I ride my bicycle year-round. In the winter, I layer up for my ride despite the snow or the cold for many reasons, but mainly because it is good for me, I enjoy it, and it is one way that I choose to reduce my mark on this planet.
We all know that driving in the winter is more dangerous and so is cycling. Cycling in the winter could be less dangerous, though, if drivers would do two very simple things: slow down when approaching a cyclist and pass with ample space between.
Two weeks ago was my first time this “winter” that I rode home from work on our freshly snowed-on roads. I feared for my life a few times in a mere five-mile ride home because drivers would not move over for me and instead drove dangerously close to me.
The shoulder is covered in snow and ice. I have nowhere else to ride my vehicle. I was disheartened, angry and disappointed.
I am your local barista and a local gardener. You see me in town. You know me. Don’t run me off the road. Don’t kill me.
My words are strong because this is serious. We have to work together to make it better. I will do my part to increase the safety on our roads, too. I will be visible and use lights. I will maintain my bike to ensure that I don’t lose a tire in the road or a brake. I will have good tires on with studs for the icy roads. I will lead others by example and through my work in the Homer Cycling Club.
If the bike path is plowed, I might ride there, but the road is where bicycles belong and where they are generally safer. Our bike path out East End Road is great for many recreational uses, but for a cycling commuter traveling at speeds of up to 30 mph, a bike path like that creates a dangerous intersection at every driveway and business entrance/exit.
A bicycle is legally a vehicle, so please share the road.
I know many of you who read this newspaper are respectful to cyclists on the road and I want to thank you for helping make our community a better place to live. To those of you who aren’t so respectful yet, come on, work with me.
Hayley Norris moved to Homer from Austin, Texas, three and a half years ago. She is a barista at Two Sisters Bakery, an organic gardener, a cycling advocate and outdoor enthusiast.