Friday, January 23, 2009

Sharing the Road---Are You the "Other Guy?"

Cyclists. Pedestrians. Skateboarders. Motorcyclists. Other drivers. Buses. We share the road with many different types of road users every day. Sometimes it gets overwhelming. Sometimes we get angry and resentful: "Cyclists never signal. They never stop at stop signs." "Pedestrians always cross where they're not supposed to." "Bus drivers always cut me off and never put on their yield signs." It's always the other guy. But think about it. Sometimes, when you're a driver, you're someone else's "other guy." When you forgot to check you right mirror before making a right turn and scared the cyclist who was coming up on your right; when you went around a car that had stopped for some reason and discovered that reason was a pedestrian; when you were talking on the cell phone and didn't notice you were riding right in the bus' blind spot.

No matter what mode of transport we are choosing for that particular trip, we are sharing the road. Sharing not with other vehicles, with other PEOPLE. People who have families, friends and co-workers who love them and count on them to get to and from where they are going safely, just like you do.

Though the Metro area strives to be a model cycling and transit city, we have a lot left to do, a lot of conversations to have, and lot of changes to be made. The most important change, however is not one that must be implemented city-wide or state-wide. It starts within you. It begins with the understanding that WE ARE ALL TRAFFIC. The person piloting the vehicle with the most speed and mass has the greatest responsibility. You are responsible for seeing other road users, even when they are hard to spot. You are responsible for helping someone's son, daughter, sister, brother, mom, dad, friend, co-worker get home safely by not being the "other guy".

What did you do today to take responsibility for getting yourself and those around you home safely?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Welcome to Drive On!


How often do you take it for granted? Living in the Portland Metro Area, it is easy to get a little spoiled when it comes to transportation options. We have a pretty awesome public transportation system. Last April, Portland became the first major US city to be designated by the League of American Bicyclists' as a Platinum-level bicycle friendly community. We have lots of citizens and elected officials who care deeply about creating better, safer places for everyone to get around by whatever means they may choose. Is it Utopia? No. Could it be better? Of course! But the fact of the matter is, for many of us, there isn’t much of a struggle to find reliable transportation. But the other fact of the matter is that no matter how big the platter of choices, there are still tons of people in our community for whom the choices seem scarce. They find their access to transportation cut off by a variety of circumstances.

And that’s where YOU come in…

You’ve discovered that there are people who fall through the cracks. Maybe it’s because you’ve had personal experience with the lack of transportation in your own life, or maybe you just love to drive and you’ve found a position that lets you do so while helping others…whatever the reason, you’ve decided to be a community transportation driver. Some of you get paid, many of you volunteer, but all of you have chosen to help the community in a way that often goes unnoticed by the general public. Most people do not realize how important transportation really is until it is missing in their lives, or in the lives of people they care about.

So that’s why we’re here: simply “to link accessible, responsive transportation with community needs”.

Thank you for all you do.
Drive on!