Imagine this: you are driving down W. College Street, minding your business when, all of a sudden, a Chaco-wearing, Nalgene-carrying, Kavu-single-strap pack slinging biker comes flying out of nowhere. You slam on the brakes, honk your horn and express your frustration by flipping the bird. Sound familiar? This happens all too often when bicyclists can’t seem to make up their mind whether they want to act like a vehicle or a pedestrian, going back and forth between the two at their own convenience.
When you are riding a bike on the street you are classified as a vehicle, meaning you have to obey all vehicle traffic laws. These include stopping at stop signs and traffic lights and signaling your turns. On the other hand, for those cyclists who want to bear the congestion of the sidewalk, pedestrians have the right-of-way. This simple rule seems to evade a whole host of you who decide to race down the Centennial Mall weaving between those who are walking. I cannot count the number of times I have almost been run over by an over-aggressive biker.
According to the Heenan & Cook law office, “Cyclists in driving lanes must adhere to all motor vehicle traffic laws such as turn indications and stops to be considered ‘lawful.’ If cyclists fail to follow traffic laws and it leads to a collision, they may be at fault.”
So, to all you bikers who seem to think you own the road, you don’t. Instead, you share the road with those who are driving around you. Those not-so-subtle bright yellow diamond signs that have a bicycle and the words “SHARE THE ROAD” are for both the operators of a motor vehicle and for those who are cruising in the bike lane.
On a side note, wear a dang helmet. You aren’t driving around town without a seatbelt so why are you coasting down Willson helmet-free? You are a college student and you’re literally investing in your brain, gathering knowledge that will aid you in your future career. Don’t throw it all away by risking a crash and suffering a devastating brain injury. Helmet hair may not be the most attractive look and flirting with your hot TA will become much more difficult, but you’re risking your safety and well-being by skipping out on protection.
Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, please be kind to one another and respect one another while on the road. Be safe and wear a helmet.