Rules of the Road

Rules of the Road: Drivers shouldn’t insist bicycles break law

Bicyclists should be treated just like cars when riding on roadways. Drivers who do otherwise can endanger the cyclist and cause traffic delays.
Bicyclists should be treated just like cars when riding on roadways. Drivers who do otherwise can endanger the cyclist and cause traffic delays. The Bellingham Herald

Question: I bicycle to work, and when crossing Orleans via Illinois or parallel streets, where I do not have the right of way, multiple cars stop to let me cross. I am not in the crosswalk nor even near it (I move to the left of my lane so that I don't impede vehicles behind me wishing to make a free right).

A recent column discussed the law and risk to both cyclists who cross when not having the right of way as well as to drivers who stop without good reason. In an attempt to be cycle friendly, they at times cause an unsafe condition. Really, I don't mind waiting at a stop on my bike any more than if I were in a car. Recently a man in a truck behind me started yelling at me to use the crosswalk (one of my pet peeves when driving is cyclists who hop back and forth between crosswalks and lanes of traffic in an unpredictable manner).

Answer: I really can’t add much to your explanation. Drivers need to treat bicycles as the conveyance they are. If they are on the sidewalk they are pedestrians but need to realize that they move much faster than a pedestrian so they need to pay attention to traffic before crossing traffic without giving the driver a chance to see them and stop. If they are on the roadway, they are vehicles. Bicyclists also need to also follow those rules, as you appear to do.

Thank you for your comment and explanation. Be safe.

Rules of the Road is a regular column with questions and answers on road laws, safe driving habits and general police practices. Answers come from David Wright, a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who serves on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force. For previous Rules of the Road columns or to ask a question, go to bellinghamherald.com/news/traffic/rules-of-the-road/.

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