Our fair city has pushed for drivers to share the road with cyclists. Other than downtown, where whole lanes were eliminated on many streets to create a dedicated cycling lane, all other streets were not changed. Even when there was road construction to fix our many potholes and deteriorating road surfaces, roads were not widened in order to create more space. At best, a lane was eliminated in parts to add a cycling lane. That was small and ineffective at best (my opinion).
As a result of the fear many cyclists have that drivers are not going to be cordial and respectful of cyclists on the road, many cyclists ride on the sidewalk.
And this is concerning on many fronts, especially pedestrian safety.
The other night, Trappar and I walked to the library to return a book for my wife. It was a glorious evening, we had a quick pace, and Trappar was very obedient when he stopped at every intersection and waited for the command to “heel.”
We also had to use our quick (me?) reflexes to get out of the way of cyclists riding on the sidewalk. Sometimes a pair rode abreast and this forced us to walk on the grass or get run over.
How selfish and inconsiderate can you be?
Every walking/cycling path in the city has signs that indicate cyclists must yield to pedestrians. I endorse this.
When I see parents riding, without a helmet, and guiding their kids down the sidewalk I harken back to growing up and learning how to ride safely on the street. The other day, we noticed a woman with her child riding on the street, both with helmets, and she was advising on how to drive on the less busy side streets. “Stay close to the curb.” “Use proper hand signals.” Etc.
But, in a classic case of “that which we permit, we promote,” when serious cyclists ride abreast on the street, do not obey traffic signals, zip in and around traffic at stop lights, at least I know where others think they can get away with not following respectful rules.
What happens in your business? Do you allow bending of safety rules? Have you stopped to consider the long term impact and potential problem that gets created when issues compound and pile on each other?
What happens in your business? Do you allow some sales reps to discount “a bit” just to get the sale? Do you allow everyone? Have you studied the total impact of “just letting it happen once?” This is how bad sales habits start.
What happens in your business? You have company vehicles that are not clean – do you have a cleanliness policy (I hate policies, but if people cannot understand…) or at least a standard expectation? Do people driving your company vehicle know they create a bad impression of your brand when they are poor drivers and do not follow the safe driving rules?
What happens in your business? You deal directly with customers and your staff sometimes have a bad day. How do you help people understand that customers really don’t care about your bad day – they care about receiving excellent service. Do you advertise that your service is the best? Do your employees understand what this means and how they are expected to deliver? Maybe they have suggestions on how to get everyone onside with the standard because they can see when a teammate is not pulling their weight.
You can apply this assessment to every part of your business to realign and ensure everyone is operating to the same, and ideally safe, standards. Setting the standard and living it is one of the most powerful change tools that can be used in an organization. And this always starts at the highest level of leadership.
Or are you content to let things slide once in a while?
And to all those riding on their bikes on the sidewalk. I have often thought about sliding the figurative stick into your spokes to teach you a lesson about respect.
Fortunately, Trappar has me trained and we will be “the bigger people” and move out of the way. I promise to just mumble my annoyance.