During the summer it’s not unusual for the temperature to reach above 100 degrees in many parts of the country, even in the shade, which is a cause of concern for anyone who is trying to nurture a garden. Trying to combat an untimely death to plants and flowers that you have lovingly cultivated and nurtured can be like fighting an uphill battle in the never-ending heat waves that plague summer months. However your plants don’t have to disappear once the summertime hits and, armed with a few helpful tips and tricks, your garden can thrive despite record-breaking temperatures and the relentless rays of the sun.
- Choosing plants that thrive in your normal weather pattern and the area of the country you live in is the first step to having a healthy garden.
- You can’t always forecast when the summer will be unseasonably hot and dry, however keeping up with the weather forecasts from your weather stations will help in making decisions to keep your garden growing during a dry spell.
- One water-saving method is to use mulch. How much mulch you need will depend on the size of your garden, but mulch is known to help retain the moisture from rain or from your own watering system.
- Never water during the heat of the day. The sun has a way of evaporating the water faster than the plants can receive nourishment from the water. Try to water early in the morning or later at night when the sun isn’t out to ensure your plants get the most water possible.
- Use a watering spike – this is simply a sprinkler nozzle on a large plastic reticulation sprinkler extension with a connector to the hose
- In times of heat shock, a seaweed extract based liquid fertilizer treatment often reduces heat stress and it may help protect the plant in future. You can read more about that here.
- Using a water wand will aid in watering plants without force. Spraying too hard may harm the plants during drought.
- Conserving water should be a way of life, and knowing to use our supply correctly will also aid in keeping plants healthy. For instance, use the wand on the hose to water the roots. The roots actually give the growth above it a drink from its supply.
- A soaker hose laid around the plant on the ground will also soak the plants and use less water
- Understanding that there is no life form that can live without water, we must plan our gardens knowing we have a good water supply close by. Some plants we can over water, while others need more TLC where a drink of water is concerned.
Hopefully, despite the long, hot summer days, by using these tips you have success when harvest time comes. By carefully paying attention the temperatures and providing your plants with plenty of water and love, your garden should survive the hottest part of the year.
As our society has become more mobile, we are witnessing our senior citizens become more mobile as well. More and more seniors are uprooting out of their long-time homes and moving around the country, something that is vastly different than the norm where senior citizens would stay in one place for long periods of time, settling into the community and establishing roots. Here are ten reasons that have contributed to this phenomenon:
- They have chosen to downsize – Larger houses become too much to take care of as they get older, making it hard to keep up with all of the tedious house-keeping tasks. Plus, seniors generally don’t need as much space as they once did, making smaller spaces infinitely more attractive. And because some have lost spouses and are now alone, they may choose to eliminate a lot of their furniture and other possessions by giving them to their children, selling them, or giving them away. By downsizing their possessions they also end up needing to downsize their living space.
- They want convenience – Some seniors are moving into apartments or townhouses so they don’t have to do yard work or keep up their yard as they go through the various seasons, depending on the type of climate they live in. Moving to an apartment or townhome gives them the added benefit of having an association or grounds manager that will maintain their yards so they can still enjoy them without all the work.
- Moving into town becomes a great option – If they have lived in the country, they may want to move into town to be closer to shopping centers and medical facilities. There is also security in being closer to doctors and hospitals as they age and more medical issues arise. Plus, being in a town means they’ll have to do a lot less driving when they need to run their errands, and provides the additional option of public transportation.
- Retirement communities attract many seniors – 55+ communities offer more affordable housing options and social interaction with others their age. Many also have a lot of amenities which are right there in their neighborhood such as pools, exercise rooms, planned activities, and maybe even golf courses.
- Retirement gives them time to travel – Now that they are no longer employed, they have time to travel. Some seniors have chosen to sell almost everything and live in a RV and travel around the country. Other seniors choose to live in a RV to have the flexibility to volunteer for different organizations in different locations. Many of these organizations give them a place to stay while they do volunteer work for them, and then the seniors move on to another location. There are also opportunities for retirees who live in campers to work as hosts at campgrounds which give them a place to stay plus a little extra income.
