Humanizing People on Bikes

21 Nov

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The advocacy group People for Bikes recently launched a media campaign to do just that.  In a way it seems odd that humanizing people on bicycles would be necessary.  We’re right there, sitting on the saddle, not looking particularly like an object or animal most of the time.

But the mentality encouraged by our fast-paced habits and road design, among other things, makes it easy to see people on bicycles, not to mention pedestrians and other motorists, in one-dimensional terms.  They become an obstacle, a menace, or just a stupid *&%$.  The key thing is that you stop seeing commonality and see only how they are not like you: a bad person in one way or another.

It’s hard to not also begin seeing car drivers in this way when you’re on a bicycle, especially when they bear down on you, pass too close and fast, or cut you off.  It also doesn’t help that a person inside a big metal box is hard to see and communicate with other than through crude gestures.

It may sound a bit flower-child-y, and this is not going to make our streets safer by itself, but trying to keep a three-dimensional view of each other on the road could help.  We’re all people on our way somewhere, wanting to get there in one piece.

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One Response to “Humanizing People on Bikes”

  1. Joe November 21, 2014 at 3:50 PM #

    Amen! Sometimes we forget we all share the same fate (and roads) and that we depend on the kindness of others for our health and well being. If that makes me flower child then so be it.

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