Hi, Mr. Smerconish,
As a 7-year full-time bicycle commuter, I appreciated your column yesterday about cyclists and motorists, which I read in the Portland Press Herald, Portland Maine. It's refreshing to read comments from a talk radio host who's not ranting about hitting us! I completely agree with you about cyclists needing to follow the law, and focus my advocacy precisely on education as well as law enforcement.
I do have one bone to pick with the article, and it's in the following sentence: "They [motorists] should stay off the shoulder, even when the car in front of them is making a left; it's meant for bikers and emergencies." I strongly disagree with the sentiment that the shoulder is meant for bikers. Shoulders are *not* designed for bicycle transportation, and as such they are not designed to the kind of standards that bike lanes, which *are* meant for bicycle transportation, are. Most of the public does already, and incorrectly, conflate shoulders with bike lanes, but THEY ARE NOT THE SAME! I know of no state where bicyclists are required to use the shoulder, even states where they *are* required to use a bike lane. The idea that shoulders are provided for bicyclists to use is not only incorrect from a traffic planning standpoint, but discriminatory and harmful to cyclists when reinforced in the public mind. I would ask to you to please think more on this point.
Are you aware of bicycle driving courses offered by the League of American Bicyclists? (www.bikeleague.org
). They teach "vehicular cycling" very similar to what you are talking about, and I think they are a great resource for both bicyclists and motorists to learn more about sharing the road. You might want to check them out if you haven't already.
Again, thank you for a generally good and useful editorial.