Sharing The Road – What hasn’t been said.

With three cyclists killed by drivers in the last three months in Vermont, the amount of discussion about cycling, road safety, and other topics related to cycling has increased dramatically.  Articles have been written by journalists, reporters, a police chief, and leaders of advocacy groups have made statements in print and other media.  The Transportation Secretary issued a statement.  The State Police released a new PSA.  My social media accounts have been filled with discussion of it, but for the most part I have remained publicly quiet about it.

I’ve seen countless discussions about lights, reflective gear, and more bike lanes to make things safer for cyclists.  Most of these discussions have focused on things that cyclists should be doing to stay safe.  I have also heard many people blame cyclists for being on the road in the first place, that they do not belong there.  On a friend’s Facebook page I saw a picture he had taken of the back of a truck that said “Bicyclist of VT it’s time to register, inspect and insure or GET OFF THE ROADS!!! your no longer pedestrians, follow traffic laws”, as seen in the picture below.

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I’m not writing this to get bogged down in debate about any of those things.  Yes there are cyclists that do not follow the law, and there are cars that drive dangerously.  I’m writing this because through all of the articles, blog posts, media interviews and statements, there is something I have not heard anyone talk about.  The laws regarding cycling on the road.  Why aren’t we talking about that?  The State Police PSA does not explain it.  The Transportation Secretary, leaders of advocacy groups, reporters, nobody has talked about this in detail, and it is clearly misunderstood.

One of the local advocacy groups actually has a flier that puts it all in very plain, easy to understand language. (http://www.localmotion.org/documents/safety/Safe_Streets_brochure_2010_–_low_res.pdf).  Another cycling group has a link to a page that contains all the relevant laws in their actual language on one sheet (http://thegmbc.com/VTBikeLaws.pdf).  So even though I understand that some people would like to see changes regarding bicycles on the road, as it stands right now there are laws currently in place that we should be talking about.

With very few exceptions that are clearly marked such as I89, bicycles have every right to be on the road.  That’s the law.  In the simplest terms, bicycles are on the same roads with the same rules.  They are supposed to be there.  Bicycles have the exact same rights as cars have, and they have the same responsibilities.  That means stopping at stoplights and signs, signaling before all turns and lane changes, having lights on at night.

According to the law, cyclists are required to ride with the flow of traffic and as far right as is safe.  What is safe is determined by the cyclist, not the driver following or passing them.  What may look safe from your car is quite often a field of ruts and debris that is unsafe to ride on.  There are many shoulders that are not safe to ride on, and there is no law that states cyclists are supposed to ride there.  In fact the law makes it clear that they are not required to.  Again, the law states to ride as far right as is safe.  There are also bike lanes that are not safe to ride on, and once again the law is clear that cyclists are not required to use the bike lane.  Just last week the bike lane in Winooski was obstructed by an automated radar/speed display.  The bike lane on Pine St in Burlington is horribly damaged and unsafe to ride in many areas.  These are just a couple examples or reasons why they are sometimes unsafe, but again it is not required to be used.  Bicycles have a right to be on the road.

This next part is only my opinion, but I believe many cyclists need to do a better job of actually riding in the lane, as far to the right as is safe, but actually in the lane instead of on the shoulder where they end up weaving back and forth between the shoulder and the lane.  This weaving from shoulder to the lane is one of the biggest complaints I hear from drivers. However, drivers need to understand that bikes will drift left and right the same as a car does within it’s lane.

When it comes to passing a cyclist the law is also clear.  Cars should only pass when it is safe, and provide extra clearance between the vehicle and the cyclist when passing.  A good rule to follow that is actually law in other areas, is to give at least three feet of space between the car and the bicycle.

That’s the law in simple language that everyone can understand, and links to the laws themselves.  I understand not agreeing with things and wanting them to be different, but that’s not the point.  As of today, according to the law, a bicycle on the road is supposed to be treated the same as a car.  They are also supposed to follow the same laws as a car.

I’ve seen Facebook posts showing groups of cyclists pulled over by police for running a stop sign with a caption of share if you agree.  For the record, I agree.  I’ve also seen pictures of the back of a bus that says “every lane is a bike lane”.  I agree with that as well because it’s the truth, it’s the law.  The new PSA from the Vermont State Police says “Share the road”.  Let’s be clear about this.  This statement has always been directed at cars.  There is no cyclist in their right mind that believes they don’t have to share the road with cars.   If you see a cyclist blowing through a stop sign, failing to signal a turn, riding without lights after dark, or riding three abreast blocking the flow of traffic you should report them.  If you see a car passing too close, passing too fast, cutting off a rider, yelling/honking at a rider while passing, or harassing in any way, report them.  In Chittenden County there is a phone number 802-861-3344 or website (www.reportrecklessness.org) that you can use that will also be referred to the proper police department.

I ride my bicycles a lot.  For every car that passes too fast or close, honks or screams while passing, and is flat out dangerous, there are at least 100 cars that are following the law, and another couple cars that are even extraordinarily kind and courteous.  I have found the same to be true of cyclists when I am driving my car.  The guy riding toward me in my lane of traffic on North Ave the other day had me cursing out loud, but I ride with and see far more riders that are safe and responsible.

I’m certainly not saying to stop talking about all of the other issues people are bringing up because of this.  Discussion is a good thing, but could we please start by following what the law actually is?  If the drivers of the cars that killed three cyclists had been following these laws, three amazing people with hundreds of friends and family members would still be alive today.