- Snowbirds chose to move to warmer climates – As seniors start going south for the winter on a regular basis, they make connections in those areas and decide to move there to be closer to friends. They like the warm weather and get tired of living in two locations and having to maintain both places.
- Some choose to live near their children – There are a couple reasons why seniors choose to live near their children, such as they may need the help of their children, so they can stay home if they begin to fail physically or mentally. Or for others, they just may be tired of traveling to see their children and grandchildren and want to become part of their lives on a more regular basis, and so they choose to live near them.
- It’s a good time to experience new places – Now that they are free from working and are still healthy, it is a good time for senior citizens to take the plunge and live in that location they have always thought would they’d enjoy. With nothing holding them back, they may decide to take advantage of it while they can and make the move.
- Some actually take on a new vocation – Retirement income may not be sufficient to support some seniors in the lifestyle they desire. In this situation, they may relocate for employment opportunities.
- Assisted living or nursing homes become a necessity – This is probably the main reason seniors change addresses. They can no longer take care of themselves at home, so they make the hard decision, or it is made for them, to move into an environment where care is readily available.
It is a big decision for senior citizens to make the move to a new home or location, whether the decision is made from choice or out of necessity, despite how common it’s becoming.
We could all learn a thing or two about fundraising from churches. Few and far between are the organizations or individuals quite as adept at gathering large sums of cash, or in as many ways. Here is a list of ten unique ways churches raise money:
- Tithes – Sure, there are other groups that have membership fees and dues, but who else can point to their rulebook, and with a straight face demand 10% of your income? It’s not so much an entry fee to the pearly gates for most congregations, but what pays the bills.
- Bazaars – Some churches will sponsor bazaars or carnivals to raise money. Kiddie rides, concessions and game booths are a fun way for people to contribute to the cause. You can even volunteer to help out, making it a perfect time to practice being a carny.
- Car Washes – Many churches as well as schools will gather the congregation together in swim attire to offer car washes to the general public. Setting up several teams into interior and exterior squads helps move a lot of cars, and raises a lot of dough in a single day.
- Bake Sales – This is one of the more, shall we say, tasteful fundraising methods we’ve ever seen. The congregation can put together a selection that would be the envy of Sara Lee herself, and make a pretty penny selling it all.
- Bingo – One of the most popular, and profitable fundraising events, it will fill a hall with gleeful participants, and shouts of “Bingo!” faster than you can say I-25. Not all churches are willing to view this as good clean fun, however, and eschew this method.
- Raffles – Door prizes and gifts can be won with the purchase of a ticket. The holders of the winning ticket numbers go home with fabulous prizes. Can someone say, “Reverend Monty Hall”?
- Bible and Book Sales – Many churches have bookstores right in the building where members and guests may also purchase other merchandise including CD’s, apparel, games and gifts. This represents a significant source of fundraising for churches so equipped.
- Concerts and Events – Ticket sales to concerts, guest speakers, plays and shows are another form of fundraising which, for larger congregations, can mean some pretty large gate receipts. Some just ask for voluntary contributions, while others are more specific in the charges.
- Prayer – Sometimes it’s just a matter of asking for help, and like manna from heaven, it frequently pays off. It’s advisable to keep this technique going even when you don’t need the money, by the way.
- Solicitation – Whereas supplication involves going straight to the top, this method hits a little closer to home. Just ask the congregation to give ’til it hurts, and then maybe a little more. That’s how we make sure that those who haven’t got enough are taken care of.
No matter what method a church uses, it pretty much boils down to the same thing. Like any other non-profit organization, they need to keep the lights on and the employees paid. Raising money is often the only way they have of doing that.
The annual cost for disposing of junk mail in America runs well into the hundreds of millions of dollars, and for anyone with a mailbox this figure shouldn’t be all that surprising. The staggering amount of throwaway marketing mailings that we collect everyday may provide job security for postal workers, but it clogs the nation’s landfills and clutters our homes. The next time you check your mail, instead of chucking those papers sight-unseen into the garbage, why not give one of these fun ideas a try?
