The Ghost Bike

“Where are we going, today?”  asked the students as they loaded into our Driver Ed car.   I suppressed a smile as their eyes grew wide in disbelief at hearing my response.   Our journey, that beautiful autumn day, would include a visit to a Ghost Bike.  As expected, the term had captured their imagination, and aroused their curiosity.

imageWith the first of four drivers behind the wheel, we journeyed on, as I queried them about the various warning signs along the way.  We were passing through an historical area and an area where there were bike trails and many signs indicating shared roadways and bicycle crossings.  We took note of the speed limits and discussed the curvaceous conditions of the roads and lack of shoulders.  When they remarked that the posted limit seemed too fast, we discussed the meaning of the term prudent and the Basic Speed Law.  image

Just about the time when they asked “why would anyone ride a bike here when there is not much space,” we came upon a few bicyclists.  They soon realized their only option was to stay back and patiently share the road.  We had arrived just in time to switch drivers, and we pulled into a driveway at the edge of an apple orchard.  We all exited the car, and it was then they noticed the Ghost Bike.  Not quite the adventure they had imagined.

The Ghost Bike marks the time and place where lives were forever altered.
The Ghost Bike marks the time and place where lives were forever altered. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”

In that sobering moment, as I explained the history of the Ghost Bike, they could see the consequences of irresponsible driving and how it changed eternity for at least two families and their friends.  The return journey was quiet and thoughtful, and careful; and hopefully they will return safely as Responsible Drivers from all of their future journeys.

Enjoy your journey.  And please remember to share the road.  Blessings to you!

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Yes, We Still Have To Share

Look Ahead!
Look Ahead!

Get Off The Road. Use The Sidewalk!  That is the voice of a driver I witnessed trying to edge a bicyclist off the road with his car.  Sadly, he did not read page 89 in the NYS Driver’s Manual and does not understand that even when we’ve outgrown the toddler stage, we must share the road if we are to arrive safely.

If we’ve  not been in their perilous position, we often under estimate the risk we drivers pose to those with whom we must share the road.  We must understand their needs if we are to share  the road safely.

If you were a bicyclist…you would not have the protection a car provides; you have only two tires and must swerve or suddenly change speed to avoid hazards, the right side of the road often contains hazards that will flatten your tire.  You are not as visible as a car.  The speed of a passing vehicle may cause you to lose control.  If you are hit by a car, your chance of serious injury is very real.

Understanding these risks can give the driver wisdom in how to reduce the risk to cyclists with whom we must share the road.  Slow down when approaching a cyclist, their life is no less valuable than yours.  What if you were on that bike?  Give them space.

Look into turns before moving into that direction, and check your blind spot on your right before making right turns.  Bicyclists are allowed to share the road with us and are also supposed to obey traffic devices.  Understand the meaning of hand signals, that is their means of communication.

Be smart.  Driving is never “all about me, baby.”  Let’s all enjoy the journey.  See you out there!