A letter from Davidson resident and bike shop owner Ty Burns
To the Editor:
I have given serious thought to the article that was recently published with regards to cycling in Davidson. (Feb. 17, 2012, Photo commentary: Is Davidson really bike friendly?”)
I am not sure any one person is truly an expert on whether Davidson is a bike friendly town.” But given that I live in Davidson, I own bike shops in Davidson, Huntersville and Mooresville, and I ride four to six days a week, I just might be in a position to offer a few thoughts.
I have been riding for many years in many states and towns and I have seen varying attitudes between cyclists and drivers.
I have polled many cyclists in the area and, truthfully, the parking on Davidson Concord by the moms picking up or dropping off little ones was not an issue in the least. Most roads do not have a bike lane so if they accidentally block a bike lane for a few moments its usually a non-event.
The issue is the relationship between cyclists and drivers, and a lack of understanding or knowledge between the two. Let me give a few examples.
Many cyclists do not like for drivers to “give a honk.” Often, this just startles someone.
Cyclists do not appreciate drivers’ zooming by with little room, (the law says give 3 feet)
Cyclists really do have as much legal right to the road as drivers.
Cyclists do not like it when a driver zooms past just to get to a stop sign first, especially when the driver ends up in between a group of riders, (I promise in most cases they are going to go around you anyway)
On the other hand drivers hate it when cyclists ride two and three abreast, blocking the road and making it impossible to pass.
Drivers hate it when cyclists cut through traffic or run stop signs. If you have as much right to the road then you also have the responsibility to follow the laws.
Drivers do not appreciate it when they can’t get around cyclists, causing them a big delay.
So what’s the answer? We cyclists and drivers need to remember that we all are drivers and often cyclists, too.
With all that said, yes, we have a lot of opportunities in Davidson to improve the relationship between cyclists and drivers. But for the most part, we are in a pretty good place. Davidson drivers overall are considerate, caring and thoughtful. Many times when I have been stopped on the side of the road on my bike, someone in a car has stopped to check on me. I cannot count the times a driver has slowed or stopped and waved me on when they absolutely did not need to.
When we are riding in groups and we are holding traffic up, often one of us will make sure the road is clear and wave the driver on. It is very much appreciated and the drivers show it.
Drivers: You do not hear us, but we are always saying, “Car back, car up, single up” as we ride. In most cases, we really do care and do not want to cause hardships to you anymore than you want to cause us hardships.
There are exceptions on both sides, but there always will be.
So while we may have some issues in Davidson, there are many other places that have a lot more opportunities for improvement than we do. I consider myself lucky to live, drive and ride in Davidson, and this makes me realize I need to be a little more considerate on the bike myself.
So if you see me on the road, wave and I will do the same. And folks, for the most part we really aren’t worried about you accidentally blocking the bike lane, but just remember to look back for me before you open that door or pull out into traffic. On the other hand, if I come up to a stop sign and there is no traffic either way, I will probably roll on through.
Owner, The Spirited Cyclist bicycle shops.