Letter to the Editor: Reminder To Motorists To Pay Attention To Task At Hand

Los Alamos
Last weekend I was out riding my bike on the shoulder out toward the back gate when a car came within a foot of hitting me. The driver was on the phone in the middle of the day, and was clearly not paying attention to the road ahead of them.
I would like to take the opportunity to remind the drivers in our community that as the weather gets warmer and people get back out on the road to please watch out for road bikers. A lot of the roads out here (Bandelier, truck route in places, state road 4) have very very narrow shoulders, requiring bikes to ride out in the lane a little. With all the distractions available to drivers these days (texting, phone calls, changing all the XM stations on your car, all your friends in the backseat) it is prudent to remember that when out on the road driving please keep your focus there, on the road driving. 
I know this is a hotly debated topic, bicycle riders constantly at odds with drivers over “being too close” or “not paying attention” and I completely realize that IN TOWN it is very frustrating for drivers when bicyclists do not follow the rules of the road (stopping at lights, crossing over multiple lanes of traffic).
Believe me when I say I have said some terrible things in my car when bike commuters cut me off at night with no lights on. However the situation I am speaking to is a different one. Being frustrated with commuters is one thing, the people who CHOOSE to cross several lanes of traffic or ride wearing all black at night do need to take more care, and will hopefully read this and be reminded that being seen is just as important as getting to work on time.
However I am speaking of a different situation, one we are lucky to have in Los Alamos. We have good roads for biking and lots of opportunity for different routes. However when I’m out on the road following the rules I CANNOT PREVENT accidents from BEHIND ME. That means if a distracted driver doesn’t pay attention and doesn’t see me, at 50 mph with little room to spare when/if there’s a shoulder we are facing a deadly situation.
Please both motorists and bicyclists take the extra time to follow the rules, focus on the task you’re doing, and put all distractions out of reach. We all want to make it home at the end of the day.

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