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Trouble with bicycles in traffic

Freds Rivertown Alehouse
Published:08/20/2008 Opinion
Trouble with bicycles in traffic     Print Snohomish Times    
Trouble with bicycles in traffic
The trouble with bicycles in traffic is the gray area they occupy between pedestrians and motorcycles. When traffic is moving, cyclists want free and safe access to a lane of travel much like a motorcycle rider would expect. When traffic stops, however, cyclists act more like jay-walking pedestrians and pass between parked and/or stopped cars making their way to the head of the line at a stop sign or red light. I did it all the time when I pedaled around Capitol Hill and downtown.

Any motorcycle safety course drills into riders the fact that people in cars and trucks may look right at you and still not "see you." Even the smallest road-legal scooter is bigger, louder and, by virtue of a headlight, taillight, turn signals and horn, easier to see and hear than a bicycle and yet drivers still cut off, run into and run over motorcycle riders.

Perhaps the solution to the driver/bicyclist conflict is to establish new rules for bicycles in traffic. If you are on arterial roadways, the rules of the road apply. You can't pass between stopped cars and parked cars unless you are in a designated bicycle lane. You can't run red lights or stop signs. You must stop for pedestrians in cross walks. You must have minimum safety equipment similar to motorcycles (headlight, taillight, horn, orange safety vest, etc.)

If cyclists want the free-wheeling advantages of traveling on the road while ignoring most of the rules they'll have to accept the risks. If they want more safety they'll have to abide by the same rules as other people on the road.

If Critical Mass wants to run red lights and stop signs they should pay the same ticket as other people who violate that rule of the road without a parade or funeral permit.

Tom Davis Marysville


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