Safely share road

Sweeping generalizations made by the uninformed are seldom accurate. An example of such statements may be found in the recent letter to the editor submitted by Michael G. Brown of Altoona. The point of his letter is that bicyclists do not follow the rules of the road, while complaining that motorists don’t provide required 4-foot clearance and follow traffic laws designed to keep bicyclists safe.

I know a little bit about riding local roads with motorists from the vantage point of the bicyclist. Since 2000, I have ridden more than 65,000 miles in Pennsylvania and nine other states. I have ridden as an individual, in small groups and in large group rides such as the MS 150.

Brown stated that “Ten percent of the bicyclists will pull over to the right side in single file. The other 90 percent will not.” He continues, “They ignore the part of the law that pertains to them.” These statements are grossly inaccurate.

The riders I know realize that riding with motorists is a very dangerous undertaking. They also know that coming home safe at night trumps all other goals. To stay safe, the vast majority of riders obey the traffic laws, get to the right, signal when turning and stop at traffic lights.

It is scary out there for the cyclist. I have experienced rude, impatient, aggressive and inattentive drivers. I have been struck by thrown objects and propelled liquids, received obscene gestures and comments and have been forced off the road by those who fail to provide safe clearance.

We must peacefully share the road. In light of the recent serious accidents involving bicyclists and motorists, my message is as follows:

Bicyclists, obey the traffic laws, wear bright clothing and always ride with a helmet, lights and reflectors. Be sure to be seen and heard.

Motorists, get off your cell phones. Obey the traffic rules, adhere to posted speed limits and respect cyclists on the road.

Riders are going to be out there on the roads with motorists. It is only reasonable that bicyclists have the same opportunity to arrive home safe at night as the motorist.

Thomas J. Kristofco