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Culture

Courtesy and Sharing the Road

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Credit: Shane Franklin

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/courtesy-and-sharing-road_36081.mp3

Dr. Andy Cline is a member of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee for the Traffic Advisory Board of Springfield.  He’s also the author of Drive Less, Live More. Cline is passionate about spreading awareness of proper cycling practices.

 

 “I don’t care what kind of a road user you are, if you’re driving a truck, an automobile, a donkey cart, a bicycle, it doesn’t matter. If you are a user of the street, you owe every other user of the street the courtesy of following the rules. That’s the responsible and mature thing to do. “

 

According to Cline, around 40,000 Americans die each year from automobile related accidents in general. 

 

“If you’re driving the machine that is responsible for deaths on the order of jumbo jets every week or two 9-11’s per month, if you’re operating a vehicle that creates that kind of carnage, just in this country, [then] I believe that you need to wake up and get with the courtesy thing, and get over yourself.”

 

According to Cline, many of these accidents could have been avoided if only people were to change their focus from getting where they’re going quickly, to getting where they’re going without hitting anything.

 

“Where traffic breaks down and people get hurt and killed, are by people who have the attitude of, ‘My time is more important that yours, I’m in a hurry and I have to get there, the law doesn’t apply to me, you’re a jerk and a bad driver and I’m not.’ Say those types of attitudes, that’s what kills people.”

 

This discussion goes both ways though; it’s a two way street, if you will. Bike riders are legal users of the road, and so why do they sometimes use practices that are considered illegal for automobiles, blowing stop signs or riding on pedestrian only sidewalks?

 

“The statistics are quite clear. If you want to get hurt on a bicycle or to die on a bicycle, ride like a child. Which is what people who are blowing stop signs, that’s what they are doing. Adults who are riding lawfully are, per hour, safer than people driving or riding in automobiles.”

 

According to Cline, if drivers were to approach commuting with the utmost respect for fellow commuters, then Springfield would be about as close to paradise as you can get.

 

For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.