Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The Rules of the Road, Part I
I've been think this A LOT lately. It's always gotten under my skin, but when this happened it really hit close to home. And while that accident had a (more or less) happy ending, I don't want to have to see any more Ghost Bikes in Madison or anywhere!!
As a cyclist, competitive (yes, I am using that word very loosely these days), casual and as a commuter, I try to lead by example. I wear a helmet. I have lights on my bike (and a bell). I use hand signals. I communicate with other cyclists and runners on paths (an "on your left" goes a long way and isn't very hard to say). I follow the rules of the road. I am also very aware and mindful of other cyclists and vehicles on the road. But very few are!!
@sawaboof said it best: I'm pretty over the "Share the road means give me the road" attitude. Equal road rights means equal road rules.
When on foot, few pedestrians think twice before stepping out into traffic. Have you ever been down on campus when classes let out? Walk sign, crosswalk, traffic, or not. The pedestrian mindset is that they have the right of way.
Bicycles want equal road rights, and lanes and laws, but many are quick to shirk the responsibilities of being on the road. Stops signs are run, turns are made without signaling, head and tail lights are not used.
This isn't the war that it has been made out to be. It's about being courteous and cautious of one another. It's about knowing the Rules of the Road and following them!!
The bicycle is defined as a vehicle. [340.01(5)] The operator of a vehicle is granted the same rights and subject to the same duties of the driver of any other vehicle. [346.02(4)(a)]
Before you make your next turn or lane change while driving down the road, check your blind-spots, look in your mirrors, yield to a cyclist as you would another vehicle. And the next time you are riding down the street on your bike, signal your intentions, observe and obey the traffic signs, and ride smart!
Please please pleas, for your safety, for the safety of others, for the safety of the people you care about, take the time to read the Rules of the Road and check out the Bike Fed's newest safety campaign: Share & Be Aware.