Sharing Kerry’s bike lesson

John Kerry, like anybody else in high office, risks being criticized for his performance as U.S. Secretary of State. He also regularly risks being hurt while riding a bicycle — even though he wisely wears a helmet.

And while cycling on Sunday near Scionzier, France, that peril was realized as Mr. Kerry suffered a broken leg (right femur) in a tumble caused when his wheel hit a curb. The 71-year-old secretary flew home to Boston on Monday night aboard a C-17 based in Charleston.

Mr. Kerry’s accident delayed his participation in nuclear-deal negotiations with Iran — and delivered a reminder of cycling’s hazards.

Yes, cycling has individual and collective advantages. For example, a bike doesn’t consume fossil fuel or emit carbon gas. It takes up much less road and parking room than a motor vehicle. And riding one is healthy exercise.

Yet as more people use bikes for not just recreation but transportation, cyclist-motorist frustration also rises — a trend increasingly evident in our community.

Easing that tension, and reducing cycling risks, demands that people on bikes and behind the wheels of motor vehicles not simply obey the law but choose patience and courtesy over recklessness and rudeness.

The dangers facing local cyclists were grimly re-confirmed on back-to-back days in late February with the deaths of two biking commuters struck by hit-and-run drivers — one on the corner of Cosgrove Avenue and Azalea Drive and the other on the Stono Bridge from James Island to Johns Island.

Last week, hundreds of bikes went on the annual “Ride of Silence” downtown in memory of those injured or killed while cycling.

As The Post and Courier’s David Quick reported on the front page of Tuesday’s Your Health section, such commemorations have spread from Dallas, where they began in 2003, across the nation and world. From his story:

“The event’s website says The Ride of Silence is meant not only to honor those who have been injured or killed while cycling, but to raise awareness of the presence of cyclists and pedestrians and to urge all to ‘share the road.’ ”

So heed that appeal. And whether on a bike or in a car, ride with care.