May 17, 2010 - Mike Donahey
Monday marked the beginning of Bike to Work Week.
In Marshalltown, Mayor Beach officially proclaimed it so recently and several bicyclists showed up for the event.
Personally, I’m glad to see a week set-aside for riding a bike to work. It is a healthy activity and is good for the environment.
I’m all for promoting bicycle use. I use mine for fitness, recreation and running errands. A bicycle was my main form of transportation while growing up. I rode one to school and almost wherever I needed to be. I used one to deliver newspapers for several years.
At the Times-Republican, I featured the Iowa Valley Bicycle Club in a Marshalltimes supplement two years ago. Earlier this year, I wrote about the debate on a bicycle safety bill which made it out of committee by one vote, strictly along party lines.
However, as a bicyclist, I am concerned that much, if not all of the good will that comes out of Bike to Work Week, or bicycle rides for charity, gets lost quickly by the actions of some bicyclists who don’t follow basic traffic rules. You know what I mean.
I’ve seen my share of fellow bicyclists who don’t slow down when approaching a stop sign and simply ride through the intersection. I’ve witnessed it happen downtown from the Times-Republican building and crossing nearby intersections as well.
Other bicyclists don’t use their right or left arm to indicate turns, leaving motor vehicle drivers behind and in front in the dark as to the bicyclist’s intentions.
In the dark? How about the many, many, bicyclists who do not use front or rear lights at night. I’ve almost hit one or two who have been almost invisible while riding in the shadows along some side-streets.
I know the Iowa Valley Bicycle Club works with the Marshalltown Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to promote bike safety at elementary schools. So IVBC is doing their job. They also promote safe bicycling in their newsletter.
Now its time for all bicyclists to do their jobs. And it starts with the basics like coming to a complete stop where signed, using arm signals and having lights on at night.