Bikers: employ common sense on area roads

Bicycling is a great source of exercise. It’s also an enjoyable way to make your way around our beautiful community.
Jun 16, 2014

Bikers in this area have many miles of trails from which to choose. 

However, problems begin to arise when the bikers make their way from the trails to the streets, and get overlooked among all the cars that adorn our roads during the busy summer months.

Bicyclists need to understand that, in order to remain safe, they should abide to the same laws as motor vehicles. 

It’s not uncommon when approaching a stop sign or a crosswalk in a vehicle that a biker makes his or her way across the road in front of  you without even slowing down. Bikers have the right away, but they should also use some common sense.

At the rate of speed some bikes are moving, it’s possible that a driver doesn’t even see the bike as it approaches the road. The driver continues his way through the stop — and then, out of nowhere, a bike flashes by in front of them, often times getting a dirty look or perhaps the one-finger salute as if they did something wrong. 

The reality of it all is that the biker is the one acting irresponsibly.

Whether you’re riding a bike or driving a motorized vehicle, let’s all enjoy the scenery our area has to offer and look out for one another. There’s plenty of room for all to share; we just need pay attention and observe the rules of the road — regardless of your mode of transportation.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

jlebrasseur

Hmmm... That's my old bike which was wrecked by a driver not paying attention and running a red light on a 'no turn on red' signal last November. I was of course following all the rules of the road.

There are just as many (if not more) motorists who do not use common sense or pay attention to the road. I can't count the times I have nearly been run over by texting, speeding, or malicious drivers swerving at me so far this year all while I am following all the rules of the road.

There are bad cyclists too, which was VERY apparent this weekend and resulted in me being hit hard by another cyclist on my new bike.

The cyclist that hit me was participating in the Michigan Adventure Race; I was simply riding to the Farmers Market.

Here is my story:

Mark (event organizer, who I doubt will respond to me),
I am quite upset with how the cyclists in this event were riding today;
especially near the drawbridge in Grand Haven. Many were not following any
sort of rules of the road and this has resulted in an $8,500 touring bike
(photos attached) being damaged, and an avid touring cyclist being injured.

Additionally, there is quite the lengthy discussion about this race and the
unsafe riding habits of the participants on the Grand Haven Informed
facebook page, as well as among others in the community.

I will also share the event with you.

I was not a participant of this event. I was commuting into town to grab
groceries at the local farmers market.

I was coming down the grade from the drawbridge on US BR35 and signalled to
make a left in advance of the MUP intersection to continue on BR 35. I
slowed and moved to the left of the path and continued signalling. As I
started to make my turn, a cyclist doing 20mph or more decided to fly past
me on my left (remember, I signalled my turn, slowed, and was to the left).
The cyclist (wearing a teal shirt and a number tag) started to colide with
me and seemed to shove me away as he was beside me causing me to slam into
the pavement. He somehow stayed upright and kept riding, never checking to
see if I was okay apparently trying to stay competitive in this race. He
NEVER announced that he was passing on my left or gave any indication he was
there.

I follow the rules of the road, signal all my moves and call out to others
in a loud voice when passing; why should these racers be exempt? I tour on
bike an average of 5,000 miles per year and I would not be caught dead
behaving like most of your event participants were.

While I was sitting in the grass bandaging my leg, I witnessed another group
of racers nearly slam into a young mother and a baby stroller in the exact
same spot. Instead of slowing down and yielding, they flew by her extremely
close, causing her to become quite shaken up.

This is totally unacceptable behavior.

Now I am stuck with road rash and deep cuts on my knee/calf, a damaged SRAM
RED brifter, a damaged Shimano M540 SPD Pedal, badly damaged Brooks Leather
bar tape, and a scraped Ortlieb Bike-Tourer pannier all because the cyclists
in your organized event feel the rules of the road do not apply to them.

I was unable to get the number on the tag of the cyclist as he was well ahead of me before I even knew what happened.

Luckily the damage was not worse, but it is still costly damage that would
have never happened if the cyclists in your event were following the rules
of the road as well as safe cycling practices.

Beach Gal

You are incredibly pompous, nothing is ever your fault. Of course, there are always two sides to every story...

deuce liti

I'm with Beach Gal, we should round up all the cyclists and send them back to their own country.

