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  1. #1
    Fight the good fight
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    Motorist don't know they are suppose to share the road

    I can't tell you how many motorists I've spoken to and I explained that cyclist have the same rights as motorist (but we can't go on the highway in Ohio). Guess what? The motorist are really supprised to learn that we have a right to be in the left turn lane or in the street or to take over a lane if necessary.

    They honestly believe that we are suppose to stay on the bike path in the park at all times- (a slight, but not too far from the truth, overstatement there).

    Honestly, there should be a movement to get the BMV to include this information in motorist training manuals and the BMV should pass out literature when motorist renew their licenses. Better yet, motorist should be retested every 3 years (written test) as an opportunity to learn of new laws. This is important and I know someone is going to blast me about that last statement but that is how I feel so there you have it.

  2. #2
    Badger Biker ctyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Be Ready
    I can't tell you how many motorists I've spoken to and I explained that cyclist have the same rights as motorist (but we can't go on the highway in Ohio). Guess what? The motorist are really supprised to learn that we have a right to be in the left turn lane or in the street or to take over a lane if necessary.

    They honestly believe that we are suppose to stay on the bike path in the park at all times- (a slight, but not too far from the truth, overstatement there).

    Honestly, there should be a movement to get the BMV to include this information in motorist training manuals and the BMV should pass out literature when motorist renew their licenses. Better yet, motorist should be retested every 3 years (written test) as an opportunity to learn of new laws. This is important and I know someone is going to blast me about that last statement but that is how I feel so there you have it.
    You are absolutely right. The only way to get motorists aware of the fact that we do have a right to the road is through the DMV making sure the information is included in the driver's manuals and the written test.

    I'd agree with a retest, but it will never happen. There would be an outcry from everyone; drivers and the people who would have to administer the test.

    How about at the time the license has to be renewed?

  3. #3
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    It is in the Texas Drivers Handbook.

  4. #4
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    I believe some sort of retesting is certainly in order. Laws change all the time "I didn't know" is not a proper defense. The motorist I talk to are professional people and yet they were entirely clueless about the rights of cyclist. I wish you could have seen them as they gazed at me as if I had just turned on the lights -utter amazement was their reaction.

    The cost of gasoline is on the rise. There will be more cyclist in the near future. The government needs to be proactive at protecting those citizens who choose cycling as an alternative to driving.

    We can't leave all the work up to the BMV. We must somehow provide them with the proper literature and tests so that all they need to do is pass it out. They don't know that much about cycling and maybe they really don't care.

    It is important for those of you who chair cycling committees/boards to move in this direction ASAP.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabowker
    It is in the Texas Drivers Handbook.

    Do they make a big deal out of it, or a simple one line T/F question?

  6. #6
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Be Ready
    The cost of gasoline is on the rise. There will be more cyclist in the near future.
    I don't believe it for a moment. People continue to move farther away from work and services, and driver further for "pleasure". Most people will drive at any cost, and when the political pressure over fuel prices builds the politicians will find a way to keep the automobiles going, no matter what it takes.
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  7. #7
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    It's in the driver handbook in most states. The problem is it's not anywhere else. In the mainstream media almost invariably when they talk about bikes they throw in misinformation like they should keep as far right as possible.

    The Maryland Driver's Handbook warns motorists that bicyclists are
    required to ride as far to the right as practicable "only when the
    lane can be safely shared by a car and a bicycle, side by side."
    Furthermore, "There are certain conditions that allow a bicyclist
    to 'take the lane,' such as . . . the lane is narrow in width making
    it unsafe for a motor vehicle and bicycle to share the lane side by
    side." Finally, the handbook instructs motorists "Always allow at
    least three feet to the left of the bicycle when you are
    passing. . . . DO NOT attempt to share the lane with the bicycle
    when passing. Reduce your speed and move into the next or oncoming
    lane to pass."
    From the brief for the defense from State of
    Maryland vs. Robert A. McCutcheon, available online at
    http://crankmail.com/fredoswald/court_ca.pdf. McCutcheon was
    charged with not keeping to the right, and acquitted.

  8. #8
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    Then, we must protect our rights by forcing the BMV to provide accurate information and to properly assist with providing up to date and accurate information to motorist. Also, we must insist that they test the motorist to make sure they understand how this is supposed to work. Then, if they refuse to, they may be liable for damages.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    I don't believe it for a moment. People continue to move farther away from work and services, and driver further for "pleasure". Most people will drive at any cost, and when the political pressure over fuel prices builds the politicians will find a way to keep the automobiles going, no matter what it takes.

    This is only partly true. Because nobody is sending out checks to make up for the additional cost of gasoline, some people will be forced to cycle due to budge restraints.
    Believe that?

  10. #10
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Be Ready
    <snip> motorist should be retested every 3 years (written test) as an opportunity to learn of new laws. <snip>
    Quote Originally Posted by Be Ready
    I believe some sort of retesting is certainly in order. Laws change all the time <snip>
    I totally agree. Retesting motorists is an interesting opinion - one I have had for a while.

