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VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L  July 1999

VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L July 1999

Subject:

Riding in the lane

From:

Haas/Davidow <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 19 Jul 1999 08:21:44 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (32 lines)

My reasons for riding in the travel lane, and my experiences do not negate
the need for adequate shoulders. I believe that reasonable, well paved and
clean shoulders make bicycling in the lane safer. I do not however, believe
that we need 4 foot shoulders on every state highway, just keep existing
shoulders adequate.

We have been riding in the travel lane on many state highways this summer
and this experience has made me believe it is safer than traveling in the
shoulder or close to the edge of the road. 95% of the cars and trucks that
pass us while we travel in the lane do so in the other lane and at a slower
speed than when they have room to get by us in their own lane. This same
percentage has been polite when they pass. It's important however, to get
into the shoulder when you see or hear a car or big truck that is not
slowing down or moving over. As a courtesy we also move over when we see
that a motorist has slowed down and a car is coming the other way.  It's
important to be vigilant when riding in the lane but it is not an attempt to
play chicken with cars nor an arrogance about our right to share the road.
It is safer, cars see us, slow down, and pass wider. It takes a lot of
attention to ride in the lane and late in the day it is sometimes too hard.
There are also roads that have too much two way traffic and if there is a
shoulder we ride on it. We try hard to stay off of these roads.

If we only cycle in the shoulder or as close to the road edge as possible
are we abdicating our right to share the road?  I know that not everyone
feels confident about riding in the lane but my hope is that those of us who
do it will help educate motorists about slowing for cyclists and sharing the
road. I think that our energy for making VT bicycle friendly is better spent
in slowing traffic and educating drivers than paving shoulders, which will
happen anyway.

Kathy Davidow

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