Good reason to ride the lane on bike

Regarding a recent letter titled "Fund Bike Lanes with a Cyclist Use-Tax": While I do not disagree with your suggestion that a bike tax may be an effective way to finance bike lanes — and I, for one, would happily fork out $15 a year for a bike license tag — I need to address your statement that "Like many a local vehicle driver, I have cussed our on-road bicyclists who ride doubly or singly in the middle of the lane." The riders you are referring to sound like leisure riders, but just in case you are referring to commuters, I was recently educated as to the merit of taking the lane.

Twenty years ago I lived in Athens, Ga., and was part of a group trying to get bike lanes there (still none there, to my knowledge). Back then, the rule was to ride with the traffic, follow the rules of the road and stay to the far right. Now the rules have changed, and I see the wisdom in it.

Asheville, like many cities in America, is a dangerous place for a cyclist. I commute on a bicycle for many reasons. I have always loved riding, and it's good exercise, but I am more committed to this mode of transportation everyday because of the state of things: uncertainty of fuel and pollution (excuse me for stating the obvious). I want to be one less car on the road.

These days, and especially in Asheville where our geography tends to compound the situation, I question whether biking is good for my health as I breath in the exhaust from all our cars on the road. There are plenty of roads I will not ride and times of day that I avoid being on the road, but the wisdom of taking the lane is still something I find myself happy to employ at times to be sure that car sees me. It can make the difference between someone having to drive a little slower or the driver fatally clipping a cyclist. Come on, folks.

— Jennifer Lapidus
Asheville

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7 thoughts on “Good reason to ride the lane on bike

  1. Trey

    It’s the difference between going slightly over the double yellow line to pass your spandex clad, self-righteous, gonna save the world one cause at a time self… or going competely over the double yellow lines while flooring it and flipping you off. And then instead of a clipping your risking a full on sideswipe and simultaneous head-on with oncoming traffic.

  2. Unit

    Shame on anyone cussing cyclists for being in the lane. Read your drivers manuals, fools. Cyclists have every legal right to be in the lane. Unfortunately, a heartbeat is all that’s required to get a drivers license in the US, so ignorant fools like this get to drive too.

    No wonder our roads have the highest fatality rate in the industrialized world.

  3. Regular Biker Guy (RBG)

    So tired of reading posts like “Trey’s” that show an obvious lack of even the most rudimentary understanding of the rules of the road.

    “Trying to save the world”? No, he said he has to ride to get to work. ‘Trying to save his Job’ might be more accurate.

    This constant need by many the Militant Car-Activists (yes, that is satire) to ignore bicyclists’ right to be on the road is nauseating. Do some bikers annoy others? Yes. Does that justify categorizing anyone who rides a bike the same way? Not unless you are willing to lump all drivers into the same category as the worst drivers out there.

    Suggestion: Read your DMV book some time. You might actually learn something. It seems obvious that you need a refresher course.

  4. Trey

    I’m not saying it’s what I would do… just that it’s the most likely end result to some one hogging up the road. If I was driving my car 3mph, without yielding, the same thing would happen.

    And actually, if you had read the letter above, you would see that SHE clearly states… “I want to be one less car on the road.”

    Everyone should “give” a little when it comes to being courteous on the road… and I usually do.

  5. GabrielV

    Trey, you bring up a valuable point..something that is missing not only in this thread but in American life nowadays and that is showing others a little courtesy.

    Yes, cyclists have every right to be there on the road but common sense would dictate that you should yield to other vehicles that are traveling faster than you are (especially when they are larger and heavier than you are).

    Having said that, courtesy goes both ways. I have ridden the open roads for the past three decades and have lost count of the times when I have been cussed out or things thrown at me from cars simply for riding on the road. Mind you I always ride as far to the right as the road permits. I know the importance of sharing the road. I was struck by hit and run driver who didnt know he hit me or didnt care…either way I learned to ride defensively after that.

    Road rage is not something limited just to the drivers of automobiles. Share the road and remember the Golden Rule when you are out on the road.

  6. bicycle dave

    I had not realized “Sharing the road” meant staying relegated to the furthest 2% of the right hand lane while cares pass you- dangerously close to shoving you into parked cars or off the road entirely.

  7. Concerned driver

    Trey has a good point. While I firmly support the right of bike riders to be present on our roads, and congratulate them for doing something to help our environment, any vehicle on the road should both obey all traffic laws and either maintain an appropriate speed (minimum of 15mph below posted limits) or make way for standard traffic (i.e. – move to the far right to allow passing). While it’s true that a few individuals can make a group look bad (for both bikers and car-riders), two scenarios that play out entirely too often in the mountain counties are a) downtown bicyclists routinely violating laws/common sense by ignoring traffic signals and b) out of town cyclists riding below safe speeds on small curvy roads that allow little/no time for auto traffic to react.

    I’ll make a deal with you – we, as car riders, will continue to do everything possible to regulate “our side”, including showing our disgust with egotistical, narrow-minded a#$%’s that pull over to shoot at cyclists, if the cycling community will continue to improve it’s members safety and legality.

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