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No Harmony Between Cyclists And Motorists

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CAN’T WE ALL JUST SHARE THE ROAD? A check of the strong responses that have come in after columns on motorists and cyclists traveling on the same pavement shows two- and four-wheeled harmony might happen.

Perhaps just before there’s lasting peace in the Middle East.

Considering New Mexico law mandates the sharing and considers bicycles vehicles, that needs to change.

Bill Collier Jr. writes “I am sick and tired of (cyclists’) demands. They do not have driver’s licenses, do not have (vehicle) tags, do not pay taxes, (are) not required to have insurance.”

Robert Frasier says “we all don’t have bicycles and we’re not all in favor of them. They’re getting a freebie.”

Elias says he and his dining companions discussed bicyclists with the wait staff at the Waffle House recently, and the consensus was the same as Bill’s. Bicyclists should pay taxes and register their bikes and have insurance if they want to be on the road.

When a topic makes the Waffle House, you know it’s mainstream.

Karena says she drives and rides, and “you have to give respect to get it.” In her experience, which includes her husband being run down on a trail by a cyclist and her cycling son being hit and seriously injured, most bicyclists “are not respectful of themselves” and ignore the fact they are at greater physical risk.

Creigh.gordon echoes that via email, saying “after more than 40 years of cycling, both recreationally and commuting, one thing that still drives me crazy is seeing cyclists taking unnecessary risks, like the two cyclists I recently saw riding on Lomas at night in dark clothing. … If I could give one tip, especially to new cyclists, for sharing the road with motorists it would be this one. If you’re riding on a heavily trafficked street, … there’s probably a better (less-congested) one a block away.”

Nancy says she’s “scared to death I’m going to hit” a cyclist and has “run into shocking rudeness” from two-wheeled drivers.

Dave Collis emails it’s important to “address the responsibilities of the bicyclists. They seem to routinely dare the driver to run over them with little regard to the safety of the road for themselves and the drivers of autos. … I think it is time for the bicyclists around the area to learn how to be safe with motorists instead of always pointing the finger at the motorist.”

Rosemary G. Chávez emails “how about addressing the fact that bicyclists do not appreciate the rights they have vs. motorist rights?” She cites the cyclists she routinely sees breaking the law by riding three abreast through Tijeras. “They do not move or ignore the fact that there are vehicles present, expecting us to go into the incoming traffic to avoid them. … It happens all over the city. … If we are required to share the road with bicyclists they should incur the expenses that we do as taxpayers, to keep the bicyclist lanes up to standards and safety.”

Terry Goldman says in an email “as a former cyclist I am sympathetic to drivers … might want to stop for a moment and think about the human being on the bike,” but as a driver I have been not infrequently frightened by aggressive … cyclist behavior that has caused me to come dangerously close to harming a human being, which I would certainly prefer to avoid doing. I suggest… ‘bicyclists might want to stop for a moment and think about the human being driving the car.’ ”

On the other side,

John Hooker emails “100 years ago driving was not ‘natural.’ Therefore, ‘accidents did not happen,’ and driving a motorcar was inherently dangerous and menacing. We changed our thinking. … Before that time, most people were on foot or on bicycles on the public roads. Now cars rule the roads, and pedestrians and bicyclists are the risk takers. … In simple terms, if you want to get away with killing someone, make sure they are outside your car and you are driving. It was just ‘an accident.’ ”

Bike safety instructor Julian Paul Butt says in an email that cyclists need to be alert, assertive, predictable and visible, and he recommends cyclists and drivers alike take one of the several city bike education programs that are offered.

Finally, late last year Sam Brownstein emailed about statewide traffic fatality numbers with a comment that with few alterations sums up the car-vs.-bike battle:

“The fatalities you list seem to indicate that it might not be too long before we no longer have fatalities by drivers under the influence or bikers not wearing helmets. Because they will all be dead. Unfortunately they will also take out innocent passengers, some of them children.”

Can’t we all just share the road?

road@abqjournal.com
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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