I’m a cyclist. I love to ride my bike and when I go for a ride, I do so on the shoulders of the highway.
When I ride on the highways, I’m often nervous because lets face it, it’s not just me out there. I’m sharing the road with cars, motorcycles and semi trucks.
On July 4th, on a highway only a few miles from my home, a highway I ride frequently, a cyclist was hit and killed by a vehicle. The news flew through the community quickly. Okotoks is a small town. An active town. And the news hit hard.
I must say that at the time of writing this, few details about the accident are known. It has been reported that the cyclist for some reason, swerved unexpectedly into traffic. Perhaps due to a trouble with her bike, maybe she swerved to avoid debris on the road, it’s not known. It’s also not known what the driver of the car was doing at the time. Like I said, few details are known at this time. It was an accident, a tragic accident.
What is known is that a young woman is dead and the community is shaken.
As a cyclist myself, the news has hit a little too close to home for myself and for my friends who are also cyclists. We’ve ridden this road. A lot. We’ve all experienced moments where a truck and trailer has come a bit too close as we’re pedaling, or a car has come up behind us and honked, scaring us into the gravel. I’d like to say that this never happens. But it does. More often than I’d like. I’ve experienced cars that actually drive closer to the shoulder and the bikers as they pass. Why? Are they trying to prove a point that they’re a car and I’m a bike? I’ll never know.
Every time I get on my bike and head out on the road, I’m taking the chance that this young woman took. I take the chance that the drivers will be paying attention. That no one will reach down to write a text message while they’re passing me, that they won’t come too close to the shoulder, that I won’t encounter a pot hole or piece of debris at the wrong time.
It’s a risk I take. And now I’m shaken.
My friends and I have been texting, messaging and talking about what happened. The thing is, it could have been any one of us. Scary.
Nothing can bring back the life that was lost, but please, please, next time you’re out driving on the highway and you see a cyclist, share the road. Be aware. If there’s room, move over into the next lane, don’t honk or do anything unexpected.
And cyclists, we all need to do our part. Ride single file, don’t make any sudden moves, be aware of vehicles.
Please. Share the road.
Please keep your thoughts, prayers and well wishes with the families of both the victim and the driver of the vehicle.