September 8, 2017
As cyclists, we crave that wide shoulder of a road. Smooth asphalt makes our tires sing as we share space with our fellow drivers. We know how short and sweet those wide, open shoulders can be, and that shoulder is usually gone before we know it. Given that roads weren’t exactly created for cyclists, we won’t argue with a 2-lane highway, especially if it winds through those sweet mountain views. However, politicians in Montana have proposed a bill that would ban cyclist from riding on roads with little to no shoulder.
In this unprecedented bill proposal, proponents of the ban have created a clear message that safe motor-vehicle skills are not the prerogative. Rather than work towards safer roads for cyclists, ignoring bike path creation altogether and refusing to implement cycling safety overviews to new drivers, this bill favors impatient drivers. Even though the bill’s life span ended in late April of this year, we can’t help but be disappointed in the priorities set forth in this proposal in Montana.
It’s obvious that “Share the Road” messages are not enough for motor vehicles and bicycles to coexist on 2-lane roads, especially when legislation like this arises. We need supporters who listen, advocate and have first-hand experiences with road cycling when cyclists’ needs fall on deaf ears. Drivers need to cycle, and cyclists need to drive in order for a grassroots understanding to unfold. And when accidents happen, we need advocates to fight for our cyclists out on those narrow, 2-lane highways.