- Paper Mâché – While it’s certainly a surefire hit with the smaller set, adults can get in on the artsy fun with craft projects made from advertising circulars too, making it a fun project for the whole family. In addition to providing the paper necessary for your masterpiece, those sales papers can be spread across your work surface to protect it from drops of paste, making clean-up afterward quick and easy!
- Play Store With Sample Credit Cards – A cursory examination of sample credit cards sent out as a marketing tactic will almost always determine that the name is generic and the number invalid. After making sure that none of your personal information is imprinted on a plastic card, have a heyday playing “Store” with the smaller members of the family.
- Make Origami – The Japanese art of creating graceful objects from folding paper, known commonly as origami, can be a fun and relaxing way to spend idle time. A quick visit to your favorite search engine will turn up dozens of tutorials for creating everything from cranes to elaborate flowers.
- Teach Kids to Play Paper Football – One of the most beloved time-wasting institutions of childhood is Paper Football. Get yourself reacquainted with the proper folding techniques, and then teach youngsters to do the same. A brief run-down of the rules will have everyone giggling in no time.
- Customize Magnet Ads – Stripping the magnetic backing off of larger cardstock ads is the work of a moment; smaller printed magnets can be glued or painted over. Letting your imagination run wild will leave you with a diminished junk pile and a stylish refrigerator.
- Make Paper Pulp Beads – A quick tutorial for creating fashionable, customized beads for jewelry-making from paper pulp is easy to find online; a quick web search will no doubt turn up a full page of results. The next time inspiration strikes, hit that pile of junk mail for your paper supply!
- Start a Garden – Relatively inexpensive, paper pot makers are easy to find from online retailers and in gardening stores. Starting your plants from seed in recycled paper is a great way to boost your eco-friendly impact while reducing clutter.
- Make Your Own Recycled Paper – For advanced artists, the supplies and methods used to make recycled paper can get quite intricate. More casual crafters, however, may prefer to use an inexpensive paper recycling kit, which yields beautiful results for scrapbooking or card-making.
- Play a Prank – Perhaps not suitable for the younger members of the family, getting a laugh at the wasteful mailers’ expense can be a great way to blow off steam. Simply stuff the pre-paid envelopes with all of the rest of your junk mail after being sure that there’s no personal information enclosed. Though this paper is likely to end up in a landfill, the occasional envelope will get your point across while keeping a mail carrier employed.
- Create a Mosaic – While traditionally made of colored glass or tile, there’s no rule saying that mosaics can’t be made of brightly-colored bits of paper as well. Simply cut out your desired shape, and paste it to a heavier piece of cardstock. The results are sure to be stunning!
These are merely a small sampling of the things that you can do with your unwanted mail. Once you start, you’re sure to find dozen of your own clever uses!
Though many people argue that snail mail is going the way of the dinosaurs, there are actually several reasons why this isn’t—and shouldn’t—be the case. The impact of the U.S. Postal service is a bit more far-reaching than many people may realize; here are ten of the reasons why this service isn’t quite the relic you may think.
- Supplying Medication to Housebound Patients – For Americans with illnesses that leave them housebound but aren’t serious enough to justify the expense of full-time home healthcare, the Postal Service’s next-day mailing service and six day schedule help to prevent complications that can arise due to missed medication. In addition to this, the six day work week also helps mail order medical supply companies keep their costs down, as expensive overnight charges can be avoided with proper timing.
- Plays a Major Role in the National Economic Structure – More than 8.5 million people are employed within the mailing and shipping industry, which supports almost $1 trillion dollars in annual economic activity.
- There’s Still a Need For Postal Services – Almost every business, from the largest corporation to the smallest Mom and Pop operation, relies on the Postal Service for the delivery of advertising, billing, and goods. Though it may not seem like it as more companies take steps to go paperless, there are still a vast number of services that are only offered via mail.
- Even Private Shipping Companies Use The Postal Service – One of the arguments that many people make against the U.S. Postal Service is that there are other companies offering the same services, such as UPS or FedEx. What most people don’t know is that deliveries on the local level are regularly handed off by these businesses to the Postal Service, who actually completes the delivery.
