Chief Blogs About Sharing the Road
Thanks to Andrew for sending this.
It’s always nice to have law enforcement remind the motoring public of our right to the road and their responsibility to pass us safely… even if they have to wait a second.
Today’s post in the Lincoln Nebraska Police Chief’s blog is about sharing the road with cyclists. It’s pretty good.
Sharing the road is not just polite, it’s the law. Bicycles essentially enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles on the public streets. Motorists need to accord bicycles the same right of way, following distance, and passing protocol that they would another automobile. I see a lot of impatience here. Some motorists view a slower-moving bicycle as an obstruction. Any avid cyclist has their stories of Beavis & Friend flipping them the universal peace sign, crowding them to the curb, making a right turn directly in front of their path, launching a Big Gulp grenade, and otherwise pestering them with obnoxious and dangerous behavior.
Note that Lincoln has more restrictive laws regarding bicyclist lane position than we do. Cyclists are not allowed to ride 2-abreast and there is no exception to the far right law for a narrow lane (however, I would argue the word “practicable” covers this, too… it is not practicable to allow a motorist to squeeze past in a narrow lane).
He covers “practicable” better than most:
Crowding the curb is a safety risk for a cyclists, so a couple feet to the left is generally what is practicable… The seam where a concrete curb joins the pavement is prone to cracks, crevices, and pot holes, so a wider berth may be needed. Some roadways have drainage grates that will swallow a 1″ tire and wheel. A row of parallel-parked cars is risky, and cyclists generally need to move out to the left by the approximate length of a 1972 Monte Carlo’s door. The right-hand side of the roadway is impractical when you are preparing a lane change, a left turn, or getting positioned at an intersection to avoid right-turning cars from cutting across your path. Moving away from the right side in these circumstances complies with the “close as practicable” rule in the law, and motorists just need to deal with that, treating cyclists with the same respect as any other vehicle.
Trouble is, some motorists don’t treat any other vehicle of any kind with respect.
I have said this before, other motorists harass me way more in my car than they do on my bike. I can’t go anywhere without the grill of an SUV filling my rearview mirror or people angrily speeding around me because I’m going *gasp* the SPEED LIMIT! Impatience and lack of civility is an issue that affects the entire community, not just us. More on civility in a future post.