I Agree Wholeheartedly

A fortnight ago my spouse noticed signs on local roads warning that hundreds of cyclists would descend last weekend as part of an organized ride. I have written in the past about my frustration with cyclists who insist on all the privileges of motor vehicles with none of the responsibilities. Apparently Chief Dan Brown of the Amity police department shared my frustration as he instructed his officers to cite any cyclists who failed to obey the traffic laws.

It’s about damn time.

The road on which the warning signs were posted has no posted speed limit. It also has no shoulder, let alone a bike lane, and poor visibility. Even without organized rides it sees too many cyclists, due in part to its inclusion on maps given out at bike shops. A resident has even posted a sign that says “Ride single file”. I consider the fact that there has not been a cyclist fatality on that road a testament to the abilities and character of the motor vehicle drivers.

Farm equipment also uses that road. Even though the tractors travel at much slower speeds than the cyclists, they form less of an impediment. The difference is that the drivers of the tractors keep a steady line, ride as much out of the way as possible, and pull over to let others past. The cyclists swerve all over the lane, routinely ride line abreast instead of line astern, and only pull over when they are tired, regardless of the number of vehicles stacked up behind them. The tractor drivers behave like members of the community who are sharing a resource; the cyclists behave like spoiled children who believe they are entitled to do whatever they want without consequence.

I know several people who are keen cyclists, some of whom ride to and from work. So I know that some cyclists have control of their vehicles, share the road with others, and work hard to keep themselves out of danger. I formerly assumed that most cyclists were like that. But experience has shown me that the good cyclists form a minority. In that I agree wholeheartedly with Chief Brown, who says: “I wish I could say it was just a few riders, but it seems to be the majority of the riders that disregard the traffic laws.”

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