In the wake of tragedies, a call for the highest standards of safety

The Cleveland cycling community was shaken to hear of two separate hit and run collisions that took place on Saturday, August 25th. The first happened around 12:30pm. Patrick Miner, a visitor from Pittsburgh, was enjoying a leisurely ride from the Chagrin Reservation to Downtown Cleveland. Along his route, he was taking the Morgana Run Trail. When crossing the intersection of Aetna and the trail, Patrick was struck on the side by a motor vehicle and knocked off his bike, suffering damage to the bicycle and injury to himself.

The second happened at the intersection of West Blvd and Clifton later that evening.  Cyclist Elizabeth Deering was headed with a group of friends to an organized social ride when a motorist failed to yield and turned into Elizabeth.

The most disturbing part of both of these collisions: in both instances the motorists did not stop; they drove off as if nothing had ever happened.

As advocates working for safer streets, Bike Cleveland believes people must be responsible for moving carefully and without harming others, whether they are riding a bicycle or driving a car. The motorists who injured Ms. Deering and Mr. Miner lacked care and compassion.

Bike Cleveland hopes that all users of the road will learn from these senseless tragedies and respect the rights that cyclists have to operate on the road as any other vehicle. When moving around our city’s streets — whether driving or bicycling — we all must hold ourselves to the highest standard of safety, and as vulnerable road users, cyclists and pedestrians must be prioritized to ensure our safety.

These rules and practices protect all of us: none of us are solely motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians.  The person driving this morning may walk across the street in the afternoon and ride a bike in the evening. Changing modes of transportation does not entitle us to act differently nor should it allow others to behave rudely or dangerously based on whether we are in a car or bus, riding a motorcycle or bicycle, or walking.

Over the next month, Bike Cleveland will be launching a “Call for Artists” to develop a public awareness campaign to educate the motorists that cyclists are on the road, we belong on the road, and they need to treat us with respect. We hope this campaign will put a stop to motorist-cyclist harassment and help to ensure the safety of cyclists on the road. In addition to the campaign we will also be working with the Cleveland Police on a Bike Safety Task Force to ensure enforcement of the Bicycle Transportation Safety Ordinance.

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Volume 1, Issue 6, Posted 10:30 AM, 09.24.2012