PeopleAreAmazing

I'm with these two. I am a cyclist, as well....but really think you need to loosen your Lycra shorts.

cvocvo

The tight-outfit bikers I talk to have often told me they can not really follow the rules of stopping at every intersections because it is too much work for them to unclip and reclip all of the time. This is a reference to the way their bike shows attach to the petals. I find these excuses to be pure nonsense. Would we accept an automobile driver saying "I can not stop at the stop sign because it will reduce my brake lifespan (or otherwise inconvenience me). I LOVE bike riding but I get a bit tired of people claiming all kinds of excuses about why they can not follow the rules of the road.

In fact, if you look at the posts in this thread, you see all kinds of people with excuses. Let's just follow the rules. While there are car drivers that are jerks and don't follow the rules, I see far more bikers showing arrogant behavior and ignoring the rules.

TXEX

When I come to a stop sign if no cars are at the intersection I will slow down, keep my hands on my brakes, and go through it without coming to a complete stop. The more times you have metal cleats on concrete the more you increase your chances of falling. If there are cars in sight I will come to a complete stop and depending on where the cars are either put my feet on the ground or start back up from a complete stop. I try when safe to signal to cars my intentions by pointing in the direction I want to go.

When I come to a red light I always come to a complete stop with my feet on the ground and reasonably wait for it to turn green. If it doesn't for a while(due to sensors in road not picking up a bike)I will go through it.

I'm not making excuses, I'm telling you what I do in hopes that you don't think every lycra wearing biker does what they want.

GH55

That is pure nonsense! If you can't get your shoe with the cleat out of your pedal in an easy quick motion, it needs to be fixed! All it should take is a simple 20 degree twist. Easy!
I just watched a video of a guy in Alabama that was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment for his behavior toward bikers that were doing nothing wrong except for hte mere fact that they existed.
I admit that many bikers "bend" the rules, but as always, if I run into your car, I am the one that will most likely suffer the damage, when that loaded semi blows through a light on US31, guess who will suffer? Not usually the guy in the cab!
We all need to follow the rules. I'm not sure if expressing that you see far more bikers showing arrogant behavior and ignoring the rules is really a fair comparison because there really are so few of them compared to other vehicular traffic.

GH55

This article is typical thought as far as drivers thinking of bicyclists. Get off the road and disappear. You bikers are all wrong! Its the bikers fault.
I see plenty of bikers that do blow through stop signs, and other completely mindless and other equally irresponsible acts. I followed one through town last Thursday morning, that only slowed at one of the many four way stops on Sheldon because they would have T-boned a vehicle already there.
But, I also see on numerous occasions, motorists come after bikers by driving too close and honking. And many motorists that do not follow all the rules. Such as stopping behind the stop line or sign.
No one is without sin here.
The paths in this area, I say again, are subpar to say the least. The design is terrible, and the laws in some townships give all right of way to all other users but the bikers. So, how can you call it a "bike path" if I have absolutely no right of way on that path while riding my bike? They are sidewalks, pure and simple.
I guess in my mind, if you want me on the "path" then I am a pedestrian, and have the right of way over the cars at cross walks. If I am on the road riding, I am expected to stop and signal! I do!
If I am riding on the "bike path", at a cross walk, I will not yeild, unless I am going to get hit, my right of way! If I do yeild, hardly anyone will let you cross. You cannot have it both ways. You want me to ride on the "bike path" I will act as a pedestrian and expect my right of way!
It doesn't take much effort to observe the lack of care and adherence to the law by everyone on the road today. Just go sit down at the Ferris Street - US-31 intersection any day! That will be entertaining, be it the vehicles rinning red lights, or the west bound Ferris Street drivers ignoring the stop sign or the right of way of those turning onto 168th from the west.
This article is irresponsible in that it again expresses false information that does not help this situation and will probably contribute to more conflict between drivers and bikers.
Where can that conflict lead? Could you live with yourself if you hit and killed a biker because you were going to teach them a lesson to not ride in the road, WHEN IT IS PERFECTLY LEGAL TO DO SO?
Do you go after the mail man, the trash collector, the farmer trying to get his tractor to another field? Why are the bikers such targets?

jlebrasseur

Still not sure how I feel about the photo of my bike used for a article about irresponsible riders since I follow the rules, but it is nice to see the old bike again ;)

Btw, here are photos of the new bike. After the accident Saturday, it needs new bar tape and a new pedal which I cannot afford right now (about $120 worth of damage since you can only by the leather bar tape or PD M540 pedals in sets). Really a bummer since it only had 100miles on it so far. Still rideable but the pedal doesn't clip right and the bar tape flops in the wind.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/bfjiis...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/opeewb...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/g75u0g...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/b4i5wu...