- Physical Goods Can’t Be Emailed – Technology hasn’t quite reached the point of sending a tangible item digitally, and until that day comes all of those orders we place to online retailers still have to be processed by brick-and-mortar facilities and delivered by people.
- Potential Damage to Publishers – While you can certainly read the latest issue of your favorite magazine on a tablet, the vast majority of Americans prefer to receive their magazines and newspapers in print. Additionally, greeting card companies, who still rely greatly on the Postal Service, could take a substantial hit if postal reform includes a major hike in postage prices or the closing of more offices.
- Rural Americans Have No Other Choice – It may be difficult for city dwellers to imagine, but there are still a large number of Americans in rural areas that simply do not have the option of high-speed internet service. For these families, the Postal Service is still a very important part of the way they communicate and receive periodicals.
- The Universal Service Obligation – Private carriers can exclude certain areas in their delivery realm, leaving residents without access to their services altogether. The U.S. Postal Service, however, has the “universal service obligation” to deliver everywhere.
- A Sense of Community – For smaller towns especially, post offices still serve as a hub of the community in many ways. It’s not unusual to find bulletin boards advertising services inside the post office, along with a feeling of local pride. On a larger scale, even seasoned urbanites tend to view the post office as a link to both community and government.
- The Safety of Mail and Mailboxes – Because the Postal Service holds the monopoly on mailbox deliveries, the safety of citizens’ private information and correspondence is protected to a large extent. Having a single, dedicated mail carrier in a given neighborhood means that there are only two groups with access to that mailbox: designated postal workers and the family who lives at the address. In the event of postal privatization, that monopoly would be lost, giving any courier access to information that could potentially be used to nefarious ends.
The congressional solution to the Postal Service problem is to simply slash jobs, close rural post offices and put an end to the six-day delivery schedule. While this will certainly save money in the short term, the damage to the long-term economic fabric could be substantial. The ripple-effect of these cuts will be felt by both private and business mail customers.
Learning to type is one of those crucial skills that everyone needs to know, especially considering how commonplace computers are becoming. They’re in our offices, our homes, our schools, our cell phones… they’re everywhere. Some employers have even made typing skills a job requirement, having prospective employees take typing tests before they even interview. Mastering this skill early on is the best way to tackle it.
- Texting – You may think this is a joke, but with how often kids are on their cell phones these days and the fact that most cell phones keyboards mimic computer keyboards, texting really is making people better and more adept at typing. While it may not be the preferred way for kids to learn how to type, it is rather effective…
- Typing games – Any game that makes a learning experience fun is a great way to get kids involved and ‘studying’. A lot of typing games are so geared towards looking like a game that kids don’t even realize how much information they’re absorbing in the process. For instance, when I was growing up I learned how to type playing Mario Teaches Typing – it was set up exactly like the Mario video games and every letter you typed correctly made Mario jump up and bump a coin out.
- Typing sentences – While it may be a little more boring than learning to type while also playing Mario, typing certain sentences repeatedly will help you learn the lay of the keyboard and get comfortable with all of the letters, obscure ones included. Sentences like “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” and “pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs” are effective sentences to practice typing when you’re trying to learn how to type without looking at the keyboard.
- Websites – There are a plethora of websites out there that are geared towards teaching you how to type correctly – some free and some for a fee. Websites are a nice tool to use because you can access them virtually anywhere with an internet connection and practice to your heart’s content.
- Software – Contrary to websites, you can also buy software to install on your laptop or desktop computer that will help you learn the ins and outs of typing. The benefit to having software is that you don’t need an internet connection to be able to use it. It will also give you all of the relevant information you need to know, like your accuracy rate and speed at typing.
- Typing Tests – The internet has plenty of online typing tests you can take to gauge how good you are at typing under pressure. Most of them are timed and some of them don’t allow you to delete so that you can see how well you type without backspacing. You should consider taking a typing test throughout your learning experience to assess your progress and see your improvements.
