Updated: Jan 7, 2019
The simple answer is: EVERYONE!
But in reality, there are different levels of responsibilities whether you are walking, running, biking or driving a motor vehicle.
As we all know, unless you are a motorist, you don’t need a particular license or permit to access our roads—they are free to everybody and can be accessed by people of any age or creed.
Every day there are kids walking and biking to school, families out for a walk or ride, commuters driving or biking to work and buses using our roads.
However, while licenses or permits aren’t needed, EVERYBODY ON THE ROAD HAS A JOB to know the laws, obey the laws and stay alert while out and about.
Is it fair to say to the motorists hold a higher level of responsibility while out? As a motorist, I say yes we do, considering that we are the ones who have had to obtain a driver’s license for the privilege of driving. On top of this, when we are in a car, we are driving inside a secured vehicle that is designed to protect us in an accident, while others out and about “sharing the road” with us are a little more exposed. So is it our job to keep an alert eye, stop a little shorter at stop lights off the cross walk and stay “3 feet” clear of the bike lane? HELL YEAH! Just as much is it is our job to not drink and drive, to not speed or run stop lights and much more. All of this is the law and on top of that, it shows respect for other people.
At some point in our lives, we all have walked or biked someplace--it might have been when we were kids, or because we chose to do it for health reasons or convenience. We all have been there and so many of us continue to be prefere to move around that way. An an easy question I often ask myself is: “How would I feel if I were out for a bike ride or walk on the street and I had a motorist veer close to me, even worse clip me?”. I don’t wish this for myself and my guess is that nobody would wish for this for themselves! We all know how vulnerable we are when we are not in a car and the possible danger and damage our bodies are exposed to.
Drivers seem to be annoyed by people using the roads when they aren’t in cars and even when others are in their cars, they act at times like they are the only ones who are entitled to be on the road! They have someplace to be, they are in a rush, they are better drivers—whatever the reasons, we all have at times being guilty of a little “road ownership arrogance”.
Here is a little trick to snap right out of that attitude: take a moment to stop and wonder who those people sharing the road with us are? Are they a friend, a neighbor, a family member, or someone we work with? We might not know them personally but we know for a fact that they are one of those things to somebody out there who, just like we do, want them to come home safely every night.
Now, just because you are not driving a car, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a job on the road! Especially given the fact that when you are walking or biking and are exposed to cars, you are certainly not bulletproof!
Every child or adult has a responsibility to keep themselves safe by obeying the laws and following some basic safety measures:
1. First of all follow the rules of the road set forth for you like stopping at stop signs, staying in your designated lane when available, riding with traffic when cycling and going against traffic when walking or running.
2. Then, remember simple things like wearing bright and reflective clothes, flashing lights, safety helmets.
Even though you might be doing all of this, even though a motorist might be doing everything right on their end, there are still slip ups that can happen at times as nobody is perfect.
So my invitation is that whether we are walking or biking or riding in a car, we all give ourselves some extra time when traveling. That way we can use more caution without pushing to the limits and putting ourselves and others at risk.
Rules of the road and safety measures can only take us so far. In the end, is the respect that we have for one another that will ensure everyone gets home safely everyday.
RDF Vice President