1) the increased number of cyclists on the street, due in part, no doubt, to gas costing at least $3.50 per gallon; and
2) the number of those cyclists riding without a helmet.
With these things in mind, it was demoralizing, if not surprising, to return to the office to find the following e-mail from reader Daniel Tempas in my inbox:
So, I'm riding my bike to the grocery store down Crestwood Blvd. As I was turning left onto Oporto Way behind 2 cars '97 the driver of the car in front of me makes eye contact with me in her rear view mirror '97 then promptly slams on her brakes.'a0 And I promptly ran into her passenger side rear fender '97 with my body and my bike.'a0 I go over the handle bars, slide on my back in the middle of the intersection of Crestwood Blvd. and Oporto Madrid. I'm a little shocked as she drives away. Thankfully, the car behind me stopped, waited for me to get up and leave the busy intersection and to make sure I was okay. I was then asked by two other drivers who witnessed the accident if I was okay.'a0 Which, I am '97 barring a couple of scrapes, strains and bruises.
Aside from the fact that the driver in front of me left the scene of an accident '97 I would just like your readers to be conscious of cyclists on the road. I am a son, a brother and a husband and I don't want to lose my life in this city or any other because of reckless and careless drivers. Traffic law warrants that cyclists ride on the road (not the sidewalk.) Because of our state's lack of bike lanes, drivers should use due diligence and share the road. Life is too important and too short. Can we have some respect for our fellow citizens?
To say that this city embraces car culture is an understatement. A Brookings Institute study released earlier this year cited the Birmingham-Hoover metro area as having the 22nd largest carbon footprint of the top 100 metro areas in the United States. As you can imagine, the problem is directly related to Birmingham'92s high rate of single-occupant driving and extraordinarily long commute time.
It seems that choosing to ride your bike in Birmingham '97 for recreation or as primary transportation '97 is not only unpopular but perilous. What gives?