Whether we realize it or not, how we interact with each other while we get from point A to point B in our daily lives reflects the zeitgeist of our city. It doesn’t matter your mode of transport, what matters is how you interact while in transit.
At times, moving by car or bike or foot transforms us to the better; at others, to the worse. Either way, it reveals our better angels and our warts.
This holiday season, begin a new tradition. In a way, it will be harder than making a donation or buying someone a gift; in another, it will be simpler and easier. Pay attention to how your daily trip actions speak about you to others.
For example, ride with the flow of traffic, not against it. Ride and walk to be visible and predictable. Even if you don’t choose to cycle commute during wintry conditions, you’ve still got options. Slow down when you drive; someone’s life may depend on it. Provide plenty of stopping space for yourself going into intersections in case someone you don’t see is or will soon be biking or walking there. Give yourself more time to get where you’re going so you don’t feel tempted to rush and ignore a rule of the road.
Thankfully, this isn’t a trend you have to start from scratch; it’s already a movement with members. Seven year resident of Bend and Bike Around Bend reader Clayton wrote on our facebook page: (emphasis is mine)
“I have been amazed at how polite Bend drivers can be. More often than not, when I am looking to cross the road (from anywhere when cars have the right of way), they stop. They treat me like a pedestrian, not like a vehicle, even when I am ‘being’ a vehicle, such as at a stop sign, waiting for a clearing in traffic to merge or cross. Thank you Bend, for being so polite.”
We could debate the legality/propriety of waving people through an intersection, but that would miss the point.
Bring a positive change to the ethos of Bend rather than debasing it. We all can make Bend a better and safer place to walk and bike (dare I say even drive) to work, school or run errands. That would be a priceless gift to give each other this holiday season.