So it is time to share the road and pay attention.
I say this, not to just drivers of cars and trucks but to each group. We each have a right to be on the road and we each have a responsibility to be there safely and with respect and concern for others on the road.
Here in Northwest New Jersey, the roads are beautiful to be on. They are back country roads with curves and hills, scenic views, sometimes spectacular views, tons of wildlife and typically NO SHOULDER. We have to share!
As a cyclist, I ride the white line. If I can be inside the white line — THAT is where I am. I think it is the safest place to be. Many cyclists ride outside or in the lane, legally they have a right to be there. Personally, if I can be on the shoulder I think it is safer and I see NO reason to be in traffic with cars unless I have to.
As a driver of a car, I pay attention. I do not want to be in a collision with anyone — runner, cyclist, car. I know, that it will change MY life forever.
So, let’s get clear where we should all be because not everyone knows!
Runners and walkers should be on the side of the road, shoulder facing traffic.
Cyclists should be on the side WITH traffic or the right side of the road. As a cyclist, you are a vehicle. You should be following the rules of the road, just as a car does. You can be ticketed for failing to stop at a red light, or stop sign, for speeding etc.
Motorcycles, Trucks and Cars — drive on the right side of the road between the lines.
Now that we have that clear — how can we all share without putting each other in danger:
- EVERYONE — do NOT text or be looking at your phone!!
- CYCLISTS — ride the white line. Be over as much as possible. Yes, legally you can ride two abreast but you MUST get single file when there is traffic AND it just does not make sense to be two abreast on narrow curvy roads when traffic might not see you until they are on top of you.
- DRIVERS — DO NOT PASS until it is safe. If you are in a car and you come upon cyclists, it is YOUR responsibility to pass them safely. Cyclists — MOVE OVER!! But as the driver it is NOT safe to cross the double yellow line on a curve to pass cyclists, you just have to wait! We had this happen a couple of years ago and the oncoming car that no one could see, had to run off the road because of a car passing us across the double yellow line. Think back, what does that double yellow line mean?
- YIELD — when it is appropriate to yield then yield. I have had the right of way, made eye contact with a driver, only to be cut off. As drivers, you need to yield to cyclists if they have the RIGHT of WAY, because they are vehicles and they have the right of way!!
- Be FRIENDLY!! Don’t yell things out of your car at cyclists and runners. It is rude. It is disarming and can be scary. There just isn’t any justification for it. At the same time, cyclists, be friendly!
- Communicate clearly — this is the biggest thing that all drivers need to do. Communicate where you are going! What you are doing! and be PREDICTABLE.
Riding on the road is the best! But we all need to do it with great care.
Enjoy the summer!!