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ISSUES

Gripe : Bicyclists' Discourtesy

August 23, 1993

S. HERBERT HERMAN

Fountain Valley

I am impressed at the number of bike lanes and paths in this region. I am also amazed at most bikers' total disregard for this privilege. They are not only oblivious to any kind of rules of the road, they discourteously mock them.

From what I see cyclists doing every day, their "rules of the road" would look like this:

1) Almost never stop at stop signs. In many cases do not even slow down. Often avoid stops at red lights.

2) Do not stop for pedestrians who properly cross streets and roads.

3) Ride on sidewalks even when bike lanes are adjacent.

4) Ride the wrong direction in bike lanes. (This is extremely dangerous because motorists at intersections do not expect to see a fast-moving bike in this opposite lane. This is especially true when a motorist looks both ways at a stop sign before proceeding, but is fooled by a biker going the wrong direction in this lane.)

5) Ride the wrong direction in automobile lanes.

6) When bike and pedestrian lanes are side by side, as in Shoreline Marina and Balboa Peninsula, give no respect to pedestrians.

7) Ride three and four abreast in bike lanes, straddling the divider line.

8) Forget hand signals, especially on left turns. Let motorists guess what you're going to do.

I have lived in California for seven years and in Pennsylvania before that. I find California motorists are among the most courteous in the nation. They allow other cars to cross into their lanes with less hassle than anywhere I have encountered. Pedestrians are treated with courtesy. California drivers rarely blow their horns except when really needed. Bikers should try to do as well in following the rules.

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