Bicyclists must follow rules of road

By Observer Upload August 22, 2012 01:41 pm
In these times of high gas prices, and the need for conservation — and exercise, we don’t want to discourage bicycle riding. But bicyclists should remember that they need to follow the rules of the road.

In La Grande, at least, it seems that many bicyclists have forgotten that the rules applying to cars apply to them as well. Bicyclists are seen running stop signs and traffic lights, riding down the wrong side of the road, and many more shenanigans.  And these are the adults, the ones that should be role models for the kids.

It’s said that 90 percent of bicyclists give all bicyclists a bad name. It’s time bicyclists thought twice about giving their sport a better name.

That means, among other things, stopping at stop signs and red lights, and riding on the road and not the sidewalk.

Wearing a helmet is not a law for adults but it makes sense. Helmets are less expensive than brain surgery.

Bicyclists also need to remember that they are often invisible to drivers. Wear bright clothing. 

Don’t ride side by side in heavy traffic. Fatal accidents have occurred in this scenario.

Drivers, too, need to make an effort to make the roads safe. Remember that bicyclists need a four-foot cushion from car doors. When bicyclists swing out around parked cars, there is a reason. Bicyclists don’t want to slam into a suddenly open door and hurt themselves and the driver or passenger.

Drivers when passing bicycles should slow down. Sometimes drivers in a hurry try to “thread the needle,” risking not only themselves but other drivers and the bicyclist in question.

Nobody needs to be in this much of hurry. This is Eastern Oregon, after all, and a big reason many of us live here is the relaxed pace of life. We can all slow down. Think a little. We can do better to prevent accidents and show each other a little respect.