Friday, July 25, 2008
Tension between cyclists and motorists over shared use of the roadway has been an ongoing issue since cars supplanted the bicycle as the dominant vehicle of personal transit. Recently however a road rage incident in Mandaville Canyon in which a motorist intentionally used his vehicle to seriously injure two cyclists has become a lightening rod in the debate about what it means to share the road in Los Angeles.
Although there are things that both cyclists and motorists can do to more harmoniously coexist, I noticed in reading online comments there is often a lack of understanding on the part of motorists on certain safety concerns of cyclists, common cycling behavior as well as the laws for bicycles (I will be discussing primarily California law). So I would like to address some of these common misunderstandings and for starters all laws concerning cars apply also to bikes, and bikes can use all roads except where expressly forbidden by signage, such as most urban freeways. I admit that when I primarily drove to get around I didn't know much about any of this even though I had always done some bike commuting. Education on cycling issues is massively under whelming, which is something that really ought to change. As mentioned toward the end of one my blogging cohorts recent posts, simply adding a cycling question to the DMV test could help educate and is a relatively simple thing to change.
In the interest of furthering education on sharing the road, I will over a series of future blogs posts address various points of confusion or contention, entitled Bicycle & Automobile Coexistence. These posts will primarily focus on educating drivers, however there are things many cyclists need to be aware of all well (I'm looking at you cyclists riding the wrong way in the bike lane). So lets all hold hands and share the road like little bears with delightful icons on their chest or something.