Barhite: Peddling some courtesyWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | email@example.com
I live near the Wabash Cannonball Trail in Monclova Township. It is my backyard.
Cyclists and walkers share the path politely with “On your right” or “On your left” called out as a warning when passing. We exercise and enjoy nature in harmony
But too many times this harmony doesn’t carry over to the streets.
With the weather staying so beautiful this fall, cyclists are taking advantage of getting in a few more miles. The same goes for walkers.
Monclova Road and the nearby streets that cross the trail are popular places for these forms of recreation.
Fortunately, my area has been accident-free. Other parts of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan haven’t been as fortunate. On Sept. 30, two people walking a dog on a Defiance County road were hit; they lived, but the driver fled. On Sept. 23, a women riding cross-country to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis was killed on State Route 163 in Ottawa County; the driver was adjusting her sun visor because of glare. On Sept. 21, a Bedford High School student was killed walking along Whiteford Center Road; the investigation is ongoing.
Mark Beeman, president of the Toledo Area Bicyclists (TAB), said one of the really important guidelines in the fall is to wear the appropriate colored clothes.
“A bright orange jersey in the spring is not as good in the fall because you blend in with the fall colors. I use blue,” he said.
Cyclists also need to travel with traffic; walkers should go against traffic. Sometimes people mix those up.
Beeman said helmets are strongly recommended for bikers. Cyclists who gather for a TAB group ride without a helmet are sent home. Reflective lights are highly suggested at dusk and dawn.
A great guideline for drivers is to give cyclists 3 feet of clearance when passing. This is a law in some parts of the country, but has been enforced irregularly, he said.
Beeman has had only one close call in the past six years. Usually, he finds if drivers exhibit some patience and courtesy, everyone will be better off.
“Look twice and give us the benefit of doubt. We are trying to enjoy the same area,” Beeman said.
Once, “someone passed me and then made an immediate right turn into their driveway. That creates an unsafe situation for no reason at all,” he said.
Beeman doesn’t anticipate cyclists putting away their bikes anytime soon. TAB took its last group ride of the season at the end of September, but some individuals ride year-round. The nicer weather will only inspire others to spend time outdoors.
“These past two years the weather has been wonderful for cycling. We have seen more and more people cycling,” he said.
Tags: Bedford High School, Brandi Barhite, Community Ombudsman, Defiance county, Mark Beeman, Monclova Township, multiple sclerosis, northwest ohio, Ottawa County, Southeast Michigan, Toledo Area Bicyclists (TAB), Wabash Cannonball Trail, Whiteford Center Road