Sharing the road in Marin: "What happened to common sense?"
These two letters to the editor appear in today's Marin Independent Journal (www.marinij.com):
Sharing some common sense
For years, I have wondered what happened to common sense when the subject of bicycles and "sharing the road" comes up. Anyone who drives the backroads in Marin is aware that most bicyclists not only ignore virtually every law in the vehicle code, they go out of their way to block traffic.
I often have wondered why a driver of a car that is moving too slow and obstructing the flow of traffic can be ticketed and yet we tolerate this behavior from bicyclists. Critical Mass is an excellent example.
If motorists are expected to share the road with these super-egos, perhaps bicyclists should pay an annual license fee to help offset some of the costs of maintaining our roads and enforcing traffic rules.
Assembly Bill 60 is another example of the lack of common sense. A bicyclist who is in the traffic lane and causes the driver of a vehicle to have to apply his or her brakes because they are impeding the normal flow of traffic needs to get out of the traffic lane.
Bicyclists should be required to stay to the far right of a traffic lane, if not on the shoulder, when possible. They should have to ride single file.
I often come on packs of bicyclists on our backroads who not only ignore a wide paved shoulder, where they could be riding safely and not obstructing traffic, but are riding three to four abreast, bringing traffic to a crawl and making passing them impossible.
The "share the road" slogan has become the banner for stupidity and arrogance that has no place on our roads. What kinds of lessons in bicycle safety and respect for other people and our laws does this pass on to our children, who witness these adults obstructing traffic and violating rules?
Motorists deserve respect
I live off Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and encounter cyclists every day. These groups of almost always male cyclists in flashy outfits are not on their way to work, but out on a pleasure ride. Last Wednesday, I was driving west over White's Hill and was frustrated trying to pass three cyclists riding side by side who were using the road---not the wide bike lane. Many of the vehicles on Sir Francis Drake are delivery trucks, but they also include motorists driving to work, picking up supplies and mothers driving their children to school.
On Sir Francis Drake on the way to Olema there are many turnouts. The California vehicle code states that if a slow car is holding up five vehicles, then the slow car must pull over. Why not bicyclists? They should obey the same laws. The bicyclist does not need to stop, but instead can ride slowly in the open area until the traffic passes.
Sometimes, it is difficult to pass on winding roads. I try to be careful, but may pass closer than I would like. As a result, I could be fined. Bicyclists are not required to keep their distance. As a result, trucks and cars become the burdened party.