So that’s why it’s called “Falls Road”

July-4-T-Bike-Safety-Take-1-alt-copyIt’s difficult for bikers and cyclists to share the road, as many individuals from both parties lack knowledge of the laws that govern our traffic ways. Even when rules are known, they are often not followed. Most of us know more than a few drivers upset by how cyclists ride and cyclists upset by how drivers drive. Some of you have perhaps felt frustration sitting in both seats.

Friends of Shelburne Paths is initiating a series of blog posts that we will replicate here for the edification of all interested parties. This is the first post in a series on sharing the road. Hopefully the posts will help both drivers and cyclists appreciate each other’s vantage points while using transportation infrastructure together. The posts will alternate between cyclist and motorist points of view. Sharing the road, after all, goes both ways.

A common issue faced by motorists, featured below, will kick off the series:

“Grrrr… that cyclist just swerved into my lane! What the heck! Get off the road if you can’t ride a bike!”

Why do cyclists swerve? Why do they move into the roadway where cars are? Typically, it is because there is a hazard. These pictures taken on Falls Road show a grate next to a manhole cover both in the lane that a driver might expect a cyclist to stay within. The pictures are very good, but the indentations are even greater than they look. A cyclist sees a hazard and has to quickly maneuver around it. But a driver might not see the hazard at all.

Drivers: be aware, especially around cyclists, of the shoulder conditions.

Cyclists: use a rearview mirror and be aware of traffic.

Other reasons that cause cyclist(s) to move left:

• Potholes

• Thick sand/gravel built up at the end of a driveway

• A branch protruding into the road

• Washed out road edges

• Passing a slower cyclist

And just as importantly:

• Walkers/runners/horseback riders in the shoulder or bike lane – cyclists are expected to move left toward the yellow/white line in the middle of the road to give the on-comer (who will be traveling against traffic) complete control over the side of the road.

• Cyclist turning left at an intersection – in this situation, cyclists need to command the road. They should position themselves just like a car, and act just like a car. They should be in the middle of the lane, they should signal, wait their turn and then, when it is their turn, proceed through the intersection. When clear of the intersection, they should move back over as far to the right as conditions allow.

There are numerous more situations to be identified. Not to worry, those concerns will be highlighted in a future post.

Please share your comments, experiences, or sharing the road questions with a visit to www.changinggearsvt.blogspot.com/.

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