By SUSAN GORDON
Imagine a cyclist heading home after a great day of off-island riding. He has his evening planned. He has tomorrow, the week and perhaps long-range plans made for further excursions, working on his house, his vacations and other aspects of life that we typically take for granted.
In the next moment, he is on the ground. A car, turning left, makes contact and sends the cyclist flying. He hits the pavement. A rush of adrenaline floods his body in an attempt to shield his mind from the onset of searing pain from serious injuries.
Next comes the 911 call. Then paramedics, firefighters and the RCMP arrive. There is a rapid backup of traffic and curious onlookers as the cyclist — now an accident victim in the blink of an eye — is facing a life changed by drastic circumstance. All he was doing was riding home.
There is a group of runners on Salt Spring who count the cyclist among their friends and fellow athletes. They have sadly been witness to multiple accidents and many near-misses involving cars, runners and those on bicycles over the past few years. In some cases, the issue could be a distracted driver, or one who does not anticipate the rate of speed at which a cyclist or runner might be traveling. Sometimes the driver just can’t see a pedestrian or cyclist if they are wearing dark clothing.
The increase in aggressive driving habits, attested to by those who are sharing local roads, has reached an apex. In any case, everyone has had enough.
In light of last Monday’s accident on Fulford-Ganges Road, several local runners have created a social media campaign that is destined for a viral thread among those who feel the need to raise awareness for safer conditions on roadways, dividing responsibilities to “see and be seen” equally among drivers, runners, cyclists, walkers, and horse-back riders. Photographs contain subjects engaged in aforementioned activities dressed in bright, high-visibility clothing and accessories. The hashtag #SeeMe is encouraged for use by anyone wishing to convey the message of safe road sharing.
As the busy season approaches on Salt Spring, we are faced with tourists who are unfamiliar with our roads, both as drivers and participants in various forms of recreation that may have them traversing our pathways and roadways.
Those of us who live here are well aware of the dangers, whereas many visitors will not be as cautious. All drivers are urged to be patient when encountering people on foot, bikes or horses, and to comply with the law when passing.
Nobody wants to be involved with the consequences of causing bodily harm to someone who is simply on the road to go home, get to work or school, enjoy some exercise or explore our beautiful environment.
Please post photos on your social media feeds, engaged in your road-sharing activities, dressed in high-visibility clothing and/or accessories, and Tweet, Facebook or Instagram with #SeeMe. We can do this!
The writer is a member of the Salt Spring Sneakers.