LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bicycles have right of way

May 8, 2012

 

Case in point: While riding the bike path, along 152nd Avenue in Grand Haven, a vehicle made a right turn in front of me while I was going straight. I slammed on my brakes to avoid a collision. The driver then stopped to roll down his window and chastised me for not stopping, even though I had the right of way!

According to Michigan law, bicycles are legal vehicles and motorists must treat them like any other vehicle on the road. A general safety article published by the League of Michigan Bicyclists lists some common mistakes motorists make, including “turning right into the path of a bicyclist that is going straight."

Motorists should also be aware that bicycles lawfully have the right to ride on the road. Many bicyclists prefer to ride on the road even when a bike path is available — and that, uninformed motorist, is legal.

Although the bike path network is truly a wonderful thing, some bicyclists find the two-way traffic on the paths a little heavy for their type of riding and they deem it unsafe. Of course, there may be other reasons for a bicyclist to ride on the road and not the bike path, but the point is: bikes have the same legal rights as motor vehicles (except on highways).

Perhaps with a little education and some understanding, we can have a safe, fun bicycling season.

— Jack Bos, Grand Haven
 

Comments

GH Cyclist

Your logic to who has the right to be on the road is skewed to your beliefs. The majority of people who drive cars cannot answer yes to all of your questions.

dyankee

@3rdcoastcolnago, in one of your earlier post, you mentioned driving a car is a "priviledge". By way of correction, it is not....driving a car is a "right" as an American. You have a right to ride your bike too, but if you ask 10 total strangers "what are roads in our society used for", I would suggest that 99.9% of respondents will tell your for car or truck(vehicle)traffic and NOT for rainbow colored bicyclist. In addition, if you asked the same 10 individuals "what are sidewalks used for" then, I would also suggest that the same 99.9% would tell you for bicycle & pedistrian traffic. Clearly, bicyclist riding on the road would then, be reasonably consider a "priviledge" more than your right. By attacking @Pike84 and @JMO, (whom have articulated quiet well as to how the rest of us feel) with your nonsense, is ironically proving what everyone else on this post is stating about your network of arrogant, selfserving, flaunting, and condiscending long distant bicyclist. If I'd agree with the smack you're spreading on this post then, we'd both be wrong.

3rdCoastColnago

Dyankee-
You may want to reread, think, and proof. No "smack". I made no attacks. I explained perspectives illustrating some illogical or irrational statements made by others. BTW, rights come from laws.

1. "Privileges" may be taken away such as our privilege to drive. You are welcome to challenge that one on the state level if you'd like. Ask a police officer.
http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,46...
2. "Laws" insure rights. It is legal for a cyclist to use the road, hence the law. Ask a police officer.
3. Nice stats. Roads are used for ....transportation (trucks, motor cycles, mopeds, electric cars, bicycles, buses, etc. Bicycles are vehicles. We'll have to learn to coexist. Frankly, when I'm driving, I'm pretty happy to see Americans on bicycles. It helps fight obesity.
4. No one answered any questions I made. Are motorists 100% law abiding? Are they even 90% law abiding at stop signs, following the laws pointed out? Never once did I say cyclists and bicyclists were 100% innocent. Check your reading comprehension.
5. "arrogant, selfserving, flaunting, and condiscending long distant bicyclist." Ouch. (not really). Sorry you're upset. (really) Peace.

GH Cyclist

We have the "right to travel" as Americans not the right to drive cars. If you are privileged enough to own a car you have the right to be traveling in it.

migpilot

Even two wide is a bad idea for the biker and driver. When they tangle bars one of them ends up unexpectedly, by them and the luckless driver behind, right in the middle of the road on their behinds with a car at a 35-40 mph overtake bearing right down on him. I should know as this happened to me on Lakeshore drive. Thankfully myself and other oncoming drivers were alert enough to save this poor fellows behind. The question I have is why these folks have such extreme trust in all the distracted drivers on the road. They must get high on the risk taking. Please ride single file close to the right whenever possible and refrain from rudeness to the drivers you are trusting so much!!

