov 14th, 2012 and filed under Point of View. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “A cyclist’s plea: Come on community — work with me”

  1. raised by wolves says:

    Thank you Haley for lowering the carbon foot print in Homer. I wish there were more like you. And it IS serious how people take for granted the road belongs to “just” motorized vehicles. You are correct that a bicycle is considered a “legal vehicle,” and that others might not be aware of that fact, but regardless if they are, or not, it’s plain decent to pull away from bicyclists and pedestrians when there are possible situations to cause injury to someone … and it is the law.

    Cars are weapons of mass destruction in the wrong hands (in the right hands sometimes too), and, on icy roads they cannot always judge your speed to pull away from you, or, the fact that you are on your bicycle when they just come over a hill doing 45 mph and cannot stop, especially at nighttime! No one wants to be mad at you or kill you … these are just simple facts. Maybe you should hitch a ride in the winter time?

    My family is primal. But, we are always aware of those who take responsibility serious enough to reduce the human carbon print on this planet. Thank you again. Your furry friends and their humans.

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