Cyclists and Runners constantly face the problem of vehicles disregarding their space, so how do we learn to share the road asks Nandini Reddy.
Civic agencies around the world have demarcated roads with special lanes for cyclists and runners. If you are in Chennai you would have seen the green square and boards urging you to give room to the cyclists. The world standard for motorists is to maintain 400m distance from cyclists when they spot them on the road but how many of us really respect that rule or show consideration to runners and cyclists who are cruising along the roads.
While the worldwide Share the Road campaign has entered its 10th year, in India we still struggle to make people understand why runners and cyclists deserve their big of space on the road. If you have ever tried you have been most probably met with remarks about why runners should stick to parks or cyclists should be on trails. But as a motorist you are responsible for sharing your space with to others on the road.
Why walk, run or cycle?
All over the world people are choosing to walk or cycle to their destinations. Here are a few reasons why?
- Most use them as a short distance transport till they can reach the public transport hubs.
- They seem to be faster mode in densely clogged roads
- More environment friendly
- Healthier mode of transport
- Cheaper and more economical mode of transport
If we see walkers, runners of cyclists on the road it is the responsibility of the motorist also to ensure their safety.
How can we Share the Road?
If you want to Share the Road then you need a change of attitude towards pedestrians, runners and cyclists first, so in order to achieve the change we need to
- Treat cyclists as we do other vehicle drivers
- Be aware that there are specialized lanes for their safety
- Do not pass too closely to them
- Check all your mirrors before turning so that you do not hit cyclists
- Slow down when they are moving across the road
In general the idea is to be aware and cautious that there are all forms of traffic human and vehicular on the road and they all have equal rights.
Responsibility of Runners and Cyclists
As much as the onus is on the motorists to ensure that they give adequate respect to the space of cyclists and runners, equal caution must be exercised by them also. As a runner or cyclists you need to
- Respect traffic signals and road marking
- Be attentive while on the road
- Do not listen to music on high volume
- Cyclists should not ride on pavements
- Cross the roads at designation spaces and when it is safe
The idea is to build a vibrant community that is active and in order to do so it is important that we include all forms of transportation and vehicles.