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Cyclists face dangers daily

Bike safety laws and infrastructure are improving but slowly ("Biking advocates bemoan slow pace of promised safety improvements," Jan. 3). Bike lanes, the law requiring motorists to give a 3-foot clearance and just that bikes are factored into planning decisions are vast improvements. Don't get me wrong. More is needed, but it's expensive and therefore the pace is slow.

For faster results, driver education would decrease cycling accidents and is a lot less expensive than putting in even one bike lane. Some drivers — and it only takes one — simply don't know what to do around a bike. The answer is common sense. They should slow up so they can stop if needed and pass safely. Also please don't honk your horn. It is loud and scary.

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Advocates are correct about law enforcement being nearly non-existent. We have reported the license plates of consistent offenders of the 3-foot law to Baltimore County police. All we asked was to call the person and inform them of the law, not to ticket them. Excuses ranged from shift changes to not having witnessed the infraction or that they couldn't afford to place a patrol car there. Oh, and might we identify the driver? Ever try to identify a driver passing you at 40 miles per hour in the dark? All we wanted was a phone call, not a ticket. They were pretty clear that they couldn't be bothered.

As for the 3-foot law, it's not enforced. Did you know that if you cross the center line while passing a cyclist, you can get a ticket? Most roads that are designated "Share the Road" do not allow you to stay on your side of the road and give a cyclist three feet of clearance. Thank Annapolis for that. A law to allow motorists to do so has been in Annapolis the past two years and failed to pass. So your choice as a motorist (remember we drive also) is to wait until the road is wide enough, which may be miles, cross the center line or get too close to the cyclist for their safety. From my point of view, please cross the center line when you pass me. I will pay your ticket.

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The other thing that is needed is a change in attitude toward cyclists. We are exercising, enjoying the outdoors and harmless. And yes, we are in your way. It will take you 30 seconds more in order to pass us safely. It really isn't a contest between a cyclist and bike weighing 200 pounds and a driver and car at more than 2,000. The car always wins — like matching the Ravens' Haloti Ngata against a 30-pound child.

Steven Pinson, Baltimore

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