Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A view from the center lane

A reader named Anne Marshall writes in with something for us all. She writes so well, I'm giving you the whole piece:
First I want you to know that although I am not a cycler, I have every respect for those who are, their equal rights to the road, and their sole rights to bike lanes (which I wish there were a lot more of). However, I have no respect for people, whatever their vehicle, who do not follow the laws that exist to keep us all as safe as possible. Here in Miami there is a large population sector who feel it their privilege to ignore any inconvenient law. Unfortunately, that group includes many cyclers as well as drivers.

Here is my personal peeve. As a driver, I sometimes find myself slowly following behind a bicycler in a stretch of street where I cannot pass for a bit. That is OK-not a peeve-and it is their legal right. Since they are traveling more slowly than me, once I do have a chance to pass safely, that's that. But frequently that isn't how it works. Instead, at the first traffic signal where I'm held by a red light, the cyclers breeze by me and straight through the intersection with the red light glaring. Now when the light changes and I proceed, I am again behind the slower bike traffic and have to pass them again. I have actually passed the same group of bicyclers three times after they ran successive red lights. This would not happen if they adhered to the laws of the road that we are both obligated to follow.

I just wonder if cyclers are aware of how frustrating it is when a driver watches them pedal straight across an intersection with a red light? Red lights mean stop and wait for green. They do not mean stop if there is cross traffic in the intersection which is how many cyclers appear to interpret red. I hear many (extremely valid) complaints from bicyclers about driver misdeeds, but I never hear them admonishing their own group to respect the laws that govern us all. Personally, I would like to see a campaign directed at getting ALL users of the road to respect each other.

Thanks for letting me air this frustration. It is something I've long wanted to express to the cycling community.

Anne Marshall

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