    I don't think it would work if promoted as a cyclists' initiative, though. We could
    ride the bandwagon of a larger-scope DMV reform strategy. Simply getting
    something like this happening in all 50 states is a pipe dream, but it's a good dream.

    I would support a shorter-term license renewal schedule; you would have to take a
    written test every 3 - 4 years. I would also go so far as to support motorists
    over 70 years of age having regular road tests.
    Last edited by * jack *; 07-06-05 at 03:59 PM.

  11. #11
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    I look at it both ways as a police officer. The bikes have the right to the use of the roadway, but must stay to the right as much as possible as do other slower moving vehicles. If I got behind a slow moving car, that driver has the obligation to stay to the right and can get a ticket for driving too slow just as they can from speeding. Bikes can't hold up other traffic just because they want to ride. When I ride, I make sure to stay to the right as much as possible.

  12. #12
    Beamish enthusiast
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    I usually ride near the shoulder, but not closer than a couple feet to the shoulder so that I have the lane, but cars can pass easily (although they still must cross into the other lane to do so). That way it is clear that I am using the lane, but I am not holding up traffic, either. So far, no tickets and I'm not dead.
    So very poor...

  13. #13
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    A few "Share the Road" signs with a bicycle on them would help to educate motorists.

  14. #14
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    Sentinel-

    I completely disagree that bikes "can't hold up other traffic." I am entitled, at least under MA General Law, to as much of the lane as I need to travel safely. If that means that a dozen cars are stuck behind me, doing 15mph, because the road is narrow and twisty with no shoulder, and they can't safely pass me, well too bad.

    Phinney-

    Signs are useless. They are posted all over the place around here, and I don't think anyone reads them. Most people don't stop at stop signs, and have no f@#%ing idea what a yield sign means, so why should they care about sharing the road with cyclists? They are too busy trying to juggle cell phones and coffee cups.
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  15. #15
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    I feel that the "Share the Road" signs are vital. After all, there are not enough stop signs for the rednecks of Georgia to fill with bullet holes. They need additional signs to supplement their target practice.

  16. #16
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    I gotta agree with demoncyclist. He is raw, yet he is right.

    Sentinel, as a newer road cyclist, I took the "keep as far right as possible so that cars can pass" literally. And the cars did pass me nudging me closer and closer to the curb. They could have gone into the other lane to pass, but they didn't. The cars were only inches away from me! That scared be so much I feel off my bike. The speed limit was 35mph, and of course everyone was doing 45. The right lane was the fastest lane because there was a highway entrance ramp less than 3 miles ahead.
    Nowadays, I takeover the lane and make the traffic go over a lane to pass me.

    That is why I believe the rules of engagement need to be clearer AND more needs to be done to make SURE that all drivers and cyclist understand how they work. Maybe 15-20 questions on this as an addendum to the regular written test with a small margin for error. Say 80% needed to pass. I know that is radical, but hey -this is serious stuff. That would annoy the you-know-what out of quite a bit of people -but the roads would be safer. Right?

  17. #17
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Well my highschool is regional so it includes nottingham and barrington kids as well. FOr the most part, they all take route 9 when they drive home. I also live on route 9 (but in DOver), and this road within +/-3 hours of schools end is a NO GO cycling route for myself. other than that though, I have no problems on the road as long as I as far to the right as possible. Even if your allowed to take up a small part of the actual lane, they have 4 much larger whels than myself so i would rather not
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    Maybe they should put up signs in the DMV. Or air public safety announcements. "Share the road."

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Be Ready
    Do they make a big deal out of it, or a simple one line T/F question?
    In the Texas Drivers Handbook they have a section that goes over bicycling. While it is mostly citing vehicle law, it is rephrased in what came across to me as a more pro-bike tone.

    e.g. A bicycle has the right to the full lane unless the lane is wide enough for a car to safely pass the bicycle, etc...

    I was quite impressed actually. I don't know how much it is covered on the test as I havn't seen the test in almost 30 years.

  20. #20
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkrownd
    I don't believe it for a moment. People continue to move farther away from work and services, and driver further for "pleasure". Most people will drive at any cost, and when the political pressure over fuel prices builds the politicians will find a way to keep the automobiles going, no matter what it takes.

    Once it gets expensive enough, the govt will most likely drop subsidizing automobiles and leave the drivers to pay for the "hidden" costs. Even if they only subsidize roads, leaving the driver to pay for the rest of the stuff they used to do for us will possibly double the cost of ownership. Reason to drop it is as people move further and further from work, it jacks up the cost the government has to pay, and they see nothing out of it....plus if they drop this and put it on the taxpayer, they can write it off as a tax cut, and end up looking good out of it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by phinney
    A few "Share the Road" signs with a bicycle on them would help to educate motorists.
    I kind of like the idea of some road markings. I'm thinking an arrow with a bicycle in it showing proper lane position as a reminder to motorists that bicycles should/may be there and as a reminder/assurance to cyclists of proper lane position. Could even have them in various lanes at intersections each pointing appropriately.

