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August 17 09:39 AM
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Cyclists have legal rights on roadways, too


Dear Editor,

The time of year is once again upon us. People are dusting off their bicycles and taking to the roads again, enjoying the great Michigan scenery.

It is also that time of year to remind drivers of automobiles that bicycles have the same rights on the roads as they have.

Most Michigan drivers are very kind and courteous to me as I ride around Almont and to other towns. But every now and then I get a driver that does not believe I should be on the road. They get right up beside me, almost hitting me, as I ride on the white line of the far right side of the road, as they honk their horns. Some make obscene jestures as well. I worry for my young daughter's well-being as she rides her bike on the roads as well.

Bicyclists should not ride on sidewalks as this causes more dangers to the bicyclist than riding on the road.

A policeman can ticket a bicyclist for breaking the same laws drivers must follow.

In the handbook Michigan puts out for bicyclists, under 'Tips for Motorists' it states:

"Cyclists have a legal right to the road and are more vulnerable to injury than motorists.

"Cyclists often need to ride out from the curb to avoid debris, car doors, rough road and other hazards.

"Be aware that cyclists may move left to cross railroad tracks at right angles.

"Give cyclists plenty of room when passing and merge back into the lane carefully. This is especially true of large vehicles or those with overhanging side mirrors.

"If the lane is narrow, merge left to pass cyclists rather than squeezing them. If you are passing another motor vehicle look for bicyclists in the opposing traffic lane before moving left.

"Remember that a cyclist's vision is affected by high beams just like motorists.

"Don't blow your horn at cyclists, you will startle them.

"When turning left, check for oncoming cyclists. When turning right, yield to cyclists in the lane. Don't pass them and then turn abruptly in front of them. Cyclists can travel up to 35 mph and speeds of 15 to 25 are not unusual."

Thanks to all the drivers out there who are courteous to the bicyclists on the road.

Tony Nungesser, Almont
May 21, 2008

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