GH55

A quick review of the sidewalks and paths ordinance from the Grand Haven Township website will give some idea of why many people choose to not ride on the paths. http://www.ght.org/OnlineResourc...
There are few if any "bike paths" in this area. None are "designated bike paths" that would require bicyclists to ride on them if they are available. Most of what has been built in this area are merely sidewalks or paths. As such when you ride a bike on these paths you must yield right of way to all other users, including people backing out of their driveways.
I personally, try and conform to all the requirements while driving my car and my bike. I see many of each type of user not following the rules. How many people still text? How many people do you see blow through red lights, when it is in fact illegal to enter an intersection after the light has turned YELLOW. Read the law. I truly agree that the laws should be enforced. Ticket bikers that don't follow the rules. Ticket drivers that don't follow the rules. Sometimes it seems that the only "rule" that is enforced with any kind of effort is speed. Don't generalize one group against the other, Americans as a rule are cowboys and do as they please.
I hear many saying that bikers are not going the "posted speed limit"! The "posted speed limit" is just that, an upper limit which you are not supposed to exceed. There is no right to that particular speed. The only time there is a minimum speed limit is on a limited access highway.
The white line on the side of Lake Shore Drive, indicates where the shoulder begins, it is not where the "bike lane" begins.
One of the most disrespectful things some drivers do is known as the "right hook". this occurs when a vehicle overtakes another, by passing them on the left side, and then immediately turns right in front of them.
I have had large dump trucks, used to deliver landscape materials, come three quarters of the way across my lane, from the opposite side of the road, heading in the other direction, to honk his air horns at us at a high rate of speed. This was assualt as far as I am concerned, and he got the opportunity to talk to the OCSD.
As "traffic", which cars, trucks and bikes all make up, gets more congested, we all have to adhere to the rules more closely, or there is chaos.
Probably, the one reason bikers get so upset, when they feel threatened, is that usually when something happens between a biker and a car or truck, who do you think the loser is going to be? Regardless of who was "right or wrong"!
I guess it all comes down to have respect for each other. It goes both ways. As gas gets mre expensive, one can only imagine there will be more people seeking alternative transportation, not fewer.

GH Cyclist

No, i'm saying that by law you have to yield the right of way to slower moving traffic. If you have enough time to safely pass and complete your right hand turn before putting the cyclist or any other slower moving traffic in danger then by all means go ahead.

truthhurts

If a car passes you and decides to make a right hand turn (not nice, but legal), that means YOU the BIKER needs to slow down and wait until the turn is complete. Bikers have brakes just like cars. If i have to hit my brakes to wait for an opportunity to safely pass a biker, it is no different that a biker should be expected to hit the brakes to wait for a car that is ahead of you to turn...DUH. Just because some driver ticks you off does not mean the rules no longer apply after all you are the one on a bike and i am in a big metal object (who is going home?)

GH Cyclist

If that cyclist is commuting home then I guess both of you would be going home. It makes you look bad when you play the "i'm bigger than you so i'm more important" card.

As stated in my previous post, if you have adequate time to pass a cyclist safely and make your right hand turn then go ahead. I have no problem applying my brakes to slow down. What I do have a problem with is if a cyclist has to take evasive action to avoid a crash because someone is turning abruptly in front of them with no regard for their safety.

truthhurts

cars are easier to see and hear on a bike, where as a biker is not always visible to a driver, and the driver definently can't hear you. Bikers need to keep that in mind also, It has nothing to do with me being more important than you.

GH55

I am not sure where the phrase "network of arrogant, selfserving, flaunting, and condiscending long distant bicyclist", comes from but I beg to differ. I can imagine when someone is almost run over or hit by a speeding car, their attitude may not exude warmth and friendliness! I would like to extend an invitation to anyone that would like to see for themselves how "arrogant, selfserving, flaunting, and condiscending long distant bicyclist('s)" can be, by joining us any Thursday at 6pm at Rock&Road bike shop. There are groups for all levels of ability.
A perfect example occured last night on our Rock&Road Thursday ride. Four of us were traveling south, down the back side of the overpass on Lake Shore Drive, at the Campbell Power Plant. There are two very large strom drains extending almost half way across the traffic lane. So, we were about half way out in the lane, traveling about 30 mph. A bright red VW Golf GTI passed us at a very high rate of speed, with oncoming traffic! He drove the drivers in the northbound lanes off the road onto the shoulder. This has nothing to do with the fact that the bikers were riding in the road. This is a clear case of the driver exceeding the speed limit, passing on a double yellow and failing to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic! The bikers were riding single file doing exactly as the law requires, riding as far right as practicable and safe. Riding over a very rough and irregular strom drain is not practicable nor safe.

I would say that this is really a matter of taking responsiblilty for your actions, draving and biking responsibly and having respect for others.

GH Cyclist

I love cycling in Grand Haven. This town is a great place to get around by bicycle. For the most part drivers and cyclists get along just fine.

dogbert1918

A lot of truth has been said on here from both car drivers and bike riders. Each group has bad apples that make the rest of us look bad.I think everyone on the road needs to make sure they are paying xtra close attention and know all of the rules of the road. I think a little common sense and courtesy will go a long ways as well.I do feel that bikes riders have an added responsiblity of paying more attention to whats going on around them for the simple fact they are more likely to be on the losing end of an accident. I notice now that i have younger children I pay closer attention to whats going on when I'm driving. I think we need to as parents reinforce the rules and safety of bike riding to our children constantly. Both riding bikes on the road and watching and knowing what to do when driving a vehicle. As adults we need to make sure we know the rules as well riding bikes on the road. We don't get a blank check to do whatever we want when we ride a bike on the road and as a car driver we have to respect their rights to be riding on the road, be paying attention and watching for them and ensuring their safety and obeying the traffic laws.We also need to make sure to have a bicycle helmet on when riding a bike, especially the kids.

RN97MSN10

I think this website has a lot of helpful information:

http://www.bikeleague.org/index.php

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