Did I give that car on the interstate enough room when I passed?
Was I far enough behind the crosswalk when I stopped at the light?
Did I give the cyclist/ pedestrian enough room when I drove by?
This last issue is one that always bothers me. I know roads were not just made for cars, but it is nerve-wracking to deal with folks walking or bicycling along twisting roads with no bike lanes or sidewalks.
I am one of those people who creeps along behind a biker for a mile if I have to, until there is room for me to pull almost completely into the other lane to pass them. And then, I still check my rearview mirror to make sure I didnt unknowingly swipe them off the road.
See what I mean about being paranoid?
I know other drivers do this, too, because I see them swing out of their lanes in an effort to be courteous and safe. I do not have a problem with people using the road to get from point A to point B any way they can, but I do ask for a little courtesy in return for sharing the road.
For instance, going into downtown Ringgold the other day, I saw three people walking, not in single file, not by the road, but three-wide with one person actually on the road. This forced drivers to swerve around them, in heavy traffic, with cars coming the other way.
Or, there was the time last week when, headed out of town, I came upon a person bicycling along Hwy. 41. That road is pretty twisty on the stretch right outside Ringgold, and things get a little scary when someone is hugging the side of the road on a bike, trying to navigate between the steep drop to their right and the moving cars to their left.
Although most drivers are careful, terrible accidents can very easily happen. A few years ago, a man was biking along a steep mountain road in Ellijay, and he was hit by a driver who did not even realize the man was there until it was too late. It was a horrible situation for all involved and impacted so many lives besides those of the driver and the cyclist.
Although it is nerve-wracking, sharing the road is one of those things drivers will just have to keep doing when there is a need for it, but it is important for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians to remember that safety is critical here, and even a small mistake on anyones part can lead to tragedy.
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