In a blog posted today on Runner’s World Daily and shared with us via facebook (Thanks, Eddie!), writer Mark Remy drafted a ‘truce’ between motorists and runners. Remy was responding to the tendency of people responding to news stories where runners are mowed down my motorists with anger directed toward the victims, rather than the motorists or, say, poor road design, unsafe streets, a culture of speed, etc.
Remy remarks in the comments that he wanted to keep the pact focused on runners and motorists and to the exclusion of cyclists because, well, he is writing for Runner’s World. So I wanted to offer an amended version for your consideration. My suggested changes are written in italics and enclosed in brackets. What do you think?
Motorists & Runners [People Who Bicycle]: a Pact for Peaceful Coexistence
WHEREAS the public roads are public, and whereas there is room for everyone — drivers, runners, cyclists, etc. — and whereas rage and hostility are counterproductive and only serve to endanger and agitate everyone, drivers included, and whereas absurdities and hyperbole are never conducive to progress, we, the undersigned do hereby embrace and agree to the following.
AS A RUNNER [PERSON RIDING A BICYCLE], I AGREE TO:
1. Obey all laws, just as I expect motorists to do.
2. Conduct myself with courtesy, and treat motorists with respect, knowing that they are human beings just as I am.
3. Run [Ride my bicycle] with the understanding that, even if I am “right” or have the law on my side in a certain situation, motor vehicles are large, fast, and extremely heavy, and can kill or maim me if I’m not careful. (Or even if I am.)
4. Engage, whenever possible, with motorists in a cordial manner — e.g., offering a small wave and smile whenever a driver makes an extra effort to give me wide berth while passing.
5. Respond to anger or taunts with Zen-like calm, rather than with anger of my own.
6. Remember that when I am running [riding my bicycle] in public, I am — like it or not — a representative of all runners [‘cyclists‘], and to behave accordingly.
AS A MOTORIST, I AGREE TO:
1. Obey all laws, just as I expect runners [people on bicycles] to do.
2. Conduct myself with courtesy, and treat runners [people on bicycles] with respect, knowing that they are human beings just as I am.
3. Drive with the understanding that, even if I am “right” or have the law on my side in a certain situation, motor vehicles are large, fast, and extremely heavy, and can kill or maim others if I’m not careful. (Or even if I am.)
4. Engage, whenever possible, with runners [people on bicycles] in a cordial manner — e.g., making an extra effort to give them a wide berth while passing.
5. Pay attention to my surroundings while behind the wheel, and not to a cell phone conversation or a text message.
6. Acknowledge that there are millions of runners [people who bicycle] in the U.S. — in cities, suburbs, and rural areas of all 50 states — and that it is therefore unrealistic to expect all of them to run [bicycle] “on the sidewalk” or on a “trail”; that runners [people who bicycle] pay taxes, too; that very few, if any, of them actually run [bicycle illegally] “in the middle of the road“; and that there’s no reason we can’t all share the road peacefully.
All of here at the South Florida Bike Coalition want to thank Remy and Runner’s World Daily for offering up such a pact with humility and an honest interest in critical feedback. Please take a moment to read the original piece on the website here. Do you think that such a pact could work for South Florida? What is missing from it? Would it be worthwhile for SFBC to engage local governments and individuals to embrace such a pact? What about the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV?) We appreciate your comments – good ideas are better shared! Thank you.