Mixing bikes, kids and cars

With the warm weather come more children playing outside and riding bikes in the street. I live off of a road that is not only busy but also narrow, windy and steep. While some drivers take care to drive slowly, there are many who tear down the road with no regard for other vehicles, much less children on bikes.

Lately there has been a group of elementary-age kids outside riding bikes, scooters and skateboards down the street. Don’t get me wrong—as someone who works with children, I am all for kids playing outside; and as an avid bicyclist, I am all for the concept of sharing the road. But these children are outside unsupervised, riding erratically, and there is not a helmet in sight. Every time I drive by, I imagine the worst: What if one of these kids got hit? What if one of them was killed? And what kind of media frenzy would be sure to follow?

So what I have to say to the parents is this: Teach your kids how to share the road; get them to wear a helmet; get outside and help be an extra set of eyes for your kids; and best of all, walk the five minutes up the road with your child to the softball-field parking lot, where there is no traffic and plenty of room to ride.

And to people driving any residential road: Slow down!

— Aileen Sutton

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19 thoughts on “Mixing bikes, kids and cars

  1. Cheshire

    Asheville’s got a long way to go to be share-the-road friendly. Sad reality: the vast majority of the drivers up here are selfish and dangerous.

  2. Beverly Reeser

    Growing up in the rural south in Georgia we didn’t have to worry about helmets and such. I still have some scarrs though and the thought of riders in these days and times is repulsive without the care of the riders themselves and especially the drivers looking out for the riders. Being free to ride your bike safely is one of my favorite memories. PLEASE TAKE CARE.

  3. Piffy!

    Funny, Chesire.

    As an Avid bike rider, I could say the same for a lot of leisure riders as well. From my perspective, too many folks go out on the road with their bikes with an “I own the road and i’m gonna teach these drivers a lesson” ship on their shoulder.

    Here’s my tip: stay off rural roads. There is no room for you there, and your endangering your life and mine by riding 5 mph on a two-lane road around blind corners.

  4. Cheshire

    “Stay off rural roads. There’s no room for you there.”

    Nice way to put a “screw you, I’ll kill you.” up there.

  5. Piffy!

    Really? Acknowledging that a rural road with blind corners and no shoulder is not the best place to go on a leisurely ride? That says “screw you, I’ll Kill you”?

    Wow, i’d hate to see how you’d interpret an actual threat.

    Are you one of those people out there to “reclaim the road”, Chesire?

  6. travelah

    Chesire, oh no, you keep riding down the lane on those narrow rural roads ….. Don’t let 6,000 lbs at 50 mph worry you.

  7. Cheshire

    “Reclaim” the road? No, I just want to be able to SHARE the road without wondering if this time will be the last time I leave my house. Why, are you determined to hoard it and never give it back?

    I’m just tired of the mentality found in Asheville that “roads are for cars, only cars, and we’ll make damn sure everyone else stays off or else.” On roads that had plenty of room at times when there was no traffic, I’ve had people swerve across 3 empty lanes to play chicken with me, only to cuss me out as they squeal tires and peel off.

    I only ask that cars be AWARE that others are out there: scooters, motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, wildlife…cars aren’t the only thing on the roads. SHARE, as you were probably attempted to be taught to do in elementary or preschool.

    Seriously…with attitudes like these, what’s the point of trying to coexist? At this rate, I’ll be the motorcyclist/bicyclist packing heat willing to put up with the consequences of defending my life. I’m fast learning that those who play nice end up dead.

  8. Cheshire

    While I’m at it, I don’t do “leisurely” rides. I commute. Point A to B. How else do you suggest I get from point A to B? Some of us actually go from town to town without a car. How else would you suggest I get from Asheville to Waynesville? How about to Hickory? If I wanted to visit some friends in Charlotte?

    That’s why bicycles are legally allowed on 2-lane highways. Before interstates, that’s how you got around. Interstates are for vehicles with engines. The rest of the roads are for getting where you’re going, even if it’s by foot or horse.

  9. Piffy!

    What’s funny to me, Chesire, is I qualified all of this by saying I ride my bike a lot. Yet, you continue to attempt to characterize me as some angry redneck trying his durndest to run down innocent bikeriders.

