The recent accident involving Dr. Theodore Houk brings up the issue of safety while running and cycling ("Doctor critically hurt in road accident," March 29).

I am 61 years old and this is my third season riding a bike. It can be very scary at times. Some drivers seem to forget what to do when they see a cyclist or runner.

Maryland's law requires motorists to give cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing a bike. I have seen riders nicked by drivers' side-view mirrors and go down. It doesn't take much when a vehicle is moving. If drivers are unable to stay at least 3 feet away they are required to slow down and follow until they are able to pass safely.

Cyclists have the same right to the road as a motorist. They have to follow the traffic laws. But some cyclists ride as if the law doesn't apply to them. Stop signs and stop lights are only suggestions to them. There are too many close calls because cyclists can't wait. Just because cyclists have the same right, or even the right of way, it is just plain stupid for them to challenge a car.

I don't care how much of a hurry motorists are in, it will ruin their day and possibly much of their lives if they hit a cyclist or runner. Crippling or killing a person because you were in a hurry to get to work is be life changing. Bottom line: It's not worth taking the chance.

So let's all enjoy our spring and summer. Take your time around cyclists and runners. Pass with safety first in mind. Let's not have to read about another tragedy like Dr. Houk's or Johns Hopkins University student Nathan Krasnopoler. The few extra seconds it takes to pass a cyclist or runner safely are not worth killing or maiming someone.

Steven Pinson, Baltimore

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