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The Madera Tribune

Cars vs. bikes: Learning the rules

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webmaster | 04/24/12

The good news is that people are becoming more aware of bicycling. Two weekends ago, Rotarian Peggy Gregory and others sponsored a bicycle ride along the Fresno riverside trail, and this past weekend, the Optimist Club of Madera raffled 40 bicycles and 45 bike helmets to kids at the Fit for Life Triathlon at Lions Town and Country Park. The Optimists also provided a bike safety course.

However, the bad news is that not all motorists are eager to share the road with bicyclists, and not all bicyclists know enough about the rules of the road to keep from being dangerous to themselves and motorists.

Here are some of the infractions noticed over the past few days:

  • A bicyclist goes through a red light at Sunset and Schnoor avenues, nearly colliding with a car that had just driven legally into the intersection. In that particular case, the man on the bike was in the wrong. The law treats bicyclists as it treats motorized vehicles — the rules of the road are the same for both. Bicyclists definitely aren’t pedestrians, nor does the law treat them as such. They are supposed to stop at stop signs, yield right-of-way when required and not weave between cars in slow traffic.
  • Bicyclists using the sidewalks to ride on. Not being pedestrians, bicyclists on their bikes aren’t supposed to ride on the sidewalks. If one is walking one’s bike, the sidewalk is okay, but not while riding. How many times have you seen people riding their bicycles on the sidewalk, or have nearly been bowled over by a sidewalk-rider?
  • Motorists passing bicyclists close enough to shove the two-wheeled vehicles off the road. It’s all right to pass a bicyclist, but you must allow enough space between you and the bike in order to pass safely. That sometimes means waiting to pass until other traffic has moved out of the way.

If motorists and bicyclists both are courteous, the roads can be safe for all, and the many advantages of bicycling can be realized.


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