Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Column: If only drivers shared the road, cyclists would be safer

We're out there obeying the rules, getting exercise, and saving gasoline. We've ridden in charity rides that benefit cancer, mental retardation, poor children, multiple sclerosis, and myriad other causes. We stay on the far right side of the lane. We never blow through traffic lights or stop signs. We're cautious because we know that you're out there in mega-ton vehicles, any one of which could flatten us in an instant.

But all too often, you're sitting on your horn, screaming at us and generally acting as if you own the road. Guess what? You don't. Under state law, bicycles are considered vehicles and have just as much right to the road as cars.
This column generated A LOT of heated commentary on Boston.com. Mostly, I agree that -- in a perfect world -- cyclists wouldn't run red lights or ride in crosswalks or go down one-way streets the wrong way. All these things bug me TO NO END.

But, cyclists DON'T obey the rules, which basically says that they are a vehicle just the same as a car. I do believe, especially in the city, that it's too dangerous for bikes to be on sidewalks sideswiping pedestrians. So bike people, let's stop trying to have it both ways -- if you want to be respected on the road, act like you'ree in your car. All the time.

On the same day this article came out, a Northborough native -- only 22 years old -- was killed in Dupont Circle in D.C., near where I used to live. Just another reminder that sometimes these accidents can't be avoided, even in a bike friendly city like D.C.