    Not thinking of them as establishing or promoting bicycle lanes per se as much as an educational tool for both cyclists and motorists as to correct lane position, cycling direction on road etc..

  22. #22
    Senior Member Don Cook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by * jack *
    I totally agree. Retesting motorists is an interesting opinion - one I have had for a while.

    I don't think it would work if promoted as a cyclists' initiative, though. We could
    ride the bandwagon of a larger-scope DMV reform strategy. Simply getting
    something like this happening in all 50 states is a pipe dream, but it's a good dream.

    I would support a shorter-term license renewal schedule; you would have to take a
    written test every 3 - 4 years. I would also go so far as to support motorists
    over 70 years of age having regular road tests.
    Let's be a bit fairer minded than this. If periodic testing is to be done, let them retest all individuals that have valid vehicle operators licenses. Anyone operating a vehicle on a public roadway should be tested and retested. Not just people that drive motorized vehicles. As annoyed as I get with motor vehicle operators when I'm on my bike, nothing they do compares to the virtually universal "cyclist's" behavior when it comes to disregarding general traffic laws.

  23. #23
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don Cook
    <snip> As annoyed as I get with motor vehicle operators when I'm on my bike, nothing they do compares to the virtually universal "cyclist's" behavior when it comes to disregarding general traffic laws.
    Oh, that's so true... would cyclists achieve more frequent testing of motor vehicle operators if they
    would likewise agree to a 'bicycle license', and just-as-frequent testing? You have a good point, Don.
    Does anybody know of any places that have very strict licensing and testing laws along these lines?

    Or, just a simpler solution: simply introduce a mandatory bicycle safety curriculum to be integrated in all
    official Driver's Education courses; those taught in high schools, as well as independent driving schools.
    Last edited by * jack *; 07-07-05 at 11:58 AM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabowker
    In the Texas Drivers Handbook they have a section that goes over bicycling. While it is mostly citing vehicle law, it is rephrased in what came across to me as a more pro-bike tone.

    e.g. A bicycle has the right to the full lane unless the lane is wide enough for a car to safely pass the bicycle, etc...

    I was quite impressed actually. I don't know how much it is covered on the test as I havn't seen the test in almost 30 years.
    I agree the section in the Texas Drivers Handbook is quite good. However, I believe most people ignore this section when reading for their drivers test, I know I did when I took mine. They simply do not think the section on bicycles apply to them (they're not riding bicycles!). I don't remember if there was any questions on the test regarding bikes.

  25. #25
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sentinel
    I look at it both ways as a police officer. The bikes have the right to the use of the roadway, but must stay to the right as much as possible as do other slower moving vehicles. If I got behind a slow moving car, that driver has the obligation to stay to the right and can get a ticket for driving too slow just as they can from speeding. Bikes can't hold up other traffic just because they want to ride. When I ride, I make sure to stay to the right as much as possible.
    Even looking at it both ways, you still don't manage to look at it the right way. You are incorrect about the law. The slow vehicle clause -- 9-21-5-7 -- specifically applies only to "motor" vehicles:
    9-21-5-7. Motor vehicles driven at slow speed impeding or
    blocking traffic.--A person may not drive a motor vehicle at a
    slow speed that impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable
    movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for
    safe operation or in compliance with the law. A person who is
    driving at a slow speed so that three (3) or more other vehicles
    are blocked and cannot pass on the left around the vehicle shall
    give right-of-way to the other vehicles by pulling off to the
    right of the right lane at the earliest opportunity and allowing
    the blocked vehicles to pass.


    There is no requirement to keep "to the right as much as possible." Indiana law 9-21-8-2 says:

    (b) Upon all roadways, a vehicle proceeding at less than the
    normal speed of traffic at the time and place under the
    conditions then existing shall be driven:

    (1) In the right-hand lane then available for traffic; or

    (2) As close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of
    the roadway;except when overtaking and passing another vehicle
    proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left
    turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
    It's questionable as to whether this law even applies to bicycles. An annotation to the Indiana law notes:
    "a bicycle is not a 'vehicle' because it is a device moved by human power. Sheptak v. Davis, 246 Ind. 499,5 Ind. Dec. 117, 205 N.E.2d 548 (1965)."

    But even accepting that bicycles are vehicles, this law says you can ride EITHER in the right lane, OR as far right as "practicable." "Practicable" is not the same as "possible." On a bicycle, the furthest right practicable position is often several feet from the curb.

    For a full discussion of the difference between "possible" and "practicable," don't take my word on it, read this brief prepared for a cyclist who was charged with not keeping to the right (and acquitted): http://crankmail.com/fredoswald/court_ca.pdf

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