A Letter To Car Drivers, Pedestrians And Fellow Cyclists

Just recently the sports (especially triathlon and cycling) world got a little darker because of the death of three cyclists. All that’s left are memories and fear – and questions over questions.

We love our sport. We love how far cycling can take us. We love to climb a steep mountain pass. We love the downhill. We love that we can move so fast and far with the power of our own legs. We love the sweat in our faces. We love the fast heartbeat and the heavy breathing. We love it all. But when it seems to be safer to ride a motorcycle with more than 350km/h than riding a bike on an easy training ride, I have questions:
Is it our fault? Is riding a bike really that dangerous? And what can I do to avoid a crash that will end my life?

_____

Dear car drivers,

I know many of you feel like the king of the street. The road is yours. You and your car are strong. You are super fast. Driving your car is not only a way of movement – it’s a status symbol.

Beside from that, you often have to share “your road” with other people: with motorbikes, with trucks – and also with cyclists. So much to be said: that’s not forbidden on most roads. Of course we wouldn’t ride our bikes on a highway but on the smaller roads we have exactly the same rights as you.

We wear visible clothes, we put lights on our bikes, we wear helmets and we ride as close on the side of the road as it’s possible without bringing ourselves into a risk. Sometimes we have no other chance than riding on the road because there’s no bike path.

All we ask for is: please don’t pass us when you don’t have the space to leave (at least) 1.5 meters between your car and us. Please don’t pass us super close when there’s a car on the other side of the road. Please don’t cut in right in front of us and then get slower just to show us that you are stronger than us. Please don’t honk your horn for no reason – this causes a little shock moment every single time. Please don’t scream at us – most of the time we already feel uncomfortable enough.

Please remember that every cyclist is a mother/father, daughter/son, sister/brother, wife/husband, friend/whatever important person to someone. You wouldn’t bring your own family members into such a risk – so think twice: is being some seconds faster more important than a life?

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Dear pedestrians,

We often share the same bike paths in the backcountry. That is no problem at all as long as we both follow some easy rules.

Please walk on one side of the path – and don’t change the side without looking back. There might be a cyclist with +30km/h trying to pass you in the very same moment. Please don’t walk next to each other on small paths – share the place with us. Please keep your dogs on a leash to avoid that they walk into our bikes. Please take a look at your kids and don’t let them run around without looking in all directions.

We can’t know into which direction you plan to go unless you show us!

_____

Dear fellow cyclists,

I know you love to go fast, it’s pretty much fun and gives you a special kind of kick. But for your own safety, please take care.

Please wear colourful clothes when the weather is not good or it’s early in the morning / late in the evening. Please put lights on your bike to increase your visibility. Please wear a helmet. Please follow the general street rules that apply to your country: ride on the recommended side, stop at Stop-signs, don’t take someone else’s right of way, follow street lights, use bike paths when possible. Please don’t expect others to see you. Please show your directions with hand signs. Please don’t listen to music. Please be aware of your surroundings.

To all of you:
Please be repectful and careful.

Stay safe,

Liz.
A daughter to a sports enthusiastic mom.
A sister to three older siblings.
A girlfriend to a wonderful young man.
A granddaughter to a 89 year-old grandma.
A friend to many amazing people of all kinds of interests.
A 23 year-old cyclist/triathlete/photographer/sports science student who wants to be able to continue living her life for quite some time.

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