Vol. 9, No. 17
April 26-May 2, 2001
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On Country Roads,
Recipe for Peaceful Co-existence

It was a fetching day, a time bursting with spring wonder. On country roads, May apple sprouted, while on highways and Annapolis gateways, tulips screamed with color so loud you worried that the police might arrive with orders to tone them down.

On this lovely recent afternoon, people hastened to enjoy the rites and rides of spring: walking; jogging; driving aimlessly in automobiles; and working in the boatyard, where people transfer volumes of dirt from their vessels on to their clothing and bodies.

Then along came the bicycles, hundreds of them, with riders struggling up Anne Arundel County hills and then coasting while the sweet spring flew by.

That's when it happened.

Suddenly, two cyclists lay in a ditch at the bottom of a downward slope on Franklin-Gibson Road, bloodied and dazed. Thanks to a well-planned and staffed ride by the CAM Corporation, sponsors of this rally and July's Cycle Across Maryland Tour, ambulances arrived and took them to a hospital. There was talk of the accident being caused by a speeding motorist, but the facts remained unclear.

Neither was seriously injured, but their day was ruined and a sickening feeling that was hard to shake overtook all of us who came upon them. Their pain suggested a caution that all of us need to carry with us like our driver's licenses and IDs.

In the months ahead, people will be returning en masse to road and street to enjoy our spectacular Bay country. Farmers will be working, driving slow, wide tractors. Neighbors, state and county workers and prison inmates will be picking up trash tossed by litterbugs. In some parts of Chesapeake Country, the Amish will continue about life's daily business in buggies. And as usual, kids will be playing, dogs strolling, cats creeping and deer leaping.

It goes without saying that for our families' sakes we need to be alert to others around us. But it's important to also remember to be courteous along the way.

Motorists especially must keep in mind that they are controlling lethal tons of steel. It is dangerous to become impatient at cyclists and other slower traffic sharing our roads. The hurried swerve of a moment can produce a tragedy that lasts forever.

Likewise, cyclists must keep their vulnerability in mind. That means, quite possibly, pulling off the road to let a string of autos and trucks pass by. Just as we've seen speeding morons behind the wheel, we've observed rude cyclists tempting fate.

Least we forget, life is not a race, whatever our mode of conveyance. There are plenty of roads and plenty to see along them, especially now. For all of us, the aim is to be around when spring arrives next year and the year after that and on and on and on.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly