Two-way street in bike-motorist complaints

May 18, 2012

It's one of the most commented-on articles ever on our website. Those who have a passion for pedaling say motorists don't give bicyclists enough respect and don't honor bikers' legal right of way on Michigan roads.

Those who prefer pistons under their hood instead of pedals under their feet say bicyclists are an arrogant bunch who flaunt their rights while ignoring many rules of the road.

Michigan law states that bicyclists are legal vehicles and must be treated like any other vehicle on the road. Laws also state that motor vehicles have to yield to slower-moving traffic.

That means when you come upon a line of bicyclists cruising down Lakeshore Drive south of Grand Haven, you're required to slow down and wait for a safe opportunity before passing those bikers, even though they're traveling at half your speed.

But remember, it's a two-way street.

If bicyclists want the same rights as drivers, then they should be expected to follow the same laws as those behind the wheel. This means abiding by all road signs, including coming to a halt at stop signs instead of blowing through intersections when the coast is clear.

Biking is a fantastic sport, helping improve your overall health while saving on gas that is approaching $4 a gallon.

But when you take to the road on your 10-speed or mountain bike, remember: There is a great responsibility that comes with sharing the road with vehicles that weigh an average of about 4,000 pounds.

Bikers should always wear proper head protection. When riding in the early morning or late at night, they should wear reflective clothing, and have lights mounted to both the front and rear of their bikes. And if they expect to be treated like anyone else on the road, then bikers need to honor all laws that pertain to motor vehicles.

There's no reason bikers and drivers can't share the road in peace. Like Rodney King said, "Can't we all just get along?"
 

Comments

ramtruckman

I noticed that Lakeshore drive was the only road mentioned in the letter above. The township spends thousands of dollars each year to maintain the bike path along this road. What is wrong with the bikers utilizing the path? It was made for them. I have heard the argument that they want to go faster than what they can on path than they can on the road. But if speed is what they want maybe they should go out and buy a motorcycle. I have found that most bikers that I have encountered on Lakeshore are rude, arogant bunch of jerks. I can't even tell you how many times I have been whipped the bird or called a nasty name by these people.

angelshorty18

I agree with the bike path theory. I really dont like bikes being on the road when theres a bike path right next to the street. A lot of the bikers ride out into the lane, not over as far as they should be to the right.
But I love in this article how it says bikers are going half your speed on Lakeshore Dr. I didnt know bikers could do about 27-28MPH.. if not faster because not everyone drives 55 on lakeshore

PeopleAreAmazing

Ramtruckman,

Perhaps you have been flipped the bird because you believe we shouldn't be on the road, and your behavior shows it.

My issue with the bike path is that it also intersects driveways - where cars exit and enter all day long without a clear line of site for the cyclists, or the cars. It's more dangerous for me on the bike path, than it is having to share the road with you.

The tone of your message already tells me that you don't like me even before we meet - I can't imagine that you're in any frame of mind to share the road with anyone - least of which me, on my bike.

Safe travels - for all of us.

3rdCoastColnago

Every day, as I ride my bike, I see motorists texting while driving and passing a cyclist while ascending a hill on a double line (NO PASSing zone), which endangers all parties.

The "bike bath" was created for walkers, roller bladers, skateboarders, children and oblivious adults on bikes, many of whom are tied in to an IPOD and do not hear approaching traffic- endangering all parties involved.

Ramtruckman isn't using much logic. Go out and buy a motorcycle? Really. By law, a bicycle is a vehicle, and has the right to use the side of the road as far to the right as practicable. Freedom and liberty are what this country is about. Cyclists have been hit by cups and bottles full of tobacco juice spit, half empty cans of cold beer, and even urine. Many of these projectile come from trucks.

I wonder if you were flipped off (not that that right) for having broken the law? Just wondering.

Motorists and bicyclists need to follow the rules and coexist. Peace.

GH55

Unfortunately, "bike paths" were not built in Grand Haven Township or any of the other areas in this county. These sidewalks or path ways do not meet the criteria to be disignated as a "bike path" because they were designed to be utilized by many different users. I will not bother to go into the specifics, but a quick review of the Sidewalks and Path Ways Ordinance in Grand Haven Township, in paticular, shows why many cyclists choose not to ride on the path ways. In this ordinance it specifically states that as a bicyclist you must yield right of way to all other users, including those that are entering and leaving their drive ways. As an example, if there was a service road next to I-96 and it had stop signs at every intersection, and pedestrians walking their dogs on 30 foot leashes, roller bladers, strollers, children on Big Wheels, and those darn bicyclists, as well as cars and trucks, would you drive on the service road or the Interstate Highway? It is a clear choice.
As far as I have seen, most bikers on Lake Shore Drive are just going about their rides trying not to get hit by other vehicles they are sharing the road with. I know of no one that is riding down the road inexplicably "flipping the bird" to drivers, in an attempt to incite rage or vindictive behavior. The "flipping of the bird" is usually in response to some type of threat or preceived fear of injury or death. These threats come in the form of a blaring horn as you are being passed, or a large truck side view mirror, passing inches from your head. These actions are imtimidating threats that usually ellicit a fear of life response that eliminates thoughtful action and result in "flipping the bird", regardless of the dirvers response to that action. I have never understood how merely holding up the middle finger, pushes people into an absolute rage response. It seems to releive them of all responsibility for their actions after that, " but he flipped me the bird!".
I would just like to add in closing that we can all share the roads and everything else for that matter if we have respect and awareness of the rules and those around us. Thank you.

Bazz56

Bologna that is what you say here, but they do ride 3 wide down my road and block traffic. Bikers scream share and then they don't. Most people are careful around bikes but sometimes accidents happen and a fender bender for a car can be painful or deadly for a bicyclist.

HavenWillie

When cyclists ride three abreast they are "taking the lane". It's their way of telling you to wait until it's safe to pass. It is a safety isue for them. Think about it. If they leave you enough room to dangerously squeeze past them you probably will. Cyclists need at least a three foot buffer zone.

If you can't afford to wait a few seconds to pass then you really should start planning ahead and leave yourself enough time so that you don't have to rush to your destination.

HavenWillie

The Lakeshore path is not designed for cyclists unless they have suicidal tendencies. You would have to ride at a walking pace and be prepared to stop at each and every driveway. Otherwise you are asking to get hit.

It's a path for walkers. Inline skaters are faced with sandy spots and neighbors who deliberately water the trail and the hidden driveways.

biped

If the bike path was built for walkers, rollerbladers, skateboarders, etc., then why is it referred to as a bike path? Give me a break, if you're riding a bike (ANY pedal bike) and there's a bike path, use it and get off the road.

43°North

Nice to know the Trib reads the online comments. They used the quote I used from Rodney when I commented on the orig article. Just keep your bike as far to the right as possible, obey traffic laws, keep your stupid kids out of the road, and we can all "just get along" fine.

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