But it didn’t end there.
There are now 250 million registered vehicles on U.S. roads. Americans are buying almost 16 million bikes a year. About 700 people a year die in bike accidents, and 45,000 are injured. In the past 80 years, there have been 44,000 cycling fatalities. Between 2006 and 2010, 29 bike riders were killed in the Washington region.
Recreational and competitive cycling have soared in the 21st century, and the number of people commuting by bike is estimated to have increased by 43 percent since 2000.
The number of bikes in big cities — including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and the District — has increased exponentially. They seem to be everywhere, and with them, frustration has grown among many drivers who already feel pinched by the congestion that often creates nightmarish commutes.
The Share the Road campaign has been around for a while, but here’s some frank explanation about how riders and drivers can coexist in peace.
10 things every driver should know about sharing the road with cyclists:
●You look for pedestrians when you’re making a turn, right? Why not take a couple of seconds longer to look for a cyclist? The rider has the right of way if he’s going straight and you’re turning right.
●The bike lane serves a purpose, and it isn’t for you to park in, even for “just a couple of seconds.” When you do that, cyclists have to swerve into traffic lanes — lanes in which drivers don’t expect them because there is, after all, a bike lane.
●You may never feel more powerful than when your foot’s on the gas pedal, but if you are at fault in a collision with a cyclist — even if you just “brush” against the biker — you might lose your driver’s license for a while and your private auto insurance forever. You could be looking at criminal charges, too.
●Riders go through stop signs. It’s illegal, and it can be annoying if they do it cavalierly. Other cyclists slow down, look both ways and then roll through. Usually it’s because their shoes are mechanically attached to the pedal. Yes, they can clip out, but they opt not to.
●Don’t count on a cyclist to hear your car coming from behind. A rider is hearing a lot more noise than you are inside the car with the windows rolled up. And some foolishly listen to music while they ride. But don’t lean on the horn.
●Wonder why that bike rider stays five feet away from the row of parked cars as you’re trying to navigate a narrow street? Cyclists call it being “doored.” If someone swings open the door of a parked car, the cyclist who is too close goes down. With many drivers pausing to check text messages or finish phone calls before they get out of a car, there’s no telling when a door will pop open.
●It would be great if every street had a bike lane and every road had a wide shoulder, but they don’t. Even when they do, there are things that you might not notice that push cyclists into the traffic lane. It’s stuff you roll over — potholes, sewer grates, pavement cracks, branches, broken glass, junk that falls off cars or out of trucks and the McDonald’s bag somebody tossed out the window.