Right of Way Issues

“Are you trying to get yourself killed!?!”

I didn’t have time to answer the car as it sped by me on Route 210 this afternoon. But if I had been able, I would have said: “No, I am just using my rights as a vehicle to travel on this road, obeying all the legal codes and ordinances that grant me right of use to this road the same as you.”

There is a stretch where the road is three lanes wide, and then suddenly adds two lanes for left-hand turns. As a cyclist I need to stay to the right whenever possible, but I also need to make it to that right-most left-hand turn lane to make the turn to head home. With a 45 mph speed limit compared to my 15-20 mph speed on the bicycle, getting from far right to near left requires crossing three lanes of 45 mph speed.

And yet that is exactly what I am legally allowed, nay, required to do, to get where I want to go. So I watch the traffic closely for a break to shift over, lane by lane. I need space, tempo.

Sometimes I cane move when it is tight, and people are slowing for a red light, or when the light has just turned green.

But I also have to judge the people in the vehicles, which ones will heed this small fragile cyclist out here. The answer really is most all: getting hit might be a disaster for me, but it will also be more of an annoyance than any of them want to deal with.

Which doesn’t mean that some won’t play a form of chicken, or “scare the cyclist”.

Really, if I wanted to get technical, many of the car drivers, fortunately not the majority, are bullies where cyclists are concerned. Legal rights mean little compared to their great strength.

Most, unfortunately, don’t know the cyclists have rights. They think the roads are only for cars, that I need to use the (often non-existent) sidewalk.

I’m generally a libertarian, but where I might be a progressive is in requiring that the rights of cyclists, and the need to yield them the appropriate right-of-way, be a part of getting a driver’s license.

That is the problem, most people really are libertarians — everyone leave me alone — except for the area or two they want government to intervene in everyone else’s life.

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