Clovis drivers could be more bike-friendly

Several weeks ago, we made a long anticipated trip to Lubbock, Texas, for the first Friday evening monthly arts tour. Trolleys and buses are provided to take guests from venue to venue.

As it becomes rather crowded on the public transit near the 9 p.m. closing time, I noticed that every male over the age of 12, self included, was doing the courteous thing we were taught to do in training as gentlemen. Obviously, I refer to offering the seats available to women and senior adults.

I remarked to my wife that this seemed to be a significant difference, when one boards a bus in West Texas, or Eastern New Mexico. Manners have not been forgotten, and I could imagine the same bus boarding in, say, Philadelphia, with every person scrambling for a seat and gender or age not being considered.

All the more noticable and obvious, then, was my experience this past week riding down Norris on a bike. You see, I, like many of us, have become used to local patterns of being treated with courtesy and respect.

Such courtesy did not seem too embedded, however, in the possibly unaware person who came up behind me. Bicycles, as most area drivers realize, are vehicles, too, and with the growing number of cyclists, that bears repeating.

To state the seemingly unmissable:

1. When there is a clear left lane in the same direction,as with Norris, is it really necessary to see how closely you can cut it with a guy on a road bike? They put the passing lane there for a reason.

2. It's not only bad manners, but dangerous, to blast your horn at a biker when you are ten feet behind him, or closer. In fact, if the biker is inexperienced, it seems like a good way to startle him, or her, into veering the wrong direction.

I have it on reasonable authority that the same blindness also afflicts some drivers in regard to motorcycles. I've never ridden one, and don't care to, but the road is a common commodity to be shared, with biker, cyclist and pedestrian, alike.

It would be comforting to assume that the tendency to ignore runners, cyclists, etc., is limited to young, inexperienced drivers.

Unfortunately, it isn't true.Having seen him, I'm willing to guess that the driver of the truck which almost blew me off the road was driven by someone old enough to be on Medicare.

There is, by the way, a time and place to use one's horn on a bike. A different time this week, I was coming down the same road, and veered to avoid a pothole. A driver about 20 feet behind me gave a small toot on the horn, just so I would be aware of the fact he was approaching, and not veer too far.

Please, whether or not you are among them, be careful and observant of runners and bikers. There seem to be more persons taking part in fitness oriented motion activities, and especially in the heat, a lot of us are choosing to do so, after the temperature has gone down.

Clovis could use a lot of improvement in the area of being bike friendly, but, for the most part, driver courtesy is not an issue. That makes it all the more surprising, when someone seems to go out of his way to be discourteous. Discourtesy to a biker or jogger could easily result in tragedy.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis Christian High School. He can be contacted at:

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