Maybe the effort is being made each year and most people simply don’t realize it, but if American rules-of-the-road and other traffic safety matters aren’t being impressed upon J-1 students soon after their arrival, a good time to start doing that would be right now.
It is possible that the information is being delivered but not retained, but something isn’t right when a motorist reports a close call that, had he been a little less cautious, at least one person would have landed in the hospital or worse.
The near-miss occurred Wednesday, as the motorist was about to pull into the bus/bike lane to make a right turn onto a side street. He said the line of cars in front of him obscured his view, causing him to edge slowly into the southbound lane to be sure no one was foolish enough to bike up the lane the wrong way.
Good thing, too, because just as he had a clear view, he saw a trio of young cyclists going the wrong way headed directly toward him.
Although the motorist said he wasn’t sure the cyclists were foreign students, he felt that would be a safe assumption, considering that most residents and visitors realize just how dangerous it is to ride against traffic in a turn lane between the curb and a wall of cars.
Whether these apparent students knew better or not, it was only by virtue of the extra caution practiced by the driver that the cyclists’ visit to Ocean City did not come to an abrupt and painful end.
If traffic safety classes and advisories are already being provided to visiting students shortly after their arrival, perhaps a follow-up course is needed once they settle in to their routines.
In the meantime, however, motorists must keep an eye out for these students, whether they’re walking or riding, because chances are some of them will not be looking out for themselves.