Letter: Motorists need to know bicyclist rights
Being a frequent bicyclist, I’m used to prolonged horn-honking, profanities, aggressive passing, howling turbo chargers, and even trucks rolling coal in my face.
This past Saturday, while riding in the barely visible bicycle lane on Pitkin Avenue in Glenwood Springs, a young man in an old, small pickup slowly passed me and said something through open windows as he extended his right arm holding his cell phone. I didn’t hear him and replied, “what?” He repeated, again undecipherable and extending his arm to the right, cell phone in hand.
So I checked my rear pocket to verify my cell phone was still there. After he drove off, I figured out he was motioning with his cell phone telling me to use the sidewalk.
This particular motorist was not rude, which is a rarity. Rude or not, I’ve noticed a huge percentage of motorists do not understand bicyclist rights. I encourage everyone, bicyclist or motorist, to visit http://www.bicyclecolorado.org, hover over “Ride Colorado” at the top and select “Rules of the Road” from the drop-down menu.
On the Rules of the Road Page you’ll immediately be informed that “in Colorado, bicyclists and motorists have the same rights and responsibilities when using public roads.”
There are three important take-aways in the Driving a Motor Vehicle section (scroll way down) to understand: 1. “Be courteous, share the road and obey all traffic laws, signs and signals” (which applies to bicyclists as well); 2. “When passing a bicyclist, allow at least three feet of space…”; 3. “It is often illegal for bicyclists to ride on sidewalks. They should be riding with traffic, not against it.”
BTW, if you’re a bicyclist interested in really experiencing hostile motorists, ride U.S. 6 between Rifle and Silt. That’s a stretch frequented by a certain class of pickup drivers who will never accept bicyclist rights, law or not.
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