Move over, damn it! Bicyclists state their case

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Springing forward

With temperatures soaring into the 70s in the New York metropolitan area this week, it’s beginning to feel a lot like springtime around here. And you know what that means.

We’re going to lose an hour of sleep but gain an hour of daylight (allegedly). The flowers will bloom, the grass will grow and some of us will get wicked allergies. As if all of that isn’t annoying enough, we’ll be forced to share the roads with bicyclists, joggers, people on roller blades and maybe even people on hover boards. Oh, joy!

But let’s focus on the bicyclists for now. Yes, those weekend warriors who ride in packs and hog the roads, effectively turning them into treacherous slalom courses for motorists. Honestly, is there anything more aggravating than getting stuck behind a bunch of bicyclists on a Saturday afternoon?

That’s a rhetorical question — but that’s not to say there isn’t another side to the story.

Going to bat for the bicyclists

Urban bicycles. Photo by In Brief Legal Services Founder Alexandra Bogdanovic
New York City bikes. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

According to a recent Hartford Courant report, Connecticut groups that support cyclists want stiffer fines for drivers who don’t play by the rules. Specifically, they have asked state lawmakers to approve a new measure that would level harsher penalties against drivers who don’t “yield to pedestrians or bicycles that are legally using the road.”

Advocates say the measure would improve overall safety. But critics say the wording in the proposed bill is too vague. Critics also claim that the proposal fails to address careless behavior by pedestrians and bicyclists.

Reaching a compromise

Personally I think there are better solutions, some of which have already been implemented elsewhere. Designated bike lanes are fine — as long as the roads are wide enough to accommodate them. I also know of a few places where officials close the roads to regular traffic and let bicyclists take over for a set amount of time on certain days, weather permitting.

I’m not sure if there are already laws on the books prohibiting bicyclists from riding in groups or at least preventing them from riding two abreast. If not, I think there should be.

But of course, that’s just my humble opinion. What do you think?

 

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