Letter to the Editor: Sharing the road a 2-way effort
As the weather improves, more people take to the streets. Most are on foot but an increasing number are riding bicycles.
Motorists in Pennsylvania need to be aware of pedestrians and cyclists and should be informed about traffic law. Members of the Walk/Bike Ross committee offer this primer about five commonly misunderstood rules of the road.
All state traffic laws are explained in Title 75, PA Consolidated Statutes which can be viewed online at: www.legis.state.pa.us.
In regard to pedestrians, the law is explicit. Motorists must yield the right-of-way to anyone in a marked crosswalk or an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. However, pedestrians may not leave a point of safety such as a sidewalk so close ahead of a moving vehicle as to constitute a hazard.
The law pertaining to motorist-bicyclist interaction is nuanced. Motorists may cross a yellow line to pass a cyclist — just as one would do to avoid a fallen tree — after determining that it is safe to pass. If not safe, wait patiently until it is. Cyclists may use a full lane when there is more than one forward lane. Motorists should move to the leftward lane.
Where a single forward lane exists, cyclists are to ride “as far to the right as practicable.” Cyclists, however, are not to be expected to ride so close to parallel parked cars that a suddenly opening door poses a risk of injury.
Drain grates, carrion, broken glass and other potential hazards along the road edge are perhaps most threatening to cyclists. They are to be avoided, and the cyclist, not the trailing motorist, gets to decide where it is safe to ride. Cyclists must protect themselves by “taking the lane” and motorists must recognize this, allow the cyclists space, then pass when safe.
Safe road-sharing requires that all users understand the laws and that motorists accept and respect the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists.
Ken Werner and Stuart Strickland
(The writers are members of the advocacy group Walk/Bike Ross)