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My Turn: Cyclists have a right to ride on the road in safety

Last modified: 10/5/2013 12:17:11 AM
I am so sickened by the senseless loss of life after a thoughtless and reckless driver killed two cyclists and injured two others taking part in a group ride in Hampton. As a fellow cyclist I can only offer my sincere condolences to those families and maybe try to influence motorist thinking and behavior about sharing the road with bicyclists.

Cyclists have no protection against being hit by vehicles, which is why vehicles owe them extra respect. Just as motorists and cyclists yield to pedestrians, we, as motorists, must also be aware that cyclists have a right to be on the road and have a right to ride safely.

Yes, it can be annoying to have to apply the brakes and wait 3 seconds until it is safe to pass one rider or a group of cyclists, but that is what is required by common sense and the law.

Unfortunately this accident is also a reminder that it is never okay to text and drive. Whether texting was a contributing factor to the Hampton accident is still to be determined, but texting and driving needs to stop now.

Whether controlling this behavior is accomplished by passing a law or by technology that would disable cell phones in moving vehicles, it is time for zero tolerance of texting and driving.

Finally, some motorists do not give enough space when they pass bicyclists.

This is probably more out of ignorance than any intent to scare or harm the rider.

There are some very good signs to educate motorists that could be posted around the state that say “3 feet at 30 mph, 4 feet at 40 mph and 5 feet at 50 mph” for clearance distance when you are passing a cyclist.

Sharing the road is a two-way street, and cyclists can sometimes do a better job of being respectful riders.

But please don’t forget that a person out enjoying a ride does not deserve bodily injury for riding on the road.

(Pam Geiger lives in Hopkinton.)


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