Friday, May 25, 2007

Share The Road

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My son and I have just returned from a bike ride around our city...thankfully. I say "thankfully" because we were almost hit by a car. Not wanting to be overly dramatic, let me explain that it was probably just a matter of ignorance or oversight on the part of the elderly driver who pulled out in front of us, though we, who were on the main thoroughfare clearly had the right-of-way. Of course, it really doesn't matter who's right when a bicyclist is laid out in the ER or worse.

That got me thinking. You know...before we purchased our bikes just a few months ago, my family probably never really knew the traffic laws and rules as they relate to cyclists and surely we're not the only ones.

For instance, did you know that:

- Each state has their own specific bicycle and traffic laws?

- Some states define bicycles as vehicles, some as slow-moving vehicles, and some give them all the rights and responsibility of vehicles without being vehicles.

- Regardless of how it is defined, provisions ARE made for bicycles by each state and each cyclist AND automobile operator SHOULD be aware of their states guidelines.

- In states where bicycles are given "all rights and responsibilities" as other vehicles (as is the case where I live) a cyclist has the RIGHT to drive in a lane of traffic JUST like a car or truck does. Most cyclist, out of courtesy do move to the right side of the road IF the lane is wide enough that a car/truck can pass them safely, but if not...then the cyclist has NO OBLIGATION to give up the lane to the car/truck anymore than a slow moving farm vehicle or truck would. Sometimes, drivers simply MUST be patient.

I encourage each of you as drivers of automobiles to thoroughly review your states bicycle traffic laws and learn how to safely Share the Road. The next time you're on the road with a cyclist, give them space and respect. It's alot harder than it looks.

And while you're at it...think about getting a bike yourself. It's a fantastic way to spend time with your family, enjoy nature, save money (gasoline is $3.23/gal here right now) and burn some calories while you're at it.

More bicycle safety links Here


Gumbo Lily said...

GREAT post 'Chele!
When I was a teenager, I biked EVERYWHERE and nearly got hit several times because most cars do not recognize a biker as a "vehicle." I don't care if the laws say a bike is a vehicle, a car driver doesn't generally consider you one. So the biker must be on guard at all times. At least that's my take on bike law. I didn't know that each state has differing laws in bicycles. Good to know. Too bad most motorists don't know the law.
Glad you made it out alive today!


Tiffany said...

I really need to get my bike out and ride. My husband and I use to ride all the time when we were dating.

And as far as traffic laws: my parents made us read the traffic laws for bikes when we were six years old. Because we left our house on our bikes and rode to our old neighborhood. We traveled down a 4 lane highway and over an interstate overpass at age six! I think we biked about 6-7 miles across town. My mom about had a heart attack.