Staff editorial 10/20: Road etiquette in short supply

Miami has a very unfortunate history of traffic accidents, and everyone, including pedestrians, drivers and bikers are partly to blame.

Bikers hit pedestrians, drivers hit bikers and pedestrians cause traffic accidents. It’s a vicious cycle that creates a lot of animosity.

Still, a lot of blame tends to fall solely on bikers. Pedestrians and drivers both have their designated roads and sidewalks, and bikers are viewed as a perpetual roadblock no matter where they choose to ride.

Cars want them on sidewalks, pedestrians want them in the street – someone is always unsatisfied.

Yes, there are inconsiderate bikers out there. There are those bike clubs that ride over the Rickenbacker and take up half of the right lane. There are bikers that ride on busy pedestrian paths and expect people to get out of their way. There are even bikers that seem to disregard their own lives by purposely getting in the way of cars.

Regardless, bikers deserve some courtesy. The law states that the minimum clearance for passing a bicyclist on the road is 3 feet wide. Drivers don’t follow this law and probably don’t even know it exists. Sharing a lane means sharing responsibility. It’s up to both parties to travel safely and respectfully.

When accidents happen that involve bikers and pedestrians, they are rarely on main roads. Such mishaps usually occur on the poorly-lit side streets with no sidewalks.

Numerous students have been harmed or killed in these situations and, even if a pedestrian or biker isn’t paying attention, that doesn’t give drivers the right to drive carelessly. Slow down a little and put down the phone when you’re behind the wheel.

The problem is a general lack of common sense from pedestrians, drivers and bikers alike. Since birth we have been told to look both ways before crossing the street. So why aren’t people more careful?

You have the power and responsibility to ensure your own safety and that of others while out on the roads.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

October 23, 2011


The Miami Hurricane

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.