Mark Brooky

Sorry about what happened to you, Jason. Goes to show that people can be rude on two and four wheels.

I didn't know that was your bike for the accompanying photo. I grabbed a Tribune file photo of a bicycle for it. I didn't want a person on the bike so it couldn't be inferred that they are somehow irresponsible.

jlebrasseur

It's fine to use the photo. I just wish the public would realize there is just as many (if not more) bad/aggressive drivers as there are cyclists; just when you are in a car you never realize it since you are in a 3000+lb protective shell.

Many cyclists follow the rules and are extremely cautious since we are incredibly vulnerable to other roadway users.

All it takes to make the roads a bit better for everyone is some common courtesy and not texting or talking on the phone. Motorists need to realize that us cyclists are people too. We have family, we have friends, we have jobs, and we have places we are trying to get just like them. We want to arrive to our destination safely as well. Instead of spending a ton of money on gas, we simply choose to use a form of transportation that is incredibly healthy, efficient, and fast (I can often times beat a car from point a to point b around the local area, all while following the law).

sirhansalot

The damage you claim exaggerated. Sounds more like you got scared and fell over

michiglen

Cyclists can be their own worst enemy.

What rules are they following when they ride from the roadway to the footpath and then across the intersection "pedestrian crossing" and then leave the footpath and back to the roadway?

Are they "cars" or "pedestrians"?

"Special Individuals" is what they are. Just want the best of both worlds. I guess they get it from our flip-flop politicians.

Straightjacket

Lay the ground work, I own and operate cars, motorcycles and bicycles. There are more dangerous car drivers than bicyclists because there are more car drivers. There are proportionately more dangerous bicyclists than car operators because a greater percent of bicyclists operate dangerously. Now operating both, I see car drivers footing the bill, Car insurance, registration, fuel taxes etc which a bicyclist does not pay. Not that the road is entiry the car drivers but they do pay for it. Where bicyclists really screw up is two to three abreast on lakeshore drive going 25 and really they should be single file, also running stop signs and red lights. Bicyclists create their own enemies by how they ride their bikes also anyone wearing spandex should just not be on the road.

TXEX

I wear spandax. I right to the right as safely possible. I wear bright colors. I have a highly noticeable light on the rear of my bike. I stop at stop signs if there is traffic. I stop at traffic lights. I don't jet from road to sidewalk. I try to be as respectful to others on the road.

GH55

I would challenge all of the Tribune Editorial Board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand to come out and actually ride on these "paths" they claim we have many miles of which to choose from.
The problem arises in that the Board assumes that all of this riding is done for mere recreation, in effect playing with toys, and not actually trying to get some where, like work.
Come out and ride on the "paths", see how every drive way and street crossing is a pain the butt, literally! How I am expected to cross, essentially an intersection twice, because I have to go around to make a turn. How I have to yield to everyone else! How the phone guy can park across the path with tool door on his truck wide open so he can be close to his tools. How the lawn mowers use the path as their turn around, without looking for bikers, so they have nice straight lines on their lawn. How the man holes and sewer grates are 4-5 inches below road surface, as an example check out Franklin at many of the cross streets near downtown. Run through one of those and let me know how you come out.
I guess if you want to call out bikes and how bad they ride, lets talk speed limit! The speed limit on the vast majority of streets within city limits is 25mph! How many of us, and yes, I am including myself, never drive over that limit on those streets? How many come to a complete stop at every stop sign, behind the line?
The biggest problem, in this country, is that bike are viewed only as a means of recreation, not as a means of transportation.
Bikes are a great means of getting places in a very easy efficient manner. The vast majority of trips are short. Just think of the benefits you would gain health wise by adding a few minutes of easy riding to your day.
I remember just a year or so ago, Robbins Road was supposed to be restriped as a three lane road, left turn lane in the middle with bike lanes on either side. What actually happened was the speed limit was raised to 35mph and that was that. No bike lane. That would ahve been a great solution, as you can't use all the lanes anyway, as there is so much left turning going on all along this road. Check out the property owner just down 172nd that will not allow the sidewalk to extend on his property. Where do the people riding to Meijer go from town if they want to ride? Or the folks from the assisted living facilities that would like to stroll over there? Walk in the dirt! How about getting to the State Park? Ever try and ride on Harbor Drive?
This attitude of a car centric society at the expense of all other alternatives is ridiculous. Why do you always want to be cooped up in a metal box? Why do you want to be beholden to Big Oil and how they gouge you every time there is "unrest" in the Middle East. The best way to resolve that issue is to reduce the use of the crap!
Don't blame or attack the biker, blame the politicians that can't get together and solve the problem! The bikers are just trying to do what you are doing, get on down the road.

