It’s a sentiment that we can hopefully all agree on. 

Our cars are a means of freedom, independence, and convenience. But when we get behind the wheel, we must remember that with that freedom comes a very important responsibility: to look out for the safety of others on and around the road, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists.

With tragic regularity, we are reminded that those not in cars are at a fatal disadvantage when it comes to accidents on the road (Several tragic local stories in recent news also recommend Bikes vs. Cars 2015). And yet, Cupertino is a community that values walking and biking. Mindful drivers (that means all of us behind the wheel) make that possible.

It’s easy to forget that people are a lot like dogs. We are social pack animals, often loving, occasionally aggressive, and definitely very interested in other dogs. People in cars behave similarly. When driving, we tend to look for other cars on the road. The only pedestrians we notice are those who, with frustrating regularity, use the crosswalk and cause the traffic light to take a few moments longer than we’d like. We all notice those pedestrians!

But there’s a problem with this mindset. We put people in danger by not actively looking for pedestrians and bicyclists. To make our community safer, we must change how we think about driving. Instead of seeing it as a way to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, we need to treat it as an opportunity to look out for others on the road. We must actively seek out pedestrians and bicyclists and give them plenty of space to move around us safely. 

Why is this so important? Bicyclists and pedestrians are the indicator species of a healthy community; we celebrate their abundance in the same way we celebrate birds and bees returning to our parks and gardens every spring. Bicyclists and pedestrians show us that our community is thriving and healthy and that people are out and about, enjoying the beautiful surroundings that we all share. Bicyclists and pedestrians are the ones who help make Cupertino extra special. An amazing community that values quality of life.

So, the next time you get behind the wheel, remember: being more careful makes a big difference. It may change your life and save someone else’s. Let’s work together to create a community where everyone can safely walk, bike, and enjoy all Cupertino offers.