Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cyclists have the same rights as motorists

In a recent debate in the newsroom with my colleagues, we talked about the rights bicyclists have when it comes to sharing the road with motorists.
Since I am a biker, I objected when I heard cyclists should use the sidewalk and also when I heard we should ride against the traffic.
Both are unsafe myths.
According to, cyclists and motorists share the same rules. Riding on the left hand side of the road is illegal. Riding on the sidewalk is not only dangerous, it isn't practical. Have you ever tried to ride more than a few miles on the sidewalk?. It's not possible.
Another argument my colleagues made was cyclists should ride closer to the curb. But this isn't always feasible. If you ride too close to the curb, you don't leave yourself enough room and cars often come dangerously close. If you leave enough room between you and the curb, drivers are forced to go around. It gives you a buffer in case something goes wrong.
Other interesting facts I learned from include:
* The rule for making turns is the same for cyclists and motorists - merge to the appropriate position and turn either right or left.
* About 30 percent of serious cycling deaths occur at night when only four percent of cycling is done.
* You are three times as likely to be involved in a crash if you ride on the left-hand side of the street.
Since bike season is in full swing, please share the roads.
There's nothing worse than cycling on the side of the road and having a car almost sideswipe you to get around you.
We are both trying to get to a destination.
We both have the right to arrive safely.

-Theresa Neuhoff Audia


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