    You seem to be under the impression that just because something is technically legal (like riding a bike down route 9), it makes it safe. Good luck with that theory. I had a close friend and neighbor die a few years ago on Route 9 who had a very similar attitude. His “right” didnt prevent a woman from coming around a blind corner and killing him instantly, as well as endangering her life.

    Pardon the Cliche, but he was “Dead Right”.

  10. Piffy!

    [b]”At this rate, I’ll be the motorcyclist/bicyclist packing heat willing to put up with the consequences of defending my life.”[/b]

    Wow. I dont think the “law” allows for that.

  11. travelah

    Topix alert:
    Angry young ragtag hauled off to pokey after firing shots at farmer on River Road… The disheveled and angry young man continued pointing at the center line and shouting obscenities as deputies cuffed him and placed him in the back of the patrol car. The driver of the tractor hauling hay had little say other than mumbling something about “‘nother weird one thar” while grinning like a cheshire cat.

  12. Wow

    A friend was telling me how hateful Ashevillians were to each other and with such a reputation as a happy place I started surfing some of the news papers etc and it’s true. One bike rider telling others to be careful and it all turns around into death threats? What a sad little place Asheville must be.

  13. Cheshire

    “Wow. I dont think the “law” allows for that.”

    I hope it never comes to that. However, I’ve had/witnessed too many people (some with road bikes on the back of their car…why your “avid bicyclist” qualification doesn’t mean much to me) do too many stupid and illegal things that could easily get someone killed for no reason other than they’re in too much of a hurry. There’s only so much a person will put up with before they decide they’re not going to take it anymore. Under normal circumstances, I despise guns. Lately, however: after being nearly killed by people in cars (while I’m following the rules of the road and GOING THE SPEED LIMIT) who proceed to shout things like, “F– you, we’re going to kill you next time”…self-defense starts working it’s way into your mind.

    The law doesn’t allow for drunk driving, reckless driving, speeding, or using your vehicle for assault and battery. How about hit and run? Nope, not legal either…but guess what happens ALL THE TIME?

    Passing at double the speed limit over a double yellow near the French Broad River Park when I’m going the speed limit, only to pull back into the lane too early and force me to decide between eating back bumper or risk locking up my wheels…happened to me this weekend. For some reason, after holding up my hand and indicating what the speed limit was, (THREE! ZERO! THREE!! ZERO!!) this particular SUV with a nice road bicycle on the back pulled over. I was very polite about it, considering they’d almost killed me. The excuse? “But there wasn’t any oncoming traffic!” No, but there were pedestrians on both sides of the road in the bicycle lanes and I was going 5 over the speed limit. The speed limit is posted several times on that stretch. No excuse.

    I’m not being an “angry young ragtag”, as you put it, travelah. I’m simply tired of idiots treating me as entertainment. “Hey, watch this guy jump” isn’t fun when I’m the one you’re running off the road.

  14. cloudydeb

    I think the message behind this letter was to remind parents that cars don’t always see their children playing in the street before they are right on top of them and to enforce the fact it is in our own best interest as bikers, kids and adults alike, to ALWAYS wear a helmet and be aware of the danger of ALL on-road traffic.
    No need to turn it into an ugly argument.

  15. Cheshire

    Who: Not if they’re going the speed limit, or if it’s unsafe to pass. Unsafe to pass translates into situations that could likely get a head-on collision because you can’t see down the road.

  16. travelah

    … then maybe the bicycle rider should get over as far to the right as he/she/it can and avoid being a traffic hazard themselves. I can’t count the number of times I have had bicycles running in tandem down the middle of the lane with no concern for their 15 mph traffic obstruction.

  17. I’ve helped hand out bikes at the Bikes for kids event yesterday and for the past few years.

    The 10% that were picking up bikes in nice cars like the lady in the volvo that a previous poster complained about were picking up bikes for sponsored kids or families that included kids in foster care.

    Based upon appearances, 90% of the families picking up the bikes couldn’t have afforded bikes for their kids.
    Carta di credito Gratis

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