What drivers need to be told!

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by greatmeadows, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. greatmeadows

    greatmeadows New Member

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    Hi bike commuters,

    Attached is a Microsoft word document that represents a Letter to the Editor on a relevent subject. I'm going to submit it to my local paper. If you think it will do any good, why don't you do the same. Feel free to use my text or freely edit.

    Gene

    To the Editor:

    Admittedly I represent a small minority here: adults who use their bicycles for transportation, specifically commuting to and from their place of business. Let’s start with a little bit of education: bicycles like other slower moving vehicles are permitted on most state and local roads as a matter of law. The only restriction is that they obey general traffic rules and if it is safe for them to do so stay to the right so as to allow faster moving vehicles to pass.

    Riding a 30lb bicycle and competing for the same space with 3 to 6 thousand LB cars and trucks is no contest. We tend to stay to the right most of the time. However there are occasions when we need to occupy a little more space than the extreme right, (no political pun intended.)

    In order to be seen by motorists we like to ride a good 3 to 4 feet from the edge of the curb or shoulder. Using our ears and rear view mirror when a faster vehicle is approaching to pass, we usually oblige by moving over as far right as possible. Keep in mind however, we are only obligated to do so as long as it is safe for us to do so. Situations that do not spell safe are heavy sand, broken tree limbs and debris, frozen surfaces, potholes, glass and broken pavement. Under these circumstances, we try to maintain our position until it is safe for us to move right.

    Don’t make matters worse by honking or worse crowding us with 2 tons of heavy metal. 50% of the passenger cars on the road today are either SUV, s or light trucks that further exacerbate the problem by being wider than most roads were designed for. Sometimes you will need to cross the centerline in order to safely pass. If another vehicle coming in the other direction prevents that, slow down and wait until its safe to pass. Give us the same respect you would the occasional farmer moving his tractor a few miles up the road at his max speed of 15 miles/hour.

    Many of you may feel that bike riding with traffic is not safe even if it is legal. That’s surely a defensible opinion, but think a bit further, if you’ve already identified something as being a bit risky, why do you participate in making it more so via your aggressive behavior? Slow down, give us some room. There aren’t that many of us.

    One more request: while the average driver tends to stay in the middle of the lane while at speed, slowing down for a light or intersection causes a significant minority of you to veer right and hug the shoulder. (Some kind of primordial fear of the left going on here?) Please don’t do that, I need that lane to proceed.

    One more thing: we have allowed our entire culture, politics and economy to be driven and dominated by the automobile. While I deplore this state of affairs and in some small way am trying to demonstrate an alternative point of view I don’t think I should have to compromise my physical safety to do so.
     
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  2. csmallfield

    csmallfield New Member

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    That's a great letter, I will be printing it out and sending it to the various papers around. One thing you might want to add is, when leaving your car, please check your mirrors before opening doors. It is often hard to see if someone is getting out especially if their back window is tinted. I tought that lesson to a man the hard way when I hit his door at 25 mph.
    -Chris Smallfield
    City Cyclist
    or Crazy man
     
  3. tumbleweed77

    tumbleweed77 New Member

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    as i'm sure you've sent your paper... I'd still like to add for potential readers....

    don't pass us expecting to make a right turn in front of us and then stop blocking the road... it doesn't take that much more time to just stay behind and wait for us to pass the turn... turn signals are a helpful communication... and also, don't pass us to make a right turn and then slow in front of us expecting us to continue inbetween the right turning car and the curb... if you passed us, we assume that they had the intention of turning in front of us... therefore, we slow down and end up having to stop.. just turn if you passed!
     
  4. LeojVS

    LeojVS New Member

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    Yup, I will be printing, and sending to a few local papers. well done
     
  5. PembsCycer

    PembsCycer New Member

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    Many thanks for this, will be emailing my local newspapers and sending the words out.

    I cannot thankyou enough!!:)
     
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