Monday, November 9, 2009

Rules of the Road for Bikers

As a little kid, I remember very clearly listening to my mother tell me that bicyclists need to follow the rules of the road, just like drivers. Granted, at that point, I wasn't riding my bike in very heavily trafficked areas (around the park, to my friend's house a few doors down, etc.).

Now, I sometimes ride my bike to work, which is a 14 mile ride on a mix of trails and roads. I've continued to follow my mother's advice...for the most part. I admit, I'm guilty of blowing through stop signs (when there's no traffic). Let me just say from experience, stopping and starting is a lot more difficult for a bicyclist than it is for a motorist!

I ran across an interesting article (Stop Means Stop in Slate Magazine) this morning. This article discusses whether or not there should be a separate set of rules for bicyclists. As a sometime cyclist, I completely understand the desire to not exactly follow the laws (stopping is hard; sometimes there are more direct routes than what you could take in a car). As a sometime motorist, I sometimes almost run over cyclists who are not obeying the law and are putting themselves in dangerous situations (like the woman riding the wrong way on M Street during rush hour when the sun is directly in front of the driver, or some of the lovely gentleman crossing K Street on a diagonal at a 4-way stop without stopping).

After reading the article, I think my mom is definitely a vehicularist, while I fall more on the facilitator side. I love riding on bike trails and feel much, much safer when I'm in a bike lane on the road. Where do you fall?

Image source: Wikimedia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I prefer to ride my bike and operate like a car. For the most part, I don't like bike lanes for a variety of reasons(there are those who do and don't and a lot of published info on pros / cons) and prefer to ride as if I'm a car which is what the law reflects. However, I acknowledge that it takes nerves and skill that many don't have or care to have.

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