The number of cyclists in the Heartland seems to be growing everyday. Folks are riding for exercise, for fun, or because they want a greener way to get around. Riding a bike is fun and practical, but dealing with traffic can be intimidating, especially to a new cyclist. Some drivers act as if bikes don't belong on the road and are unaware of the laws regarding bicycle use.
Bikes do belong on the road, and they have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. Most drivers are polite, careful, and want to do the right thing, but are unsure of what to do when approaching a cyclist. What a motorist should do is this: slow down and pass with care, giving the rider a minimum 3 feet buffer. That may mean waiting for oncoming traffic to pass, but that show of patience and courtesy will keep everyone safe.
Cyclists should return this courtesy to motorists by obeying ALL traffic laws. That means stopping at stop signs, signaling turns, and having proper lighting at night. A cyclist that ignores the law is subject to the same penalties as a motorist. As more cyclists take to the road now that warm weather is finally here, all of us need to be more conscious of what to do when sharing that road.
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