- Toy Computers – If you want your kids to learn how to type early on you should consider investing in a toy computer for them that has preloaded games and quizzes on them so that they can get familiar with the keyboard layout while they’re still young. This allows it to become almost second nature.
- Computer Classes – Most schools and local colleges will offer typing courses that you can enroll in throughout the year that will teach you or your children everything you need to know about typing correctly and effectively. Since no one wants to use the hunt and peck method for forever, these are a good way to learn correct techniques and have a teacher there to ask questions to when you hit a snag in the learning process.
- Practice with the keys covered – One way to get comfortable with typing without looking at the keyboard is to cover kid’s hands while they’re typing so they are forced to learn the layout of the keyboard and rely on instinct to type the right letters.
- Hide the letters with colored tape – Another way to get kids used to typing without relying on looking at the keyboard is to place colored masking tape over the different letters on the keys. Cover the letters that each finger uses with the same colored tape so that they remember which finger touches what. This will help them learn to keep fingers on the home row and to branch out to the top and bottom rows accordingly.
Learning to type is a key skill that everyone should learn at some point in their lives and one that you will never regret investing time in perfecting. Plus it can be a fun experience if you engage the right tools to help you along the way.
Christmas season will be here before you’ve figured out what to dress up as for the neighbors’ Halloween party, so it’s not too soon to start planning. For instance, what do you get for the man in your life who knows you inside and out? No, not your boyfriend or husband. We’re talking about your proctologist.
Let’s take a moment to consider ten Christmas gift ideas for that special someone, your butt doctor:
- Beano – Hey, it’s the least you can do to make life rosier for your favorite doctor. A gift-wrapped case of this stuff for his office would do wonders for the, um, ambiance.
- Hand Warmers – This is the gift that keeps on giving – at least for the next seven hours – for a whole day’s worth of appointments. Your doctor will thank you, and everyone else who is booked after you.
- Manicure Kit – Think of this as an investment. A gift to yourself, even. Things will go more smoothly for both of you with this thoughtful gift. Nail polish is of course optional.
- Face Shield – There are occupational hazards inherent to practically every job, and your proctologist is no different. This Christmas, why not help him face the music with confidence?
- Stick Ups – As a precautionary supplement to the Beano, this gift idea can be a real lifesaver when dealing with patients who raise a stink. They can also double as props for hands-free operation. For the bigger jobs, however …
- Bottle Jack – Let’s face it, some jobs can be more of a handful than others, and your proctologist needs to keep that other hand free for other things. And to help set the proper mood, you could combine the gift with this one. Or as a change of pace …
- A Case of Heineken – Then again, he could be a beer man. Hopefully one with a good sense of humor too. So go ahead and treat him to some Heinies he can actually enjoy.
- Headlamp – You don’t want Dr. Ben Dover to miss anything, so be sure he’s got the proper lighting. As an added bonus, you can select a model with assorted lens colors for a suitable holiday setting.
- Hand Cream – Here’s another gift idea that benefits everyone. This one makes a good gift combination along with the manicure kit. Bonus points if it contains cornmeal.
- Shinola – If you think about it, a poster ad for this stuff can serve as a sort of diploma on his wall. It’ll make it clear to all his patients that he knows his job … and the difference.
Mother Nature has been flexing her muscles in recent years,with flooding, drought, storms and record high and low temperatures. Sometimes people have been well-prepared for inclement weather, while other times have borne witness to some nasty surprises. When arctic cold whips southward, it first hits places like International Falls, Minnesota., where the locals are accustomed to competing for “coldest spot in the country”. When folks build a place up north, they don’t lay plastic water pipe in a shallow trench. No, all that gets buried below the permafrost line. But, people down in the mid-south and up in the Sierra foothills are not ready when the mercury drops toward zero. Every year we are shown clips of Florida citrus farmers trying to protect their crops from the annual “surprise” cold weather. Most of the problems involved with cold have to do with surprises, and not the good kind. Below, you will find some of the tricks Jack Frost can play, and a few tips on how to thwart the chill.
- Water Pipes – If you don’t live where pipes are routinely installed below-ground you may have to wrap pipes with insulating materials.
