Friday, September 2, 2016

The View from the 1%: Yield to My Horse

            Only a few days ago, only a few miles from this Baltimore County, Maryland sign*, a cyclist died in a collision with a pickup truck.  Because the rider was too dead to tell his story, the driver did: the biker lost control and crashed into his pickup.**               
           Unfortunately, he wasn’t the first rider killed or injured on these bucolic country roads. Seems like these pesky bicyclists are a real threat to horses -- and pickups.
            After more than four decades of riding back roads and passing many scores of horses, I can tell you exactly how many have “shied.”  Precisely zero.  None. Not one. Never happened.  The problem described on the sign is a rare -- far less than 1% -- occurrence.
            On the other hand, I have many times almost been run off the road by massive pickups pulling even bigger horse trailers. And I can tell you  how often I am passed much closer than the legally-mandated three feet on the very same roads in the sign. Many times.  On. Every. Single. Ride.  It’s a 99% problem.
            That doesn’t mean this sign is wrong.  It makes a good point.  One of the most stirring sights you can see from a bike is a gaggle of these horse persons sprinting across a field after a pack of hounds.  I not only yield;  I marvel at the beauty of the spectacle.
            I just wish drivers would remember this “share the road” stuff when they get down off their high horses…and into their Lincoln Navigators.

            *If you’re having trouble reading the sign, it says:
Please be careful when approaching horses
Because bikes are so quiet horses do not hear you coming.
When they do see you, they will shy, endangering their lives and
The lives of their riders. Please let the riders know you are there.
Give the horses a chance to cross the road.
Riders and horses have been hurt from cyclists
Particular problem areas have been at
Butler, Cold Bottom and Mantua Mill Rds.
Please enjoy these roads as much as we do and

            ** Funny: this is the same thing the driver of the truck that hit me a couple years back said.  Since I wasn’t dead, the police and the insurance company didn’t believe that lie.

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