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Online tips that are helpful to cyclists

Original post made by Infoguy, Encinal School, on Jan 25, 2007

<b>This letter by John Fox of Menlo Park was published in the Jan. 24, 2006, issue of the Almanac.</b>

As one of the Menlo Park bicycle commissioners, I want to thank the Almanac for the thoughtful Jan. 10 editorial "Can cyclists, motorists coexist?"
Coexistence, and better mutual understanding, is going to be improved with better knowledge and awareness of what it means to each group to "share the road." I'd like to offer some online material for both cyclists and motorists that may help with shared concerns. I hope this information can inform and lead to better understanding. After all, many of us are in both groups.
Here are some online resources:
• Everyone can benefit from reading the DMV's Driver's Handbook about sharing the road, rights of cyclists and responsibilities of motorists. These are the laws under which we all use the road. Web Link
• A cyclist's perspective on sharing the road, directed at both motorists and cyclists, can be found at: Web Link
• Safety and riding information for cyclists is at: Web Link
•An excellent local resource on cycling safety from Richard Swent can be found at: Web Link
• Finally, resources for local roadways and bicycle routes and links to local maps and resources from the MTA are at: Web Link
John Fox
Elder Avenue, Menlo Park

Comments (1)

Like this comment
Posted by Robin
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2007 at 8:32 am

The content of your links is a little confusing. Unlike the first link (DMV Driver's Handbook), the third link encourages cyclists to "take control" and use the entire lane under certain conditions (e.g., narrow roads with two-way traffic).

An excerpt from the first link:

Web Link

[Bicyclists] must ride in a straight line as near to the right curb or edge of the roadway as practical— not on the sidewalk.

An excerpt from the third link:

Web Link

"If you hug the edge, you are likely to get squeezed out.

Understand that the law is on your side. The law gives you the right to use the road, the same as a motorist, and to make other traffic slow down for you sometimes. The driver approaching from the rear is always required to slow and follow if it's not possible to pass safely.

It may seem dangerous to make a motorist slow for you, but it's not. The usual reason that bicyclists feel unsafe on narrow roads is that they do not take control of the situation. Remember, the drivers behind you don't have room to pass you safely anyway. If you ride all the way over at the right, you're inviting them to pass you where the road is too narrow and, too often, you will get squeezed off the road. If you show clearly that it's not safe for drivers to pass you, they're unlikely to try.

But be courteous. When it becomes safe for the car behind you to pass you, give the driver a wave-by signal. If you block traffic for more than a short time, common courtesy suggests, and the law normally requires, that you pull to the side and let the traffic by when you can safely do so.

On a road with two or more narrow lanes in your direction - like many city streets - you should ride in the middle of the right lane at all times. You need to send the message to drivers to move to the passing lane to pass you. If you ride all the way to the right, two cars may pass you at the same time, side by side, and squeeze you off the road."

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