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Regarding bike lanes, are those few seconds worth it?

Published: Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 10:38 a.m. CST
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Barrington Running Shop owner Mark Konicek

Mark Konicek is the owner of the Barrington Running Shop.

After reading your article in the Suburban Life, I knew I wanted to write a response from both sides of the story as I live in Barrington and also ride a bike in Barrington. I must say that both sides are clearly wrong, and both sides need to grow up. First, I want you motorists to understand that as a group, we runners and bikers are here to stay. We will continue to take to the streets to train and test our abilities as athletes with or without a bike lane.

Acting like morons while behind the wheel of a car that weighs 4,000 pounds is not going to make us go away.

I myself have been hit by a car twice while on a bike and once running, and let me tell you it’s not like the movies. You simply don’t get up and continue to move. What you can do is show some common courtesy by slowing down and moving over when passing us. Flying by us at 40 to 50 mph is going to get someone killed. I know you the motorist are in a constant hurry to get to Starbucks, the beauty salon or work.

Instead of leaving with ample time, you take to the streets like a bat out of hell and when you have to slow down to the actual posted speed limit due to a bicyclist, it frustrates you as you may have to forego your latte.

In reality, slowing down and following the rules of the road may cause you to lose what, 15- 20 seconds at the most as you safely wait to pass a runner or a biker. What do you think you’ll lose if you hit and kill one of us? Here are some facts:

An average trip to the store or picking up the kids in town takes about 10 to 15 minutes. When going 5 mph over the speed limit, you save 45 seconds on your trip. Going 10 mph over you save 1.5 minutes. In other words, you’re not saving any real time. What you can do by slowing down is save lives.  If you hit a pedestrian at 20 mph, 5 percent will die. At 30 mph, 45 percent will die. At 40 mph, 85 percent will die. As you can see, the odds are stacked in favor of the car. Also, passing a runner or a biker on a curve, a hill or with oncoming traffic is dangerous and illegal and will get somebody killed.

Are those few seconds you save that important to risk the lives of others?

Lastly, because you live in a neighborhood does not give you carte blanch to do what you please on the roads.

Now conversely, we as bikers and runners need to start showing some respect to others around us. Please use some common sense and follow the written and unwritten rules of the road:

• Don’t ride or run side by side – single file. Bikers, if you need to ride among 25 riders, go somewhere where it’s open road.

• Don’t ride or run in a group on both sides of the road: Runners run against traffic; bike with traffic. I pointed this out to a group of runners recently, and in a not-so-nice fashion, I was told to mind my own business. When your carelessness gets you hit by a car, you’ll understand.

• When running on a rural road with many blindsights, take it upon yourself to move off the road and wait till the car passes. It’s a training run and not a race. The few seconds it takes to wait for the cars to pass just may save your life.

• Bikers should use hand signals to let cars know if it’s safe or not to pass.

• Bikers we are essentially a vehicle on the road and as such need to follow the same rules as motorists.

• Lastly and this is the single biggest abuse by us athletes: If you have a drop location for food and water or are carrying product, have the decency to come back and pick up the empties and certainly don’t just toss your garbage.

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