The Fayette Citizen-Opinion Page
Wednesday, August 26, 1998
Biker looks at life, seeks help in making Fayette riding safer

Letters from Our Readers

Biking for life... let's ponder that thought, what does biking for life mean? Does it mean biking to improve the quality of life? Does it mean biking until the end of your life, or does it mean the next time you ride a bike might be your last?

My children had given me a bicycle for a birthday gift. I was up until around 11 p.m. transferring the light and speedometer off of my old bike. At about 5:15 a.m. the next morning I awoke. About 5:45 a.m. I was on the road, and by 7 a.m. I was in the emergency room with a broken leg.

I'm amazed at how much impact words have on us. Let's ponder life.

L - Living a long life, loving to live, family life, quality of life.

I - Synonymous with me, mine, plans I may have, second half of my life, I can do it.

F - Family, fun, fitness, facts of life.

E - Environment, esteem, educate, energy.

Another word, like, "huh!" - Describes the impact that a 1988 Oldsmobile had on me on the morning of May 23, 1998. As I was being hit, my thoughts were, "I can't believe this is happening," on my way through the air I'm thinking, "I can't believe this has happened." And after three months of recuperation, "I still can't believe it happened."

It did happen! I was fortunate, the accident only injured my leg; it could have taken my life.

It was two days before my 50th birthday and I had been saying for months, "I'm about to start my second half of my life." To prove my vitality I had planned to ride to Warm Springs, round trip. My plans did not include being in the hospital.

Sometimes we do not meet our goals. We then have to set new ones. Since I was not able to ride my bicycle to Warm Springs on my birthday, I postponed it until Labor Day.

The D.O.T. has a designated route which will some day be marked by "Share the road signs." This is a great ride and you are invited to ride with me. I am more determined now than before to achieve my goal. I will never be the same. How many times in a life time do you turn 50? Psycho-cybernetics says to stay young, "Look to the future, be cheerful and be optimistic."

Biking for life... why do we ride? To relieve stress, enjoy the rural scenery, solve problems, be a better person for doing it, for physical fitness, to prevent heart disease, or just for an alternate means of transportation.

What can we do to help prevent another accident?

First, we must educate the public that bikers have the right to ride on the roads as well as motor vehicles. Look in the Georgia Drivers License Manual. Each of us should know the rules that are in that manual. The more bikers we have on the roads creates more visibility and more awareness of them by motorist.

Let's work with city and county officials to create more friendly driving conditions for motorists and bikers. Each of us should have input in upcoming Land Use Plan by talking to county commissioners or writing them letters. Ask our county commissioners and state representatives for signage similar to state D.O.T. for the "Share the Road Program."

Most of all, when we are behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle, please watch out for bikers and pedestrians. Volunteer to help create a bicycle users group for Fayette County. Ask the road department to include room for bicycles when improving roads.

I'm making it my personal mission in life to ride a bicycle and improve riding safety for others in Fayetteville, Fayette County, and across the country.

In response to Chuck Garwood's excellent letter in The Citizen Aug. 19, "Fayette drivers are mostly courteous to bike riders," I want Chuck, other bikers, and motorists to know, as a result of my accident, I've vowed to be an advocate for bikers.

Ever since this has happened, I've tried to look for something positive out of the accident. To work toward preventing someone else from being hurt or possibly losing his life, to me, would be positive.

Mark Dobson, of the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign has shared with me information on starting a bicycle users group in Fayette County, and is willing to help. Anyone wanting to support by spending a little time to make biking safer in Fayette County please call me at 770-461-1880.

My efforts are for those who have not yet been hit by a vehicle. Will you help? Please become involved, and support bikers.

Biking for life... let's ponder that thought... it's something to think about! Will you help?

Carleton L. Williams

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