- 2. Doors & Windows – Wind, combined with freezing rain or sleet, can seal doors and windows shut. Usually the situation is worse on one side of the house than the other, and you may be able to open a door on the leeward side of the building.
- The Commode – Just the thought of the seat being ice-cold is enough to send someone to Amazon.com for a heated toilet seat, and there are plenty available.
- 3-Dog (or Cat) Nights – On really cold nights you may find that all your four-legged friends decide to join you on the bed. Hint: whoever gets to bed first gets the best real estate.
- Back of the Fridge – For some reason, everything that finds its way to the back of the refrigerator comes out frozen solid.
- Spouses Feet – It’s a true scientific fact that all spouses have feet that are made of ice. You can look it up.
- Garage Door Opener – Extreme cold can affect some garage door mechanisms; be careful when you choose which side of the door to park your car before the cold spell settles in.
- Outside Faucets – Outside faucets and taps are prone to freezing. Wrapping them with insulating materials can help. Letting a faucet drip keeps water in motion, and can prevent pipes from freezing. In northern climates, ‘frostless’ outside faucets are usually installed to protect against freeze-up.
- Satellite Dish – Ice storms and freezing rain can impact satellite performance when the dish gets coated in ice. Pans of hot water can fix the problem, or even a garden hose if it, too, isn’t frozen.
- The Family Car – If the garage isn’t heated the family car can get awfully cold; usually it’s the loser of paper/scissors/rock who has to go out and warm up the vehicle.
Even firewood works better if you have it in the house long enough for it to get to room temperature before you toss it into the wood stove. The best fix for winter freezing, and this hasn’t changed in recent memory, is Spring.
In today’s suburbs the houses seem to be getting closer and closer together. Soon I feel like you’ll be able to pass a cup of sugar between your windows. With this close proximity of our neighbors it’s kind of hard to not be aware of things that are going on next door. The key to good neighbor relations is to mind your own business and if you do hear something pretend you didn’t. Now, some people didn’t get that memo and are kind of nosey. Check out 10 indications your new neighbors are nosey.
- Peaking through the blinds: Do you notice your neighbor looking out their window every time you are outside with your family? The curtains are moving as you pull into your driveway. One slat in the blind is open while the rest of the blind is closed. Maybe you are all the entertainment they get in a day.
- Taking the trash out at the same time: Do your neighbors seem to take their trash out at the exact same time you do every week? That seems rather suspicious doesn’t it? It seems like they are in hopes that you will strike up a conversation with them. When you do say hello to them do they stand and talk your leg off? Maybe they are just lonely you think so you chat with them, week after week it keeps happening so that taking out the trash is an hour long event. After weeks of this you decide to sneak your trash out at midnight to avoid the neighbor.
- Asking you personal questions: While you and your family are out in the yard the neighbor appears and strikes up a conversation. No problem at this point because you want to be good neighbors, but then you think it’s odd that the neighbor asks about where your wife was last night until 1 in the morning and other specific questions.
- Neighbor gets your mail: Once or twice a month the neighbor comes bringing over your mail because they received it by “accident”. You know they are nosey when the envelopes seem a little damp like they’ve been steamed open and then resealed.
- Borrows sugar, but doesn’t bake: You know your neighbor is nosey when she comes over to borrow a cup of sugar, but you’ve never seen her bake. While in the house waiting for you to get the sugar she wanders around looking at everything.
- Takes too long in your bathroom: You’ve invited several neighbors over for a barbeque and the nosey neighbor uses your bathroom and takes forever in there. Next time you go in there everything is a little out of place like every drawer and cupboard had been gone through.
- You find them looking over the fence into your yard: While taking out the dog you look up and see your neighbor looking into your yard. When you look right at them they just walk away without explanation as to what they were doing or looking for.
- Other neighbors tell you things: Then other neighbors start knowing things about you and your family that there is no way they should know. Or they tell you that the nosey neighbor asks specific questions about you or has told them stories about what goes on at your house. They heard an argument the other night; they sure hope you don’t get a divorce. Nosey remarks that are cloaked as concern.
