Summer weather is here, and so are many visitors and athletes. Therefore, it's a good time for what seems like an annual reminder: Let's all be cautious out there on the roads.
By now, locals probably have noticed the increase in cyclist and runner traffic along our roadways. We've got several major running and cycling races under our belt for the year and many more to come, including two bike races this weekend in Wilmington, the Tupper Lake Tinman Triathlon on June 30 and the biggest of all, the Ironman on July 22. Both locals and visitors are training for those events, as well as just being out and biking or running to stay in shape and for the fun of it.
Every year, there's a certain amount of tension as motorists, cyclists and runners all use our area's narrow two-lane roads.
To throw one more thing into the mix this year, the state Department of Transportation was supposed to finally start repaving state Route 86 between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake today. One of the busiest roads in the Adirondack Park will be slow for a couple of weeks. The lines will be re-striped to give an extra foot on either shoulder for cyclists, but a foot less for motor vehicles. It's not much of an improvement, but to get even that out of the DOT practically required an uprising. Bike lanes are needed there, but the DOT has flatly said no.
So the bottom line is that it's up to each of us to be extra-careful to avoid collisions, injury and death.
Cyclists and runners, please remember: Until official bike lanes are created, these are still roads designed for motor vehicles. Sure, we all share them, but when they get narrow, a motor vehicle is larger, faster and can do a lot more damage to others who are fairly defenseless. Ride or run single-file, and stick to the shoulders.
Motorists, please be patient. Respect the fact that these cyclists and runners have a right to be here, too, and be conscientious since they are more vulnerable than you.
Locals, remember that many of your fellow travelers - by car, bike or foot - are our guests. It is important for them not to only to enjoy their stay but to come back.
Visitors, remember that while you may be on vacation, many of those sharing the road with you are commuting, running errands, training or otherwise going about their busy lives. They have places to go and deadlines to meet.
There will be more traffic on the roads once school lets out in New York at the end of next week. More visitors. More pedestrians. More motorcycles. More road construction. More slower drivers who aren't familiar with the area. More situations and factors that can cause a tragic incident. More reasons why everyone on the road should use caution.
Please everyone, uphold your role in reducing the risk. Safety first.