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Column: Bikes on the road in North Fulton
by Steve Howard
Community Voices Columnist
June 05, 2012 08:23 PM | 2607 views | 3 3 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bikes on the road test my patience. Can’t they ride on the sidewalk, don’t they have to obey the law, why do they ride in the lane when there is room on the shoulder? The roads are for cars, not bikes. Don’t those women and men riding their bikes on the roads know how dangerous it is for everybody?

Oh, I forgot to mention, I’m also a cyclist and those cars sure test my patience. Don’t they know I can’t ride on the sidewalk because it is against the law; don’t they know I can’t ride too close to the shoulder because of debris and it encourages motorists to drive dangerously close to me; don’t motorists know that the law requires them to maintain 3-feet between their car and me, even if it means crossing the center line (double solid yellow included); don’t they know if they pass me approaching a stop sign, traffic signal or their next right-hand turn that I may be in front of them again very soon or worse yet they might cut-me off?

Before I started riding, it never crossed my mind that cars and bikes are equally entitled to the road and both answer to the same laws of the road. Nor did I ever think about the fact that 90 percent of riders and motorists really are not the problem — it’s the other 10 percent of both motorists and cyclists that are causing the stress. Cyclists must use turn signals and obey stop signs. I wish motorists would treat me like another car when approaching an intersection — if it is my turn, let me go but if it is not, exercise your right to go first. If you try and “be nice” but other cars at the intersection are not aware of your generosity, then the cyclist becomes most vulnerable in the confusion. Predictability by motorist and cyclist is critical for everybody.

I am amazed at how unhealthy our society has become and the demands placed on resources because of obesity, sedentary lifestyles and Americans’ dependence on cars. No matter how frustrated we become with bikes on the road, the reality is that encouraging cycling will promote a healthy lifestyle and will have an incredibly powerful impact on our children and communities.

Let’s be a part of the solution together. Visit www.bikeroswell .com/education to learn how.
Comments
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Morris Devereaux
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June 28, 2013
There's not nearly as much CONFUSION as there is the desire to claim the protection of the law while at the same time ignoring it.

"it never crossed my mind that cars and bikes are equally entitled to the road and both answer to the same laws of the road."

Is that right? Then why do cyclists consistently, on the order of 99%, blow through red lights and stop signs at the bottom of hills? Yes, I know that makes for a much harder climb up, but if we're all following the same laws, why don't those laws apply to cyclists?

Why is it that cycleists can cut in between cars to cross streets? And let's not even get into the popular habit of multiple cycleists traveling side by side blocking an entire lane.

And after all that, we get the grass roots campaign screaming that cycleists don't get respect from drivers. Sure you do. Drivers know that regardless of what idiocy a cycleist may do, if they hit them it's going to be the fault of the driver. In spite of whatever the cyclist may do, the driver is the one who will face jail time and lawsuits. That's the thing that these grassroots campaigns never preach. You talk about making drivers aware....at what point do you start making cyclists aware?
Matt Foree
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June 08, 2012
This is a great article. Hopefully it will encourage a meaningful dialogue between cyclists and motorists. Based on my experience, there is a lot of confusion regarding the laws. We would do well to educate the public.
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June 07, 2012
As a cyclist hit by a car in a crosswalk I could agree with you more.
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