Straightjacket

You are arguing for special rights because you are on a bike? I stop behind the white line I use turn indicators I insure my vihicles I make a right hand turn and use the right lane on one way streets or streets with two lanes in my direction. Bicycle riders/commuters may often not. I see bikes running red lights, stop signs , turning right crossing three lanes left and the whole time flicking people off. So it's cool lets settle down, have them pay 295 dollars for a tag a year, have them pay 5 dollars for every 30 miles they travel and ticket them like car drivers when they disobey then I guess it's its fair? Or stay way to the right and be in a humble single file lane, right of the solid white line.

GH55

I am not arguing for anything special! I recognize that when I ride in the road, there are rules and responsibilities that need to be followed by EVERYONE! Weh I am on the "bike path" I then become a pedestrian,essentially riding on the sidewalk, and pedestrian in cross walks have the right of way.
Very few follow your example of stipping behind the stop line! Most stop way past that , which typically puts them broadside across any path that may be there.
It is also a fact that most people that ride also own a car. So expecting me to pay $295 per year, I don't understand why you would expect me to pay 6x what my car costs for registration but that's beside the point, is a bit unrealistic.
Yes, many riders do run the traffic signals, so do drivers.

Back to the Wall

Bikes are toys. They are not vehicles suitable for use on public roadways. Their presence is a safty concern. Special facilities or roadway improvements to accomodate cyclists are additional roadway budget line item expenditures. If cyclists want roadway improvements to accomodate their cycles, they need to pony up and pay.

Let's start with registration fees like passenger vehicles - based on the cost of the bycycle and components.
Then, let's tax the cycles and accessories, similar to the pittman-robertson act for sporting goods.
Finally we'll require cyclists who use the road to carry medical and liability insurances.

Maybe then we'll building appropriate bike lanes. Maybe then cyclists will be taken seriously. Until the cyclists want to be accountable, their toys remain toys. If you want to play in the street with your toys, go ahead. Remember - be defensive - there are risks to playing in the street.

GH55

What about the person driving to the beach, or up north camping, anything other than driving to and from work? Your car or truck then becomes a "toy" too!
The Law is the Law!
By definition in the Michigan Vehicle Code a bike is a vehicle and allowed on all roads except for limited access highways. (Even allowed on those types in some states!)
Almost all bike riders own and drive cars, especially in Michigan, with the weather we have in the winter. As a consequence I do have insurance that covers me in case of case I do cause some damage or a liability issue.
I would love to have separate lanes, but what I really want is people to quite assualting me with their vehicles to teach me a lesson concerning how they feel about me riding my bike, LEAGALLY, on the road!

Back to the Wall

I pay taxes and user fees to use my toys on the roads whose construction and maintenance are funded with taxes and user fees. Your argument is invalid.

GH55

I own two cars, I also own three bikes. So, I pay insurance, pay taxes when I purchase the vehicles, pay registration fees every year, and purchase fuel for the two cars which has taxes added to it. I do pay tolls occasionally when I drive on a toll road.
So, I also support the building and maintenance of the roads over which I travel, regardless of the type of vehicle I am in.
I cannot help the fact that our elected officials have chosen a flawed method of funding the construction and maintenance of our roads, and the fact that they escaped from their duties this summer without resolving that issue, should not reflect on my personal choice of vehicle. Don't yell at the bikers, yell at your elected politicians that can't get together and solve the overall problem.
Just because I ride a bike to commute occasionally, doesn't refund me all the previously paid money.
So, perhaps your invalidation of my argument is not appropriate, nor reasonable.

