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Thread: Cars, Bikers must share the road
06-10-2005, 07:11 AM #1DickHeadGuest
Cars, Bikers must share the road
Bikes, cars must share roads
Public safety focus aims to see them coexist peacefully
By Lois M. Collins
Deseret Morning News
Motorists and bicyclists have nearly identical rights to use most roads. But in a pushing contest, bicyclists nearly always lose.
Cars drive wide to avoid a bicyclist in Emigration Canyon.
August Miller, Deseret Morning News
As many as 900 bicyclists are seriously injured and six die each year in Utah because of crashes with cars.
Through July, five Wasatch Front area public safety agencies are teaming up with state health officials and the Department of Transportation to enforce the rules designed to create harmony on the road. And that means both bicyclists and motor vehicle operators who break the laws will be pulled over.
A grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be used to pay overtime for Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and Taylorsville city officers to work high-traffic areas where bike crashes occur. Besides the uniformed officers, undercover officers will also work those areas, the goal being to stop both motorists and bicyclists who speed, don't yield right-of-way, run stoplights and stop signs, make illegal turns, pass improperly and commit other infractions related to bicyclist/motorist safety. Bicyclists will also be ticketed for riding against the flow of traffic, according to Theron Jeppson, the state health department's bicycle and pedestrian safety coordinator.
"We're doing this to reduce the number of motor vehicle-bicycle crashes," he said. "The majority of these are preventable, so we want to target people's behavior so that crashes don't happen."
As roads become more crowded, the importance of having bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers share the road increases, said Mark Panos, deputy director of Public Safety's Highway Safety Office. He said that while "belts and booze" will likely always dominate road safety efforts because of their sheer numbers and deadly impact, the need to teach drivers and riders how to travel together on the same pavement is being seen as increasingly important. Bike and pedestrian crashes combined account for about 10 percent of traffic fatalities.
"In the past, motorists have had the attitude that they really don't need to share the road with the bicyclist, who is more or less intruding on the road," Panos said. "The law clearly says they have equal rights to that roadway. Conversely, bicyclists have some work to do on getting along with motorists better."
Officers will have the option of giving warnings instead of tickets for some of the infractions. And everyone who is pulled over as part of the campaign will be given a "Share the Road" guide that outlines the laws and offers safety tips.
The Health Department hopes the pilot will also encourage law enforcement to make stepped-up enforcement of motorist/bicyclist safety laws a regular feature, said Jeppson. It plans to survey law enforcement agencies before and after "to see if their attitude's changed. They don't spend a lot of effort enforcing laws related to bicycle safety," he said.
Bicyclists have a right to be on the road unless it is specifically prohibited. While bicyclists typically are expected to stay to the right side of the lane, going with traffic — never against — there are times when they have full use of a lane and cars are not allowed to pass them in that lane. That's the case when the lane is too narrow to accommodate a motor vehicle and a bike, for example.
Most people still don't know that by Utah law, passed in the most recent legislative session, motorists must not pass within 3 feet of a bicyclist. The exception is when a road is too narrow to allow that distance, referred to in the Legislature as "the Millcreek exception."
While wearing a helmet is not a legal mandate, it does save lives, Jeppson said.
Panos reminds bicyclists that they are not as easily seen on the road as motor vehicles, so they need to be prepared to take appropriate defensive action. And they should wear safety gear and always make eye contact with nearby drivers. If that doesn't occur, the bicyclist should assume the driver has not seen him. It's also important for those on bikes to wear appropriate safety gear, Panos said. Both need to use common sense.
Besides collaborating on the efforts to obtain the grant and planning of the pilot, the Department of Transportation provided funding for a training video that is shown to driver education classes, said Nile Easton, transportation spokesman.
06-10-2005 07:11 AM # ADS
06-10-2005, 02:57 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
- a series of tubes
When I am road biking, I notice myself getting an attitude. Isn't exercise supposed to be a stress reliever? Road biking for me has become the opposite.
I guess it's my personality, where I will never be a "victim" to anybody. I always go out of my way to make sure nobody even thinks about screwing me. So when I ride past an intersection where cars are thinking about pulling out in front of me, I give 'em the EYE.
I stopped wearing dark sunglasses, and switched to yellow lenses so the drivers can actually see me making eye contact.
I actually ride past 2 of the green "bike route" signs.
I haven't had any incidents yet, but I'm waiting for it. I've got a mirror on my helmet, and I would suggest it for anybody. I am a little on edge, and I shouldn't be. I'm not talking about being cautious, I'm talking about "ready to start a fight" with somebody if they even honk at me.
I shouldn't be this way, because the next time somebody honks, and I give them the bird, it will probably be my neighbor just saying HI. I've got to ease up, because motorists have better intentions than I give them credit for.
It's just a different form of road rage. I'm working on it though...