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Old 05-31-09, 07:56 AM
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Entry for July 11, 2008
I'd like to start by pointing out that there are no bicycle "riders".
People on bicycles (bicyclists, cyclists, bikers, whatever you want to call them)either drive their bicycle like it's a car, or they race their bicycle, like they are headed for the Tour de France.

It's important to remember that the racers are practicing a sport which has been around since before the invention of the automobile. The cyclists are still on the same roads, trying to compete against someone who biked ten miles in nineteen minutes, who left a record time, based on the stopwatch back in 1879. Those who race against the clock in such a fasion will look left and right at an intersection, but unless there is a truck coming, they will not stop.

These cyclists have an interesting legal argument; they've been riding these roads since 1879, and the stop signs and traffic lights did not appear until 1917, at the earliest. The traffic lights were intended for automobiles.

Let's now discuss "driving" a bicycle. Suppose I want to drive my bicycle into town to get a quart of milk and a loaf of bread. I have no need to set a record time, this "milk run" will not go down in sports history. I will drive my bike to the end of the driveway and stop. I will look both ways, and let the cars go by. When there is a break in traffic, then I pull out. Likewise, I stop at the stop sign, and I stop again for any lights that are red. I can not cover the ten miles in nineteen minutes, like that bicycle racer did in 1879. It will take longer , chalk it up to "progress". I will even check my rear-view mirror and pull over to let truck-traffic go by.

Make sure you (and your kids) know the difference between racing and driving. Too many amature cyclists are learning by example, doing what the racers do. Stop your bike and yield for traffic, especially trucks. It's better to let the motor vehicle operator go first and live , that for you to go first on your bike and get killed. Don't argue about who has the right-of-way, that's for a Judge to decide after you're dead. Just be courteous. Courtesy is contagious.

Racers have a legitimate gripe too; there aren't enough velodromes (bicycle race tracks) to practice on to stay in shape. So their racing has to be done on public roads. The paths in the parks are only designed for eighteen miles per hour, and they are crowded with walkers.
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