TXEX

Well the law says bicycles can be on roadways. I for one pride myself when I'm locking up my bicycle at the grocery store and see people being dropped off at the front of the building because of lazyness, people waiting 10 minutes for a handicap spot, the husband walking out to get the car to pull it around for someone that doesn't want to walk to the car, and multiple people on motorized carts wheeling in. A bicycle to me is not only for recreation but for staying fit while running errands. As for ponying up and paying I own a car. I pay taxes when I fill up, pay my house taxes, and my income tax.

If you want all this for a bicyclist maybe we should also do the same to tennis shoes for people that walk on sidewalks and/or roads? Does that sound fair since they use the road/sidewalk?

As for your comments about bicycles being toys I suggest you brush up on Michigan laws in regards to bicycles. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean your opinion is the law.

Orvis

Ok, I'll start by saying that there are some bikers that follow the rules and I as a motorist recognize and appreciate when they do. I won't lie, I dislike pedal bikers, but I have accepted the fact that I must deal with them. I feel like attempting to excercise or commuting at a higher rate of speed IN TOWN is a poor idea based on density. Many of the bikers have highlighted the potential threats in above posts. If your in town on a bike, seems isn't it best to play it safe and stick to sidewalks and bike paths and take it slow? Get out on the rural roads and kick up the speed. I think most of the trouble motorists have with bikers comes from "in town" issues.

GH55

Exceeding the speed limit "in town" can be done by many, but it takes effort. A usual commuter is probably doing 15-18mph. A "serious" rider can be in that 20-25mph range, but I don't do that on the way to work.
Few are amking the effort to crank it up in town above the normal speed limit. If the bikers are obeying the other traffic regulations, I am not sure what the issue is here.
Riding on the sidewalk, in town, would be crazy at anything over 10mph. They are narrow, and generally have numerous pedestrians, as it should.
I frequently wonder the same thing when I am on a rural road, no one else around, and some driver has to come within 3 inches of my handlebars.
I have had Bark&Chips guy, come across a double yellow line from the opposite direction to blast us with his air horn. What is up with that?

Tri-cities realist

"Bicyclists need to understand that, in order to remain safe, they should abide to the same laws as motor vehicles.

It’s not uncommon when approaching a stop sign or a crosswalk in a vehicle that a biker makes his or her way across the road in front of you without even slowing down. Bikers have the right away, but they should also use some common sense."

Someone please help me understand: isn't the statement that bikers have the right (of way), a false statement? Aren't bikers required to follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles?

Straightjacket

Yes they are. I received a ticket for running a red light on a bicycle when I was young and the points would have went to my drivers license. I went to traffic school to keep the points off. That's the big problem with bikers the majority do not stop at stop signs, red lights, turn right when no right turn is posted, try to go 35 in a 25, ride in bunches way below the speed limit, etc. Bikers are creating their own negative vibe through their poor riding habits when in fact they are to obey the car rules while on the streets.

TXEX

Correct me if I'm wrong but moving violations on a bicycle won't put points on your DL. You'll still have to pay the fines and fees.

24. If a bicyclist is cited for violating traffic law, does it go on their driving record?

No. The violations are civil infractions, but do not go on a person's driving record. There are no points associated with a bicycle violation.

http://www.lmb.org/index.php?opt...

happycamper

The only problem i have with the cyclist is when they ride down Lakeshore heading north or south is the gather in bunches, probably so they can talk to each other, then it becomes a problem with all traffic, then you have the occasional bike rider think there is no rules of the road, the forget everything, those are the one,s you have to keep on your toe,s because you don,t know witch way they are heading, if you acted like that driving a moped, you wouldn't last 5 minutes on the road, anyway, everyone be safe this summer.

Barry Soetoro

Slightly off topic but if I had a dollar for every time while out biking a woman told me my (redacted: spam filter) looked good in Spandex, I could retire to the alleged birthplace of Barry.

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