Saturday, September 07, 2002

The Silicon Valley paper continues to print letters about a motorist who caused a bicycle accident. [Wed. and Sat. letters] The letters either side with the cars or the bikes. What is odd is that pro-car letters have gripes about bicyclists that have almost nothing to do with the accident. Eg, one letter today complains about the clothes that bicyclists wear! He said, "There are two tribes of bikers. One is the Spandex-garbed, who are out for speed, thrills and questionable sartorial statement. I see them as the ones who run stop signs, yield rarely to pedestrians in crosswalks and talk it up side-by-side with a buddy or three. ... I am disgusted with such bicyclists."

I agreed with this letter:

THE story about the motorist who seriously injured a cyclist was scary enough (Page 1B, Aug. 30). Now several motorists have written letters in support of the violence (Letters, Sept. 4).

One said that cyclists should ``ride single file. When they do not, they get injured. Tough luck.''

The Vehicle Code says nothing about riding single file. As the sidebar to the original story indicated, cyclists are entitled to occupy the entire lane in many circumstances, including when the lane is too narrow for cars to pass the cyclists within the lane.

Another wrote that cyclists ``need to respect the rights of vehicles in the traffic lane.''

Bicycles are vehicles. Cyclists are traffic.

The fact is that it is often the most legal and prudent action for a bicyclist to ride in the middle of a regular car lane and occupy a lane of traffic. As a general rule, slower moving vehicles should move to lanes on the right, but in my experience cars are the much greater offenders.

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