It might help if you read Part 1 for the back story. The premise is that most near death experiences are not caused by road rage or any deliberate act. What I am attempting to do is list the reasons so we can engage in discussions on how to make to roads safer for all who use them.
Today’s topic is – The roads.
I’ve lived through a flood, countless hurricanes, and even a tornado. In all these instances, I had one constant, the ground beneath my feet. With the hurricane and the tornado, I was able to find a safe place to hide. low ground. In the flood, it was high ground. I have never experienced an earthquake so I don’t know the feeling of no ground. How can you mentally grasp a safety plan when you can’t trust the ground? I hope I never have to figure that out.
What I do know is the cycling equivalent. I have lost the trust of the roads. Over the years, the gradual decay is reaching the danger level. Many reports have chronicled the decaying infrastructure in this country. A 2003 report sums it up well. The report examining trends and assessing the progress and decline of America’s infrastructure was prepared by a panel of 20 eminent civil engineers with expertise in a range of practice specialties. In it, we received a grade of D+. Thanks for the plus guys!
The cause? Local and state budget deficits. So the cure is not likely to happen. I don’t want to get political here but I do want to meet the guy who convinced the roads department that tar and gravel (a.k.a. sealcoating) is an acceptable form of road maintenance.
As a driver, when I come up on a cyclist, I look at his/her movements to gauge how I might safely pass. The key is their line. I know that as I swerve, jump, and otherwise avoid the hazards of a crumbling road, I am scaring the heck out of drivers looking to pass me. Inconsistent moves are a cyclist’s worst nightmare. It’s going to take one misplaced zig or a pothole to make me the next hood ornament.