- Items you’ve left out for trash appear at your neighbor’s house: The baby pool that had a crack in it or the old broom that you put in your trash can appears at the neighbor’s house. You may see them using the broom to sweep the walk or using the baby pool as a planter. You are all for recycling, but it seems weird that they dug around in your trash can.
- Voices and opinion about your argument last night: You really know your neighbor is nosey when the lady of the house tells you that your husband was completely in the wrong and that you should stick to your guns. When you ask what she’s talking about she refers to the argument that she overheard last night. If this happens, I think it’s time to move.
Many cities in the United States are now seeing increased bicycle traffic. With the difficult economy and high gasoline prices, there are more people choosing bikes as a primary transportation mode. This increase in leg-powered traffic, when combined with the already high levels of motor-powered traffic, can make for some conflict on the roadways. Let’s look at 10 reasons why bicyclists and motorists have trouble coexisting.
- Speed Difference. No matter how fast a bicyclist can peddle a bike, there is no competing with a motorized vehicle for speed. When you have vehicles moving at different speeds on the same roadway, there is going to be potential for conflict and danger of accidents.
- Visibility and Distractions. Because of the narrow profile presented by a bicycle and rider, they are more difficult for a motorist to see than are other motor vehicles. When this is combined with the distractions that some motorists allow themselves while driving, crashes and near-misses are often the result.
- Narrow Streets. Increased bicycle traffic coincides with a movement in some cities and neighborhoods toward what is called “traffic calming.” Among the methods used to encourage slower traffic are the narrowing of streets and addition of mild curves. This leaves little room for a motorist to pass a bicyclist, especially when there is oncoming traffic.
- Shunned Bike Paths. Oftentimes, slimmed down streets in a neighborhood are accompanied by the addition of paved bike paths. This is a wonderful idea for maintaining safety, if the bike paths are actually used by bicyclists. It seems that there are two issues involved that keep bikes off the paths. These will follow.
- Bicyclist Arrogance. Some that choose to ride bikes for transportation or physical conditioning are determined to exercise their right to ride the roadways, regardless of the existence of bike paths and narrowed streets. It has been noted that bicyclists taking this attitude are most often riding high-performance bikes and wearing the most expensive of cycling gear.
- Walkers and Casual Riders. Bike paths are often used by walkers as well as riders, and many of the conscientious bicycle riders that use bike paths are those that are in no hurry. This can cause impatient riders to take to narrow streets rather than have to deal with the slower moving obstacles on bike paths. There is some irony in this, as the higher speed riders now become the same sort of slower moving obstacle to motorists that walkers and slow riders are on the paths.
- Motorist Ignorance. There are some motorists that don’t understand how much space they are required to allow while passing a bike. Quite often, bicycle riders find themselves squeezed up against curbs or forced into yards and ditches, as cars and trucks pass without offering sufficient space between.
- Ignored Traffic Control. Some that ride bicycles appear to think that stop signs and traffic signals at intersections are only for motorists and walkers. This could fall into the Bicyclist Arrogance category above, but it really deserves its own slot on the list.
- Between Lanes. Bicyclists have the ability, because of their narrow profile, to pass between motor vehicles in adjacent lanes when traffic is slow or stopped on multi-lane streets. This has real potential to cause conflict and/or injury. Some motorists will not see a bicyclist approaching from behind, while others may be having a bad day and do something illegal to obstruct a rider’s progress.
- Mutual Antagonism. This brings us to the last and potentially most dangerous issue, between bicyclists and motorists, and the fault can be on either or both sides. Some motorists think bikes should only be allowed on sidewalks and bike paths, and they try to intimidate or startle cyclists. Some bicyclists think that everyone should either ride a bike or take a bus, and purposely do things to annoy or obstruct motorists. Either of these can end in injury or tragedy for all. Let’s chill, folks.
Perhaps after reading of these 10 reasons that bicyclists and motorists have trouble with coexistence, we’ll all be just a bit more aware and considerate of each other. At least, one can hope that is the case.