Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - August 3, 2007

Bicyclists aren't the real menace

After reading James Werrell's July 27 column, I truly do believe that he is a far bigger menace than anyone on a bicycle. Yes, riding bicycles can be dangerous, but it is made even more dangerous by automobile drivers who seem to think they "own" the road.

For those of you out there who share Mr. Werrell's perceptions, please be aware that in South Carolina, a bicycle is also considered a vehicle. Cyclists must obey all the same rules as a motor vehicle. This also means that you must treat a cyclist as another vehicle on the road. You must give them the right of way when warranted, and you should pass them safely. Passing safely does not mean that the cyclist should be forced off the road and out of your way. Passing safely means that you and the cyclist are observing all the legal rules of driving and pass only when it is safe for both vehicles to do so.

Yes, I have seen cyclists go around traffic at a stoplight and hold everyone up instead of following the rules of the road and lining up where they belong. Yes, I have seen cyclists run red lights and have seen them riding more than two abreast.

I have also seen (and have had) people throw things out of their car windows at cyclists, encourage their dogs to chase them, and pass them dangerously close (within inches). Just a week or so ago, I was turning left from a left-hand turn lane. I signaled as I should have, and a car pulled up to the stop sign on the road I was turning on to. I had the right of way, I signaled, the driver saw me and proceeded to drive right toward me, glowering at me because I, apparently, was in her way.

Who was in the right? I was. I had the right of way, but this driver seemed to think that by virtue of her motor vehicle, she had the right to run the stop sign and that I should get out of her way.

Cyclists are hurt and killed every day because of the careless actions and disregard shown by automobile drivers. The saddest part is that the drivers who end up killing a cyclist are usually not prosecuted because, somehow, some way, the cyclist is usually found to be "at fault."

Please be considerate when you encounter a cyclist, and please remember that they have as much right to be on the road as you and your car do. I don't ride my bike to be a menace, and I always try to be considerate of motor vehicles.

Liz Anderson

Rock Hill