As someone who has spent 37 years commuting on a bicycle (ever since I rode 15 miles round-trip [each day of] my senior year of high school), I have to respond to Christopher Craig's recent uninformed, condescending and self-indulgent comments about cars sharing the road with bicyclists [Commentary, "Finding Equlibrium," Dec. 9].
Folks like Mr. Craig are the reason that drivers throw bottles at me when I'm commuting on my bicycle — they assume that all of us [cyclists] have his arrogant attitude about our absolute liberty to ride as we see fit on the highways.
Many drivers are uninformed about bicyclists' legal right to share the road, and it is certainly true that too many drivers exhibit gratuitous hostility toward bicyclists on the road. But it is equally true that some ignorant, oblivious bicyclists earn the scorn that drivers occasionally heap on all of us bikers. …
Sometimes it is necessary for bicyclists to ride farther into the traffic lane than cars would like, either because of the danger of parked car doors or because of debris on the shoulder of the road. But bicyclists are required to ride as far to the right in the lane of traffic as is possible.
The number-one safety factor for bicyclists is visibility; number two is predictability. It amazes me that so many cyclists ride at night with no lights or reflectors, and in dark-colored clothing. …
Like Mr. Craig, for many years I also would pass cars on the right in order to get to the front of a line of traffic. But then I was reminded by Claudia Nix (co-owner of Liberty Bicycles and one of the best bicycle advocates in town) that just as with cars, it is illegal for bicycles to pass a stopped line of traffic on the right.
If we cyclists want to be taken seriously as vehicles, and if we intend to assert our rights as vehicles, then we have to act like we are vehicles. That means that we have to obey the traffic laws, just like cars do. More than that: We have to be more visible and more predictable.
— Howard Shepherd