Cyclists

  • Same road, same rules
  • Ride as far to the right as is safe
  • Ride two abreast only when not impeding traffic
  • Follow all traffic laws, stop signs, lights on at night, signal all turns
  • Report unsafe driving and harassment
  • Be nice, smile and be courteous

Cars

  • Cyclists have the same right to the road as a car
  • Slow down when passing and pass only when safe
  • Give extra space when passing (at least three feet)
  • When in doubt, yield
  • Report unsafe or unlawful cycling
  • Be nice, kind, and courteous
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185 thoughts on “Sharing The Road – What hasn’t been said.

  1. “Same road same rules” would imply everyone knew the rules. Motorists are tested licenced, thus assuring they know the rules of the road. How do we know this to be true of bicyclists? Should there be some type of “testing”/licensing” process in place for bikes using the same roads under the same rules?

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    • The answer to your question is No. You’re going to make me take my twelve and eight year-old daughters to the Secretary of State to take a road test so they can ride a bike? You’re opening a can of worms before you thought through what this would actually look like in terms of legislation.

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      • As a parent, I would never allow my 8-year old to ride along or in a heavily traveled Vermont road that when originally constructed was never intended for bicycle traffic, or where the speed limit is high. I believe it is irresponsible, legal or not. Nor would you find me on a bike on most of Vermont’s roads. Legal or not, it’s dangerous, even when everyone obeys the rules. Our roads are narrow, hilly, curvy, and often in rough shape. One of the biggest dangers of car on car accidents is a lack of consistent traffic flow, meaning one vehicle is either going far below or far above the normal speed expected. Bikes are traveling half the speed of cars on many roads, and cars can and do come upon them very fast on blind curves or a spot too narrow or treed for a cyclists to pull over if that car cannot stop in time or pass. I’ve been on a bike, far off to the right and had cars coming from behind and ahead, at 55 when I am going maybe 18. Everything legal. But when these vehicles are big 18 wheelers or tour busses or other large vehicles they leave very very little room for error on anyone’s part, even when everyone does everything right. I decided long ago that most Vermont roads I biked on, legal or not, were simply not safe because of the type of roads they are. And thus, for me, not enjoyable.

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        • All roads were constructed for bike traffic except expressways. You don’t actually think cars came first do you?

          Your own decisions aside, I think it’s irresponsible to keep my kids confined to their yard, but that’s me. When I was a kid, we’d ride twelve miles to school, one way, on our bikes. Middle School, so I was 13… 45mph was the speed limit on the roads. Of course, I lived in farm country and every kid rode a bike. Actually, nowadays I ride down in South Carolina, in the mountains, on narrow, winding roads, and the motorists are spectacular and courteous there. Hmmm. Georgia too (northern of course, I wouldn’t touch Atlanta with a ten-foot pole – too busy for my comfort). Hmmm. I wonder why that is?! How could those people be so great to cyclists? Florida is a bit scary but they have a lot of crotchety, impatient north-easterners down there… Uh Oh! I may have stumbled onto something!

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        • No, all roads were not constructed for bike traffic. Bicycles have never been a mode of mass transit by individuals, and roads were never with bikes as a primary consideration. I rode my bike all the time as a kid, on roads that were safe and I was not on the edge of traffic hurtling at 55. Just because you choose to ride on winding roads with high speed limits and have not been hurt does not mean it’s a safe practice. You were 13 when you rode your bike, not 8. To allow an 8-year old to ride along a narrow VT road where vehicles are going 50-55 is irresponsible, in my opinion.

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        • Yes, they were made for motorized traffic, farm equipment included. And every time, and I mean every time, I am behind a slow tractor the driver of that tractor finds the first safe place to ease or pull over to let the traffic being impeded make its way safely past him or her. I wave politely for the courtesy, and the driver of the tractor waves politely or nods. Never do I see a farmer act ignorant of his impeding traffic and stubbornly “take the lane” simply because he can, the way I encounter cyclists who clearly see and hear me and the other cars they are impeding behind them, yet continue to impede traffic, 2, 3, 4-abreast, leaving it to the luck of finding that rare long straightaway with no oncoming cars for the cars to pass. Therein lies the difference.

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        • idea2book, absolutely spot on. When towing my camper and I can’t maintain speed (and to me that is 40-45 in a 50) I find the nearest safe place to pull over and allow traffic to pass. This is with me only 5-10 under the limit, not 15 in a 55, yet I do the courteous thing. I am well within my rights to continue down the road at 45 and let the traffic pile up. If you are close to the speed limit, or the flow of traffic you are not legally impeding it, however 15 in a 50 is illegal if you are holding up the flow of traffic.

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        • Interestingly, I was checking on something else on Lexis Nexis this morning and on a whim I did a search. Apparently Vermont does not have a statute at all defining any grounds for ‘Impeding the flow of traffic’. Isn’t that interesting ?

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        • That’s because our Vermont culture leans towards good manners and its the assumed behavior. As we get more out of staters settling here (in what we would call the urban areas 😉 that culture may get overwhelmed, it is certainly is a dead heat in Burlington between those who will just honk their horn and those who will try to make sure even those without a right of way get into the traffic flow. One of the highway interchanges in Burlington only recently got a light to control a very busy merge intersection. Up till then, manners were sufficient.

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        • I wholeheartedly agree with you. These roads were built eons ago and are hilly with blind curves and one lane in each direction, no shoulder with a double yellow middle line – AKA a highway. Bicycles are not allowed on traditional highways and should not be allowed on these “country” highways. If you wish bicycles to be in the streets, build bike lanes. No bikes should be allowed on a street without a shoulder with a double yellow line.

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        • If the street is unsafe to pass on, you should be calling for banning cars from it. Bicyclists don’t kill others, but car drivers too often make bad decisions about when to pass and end up sideswiping cyclists.

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      • Neglecting the fact that cars were once driven without licence as well. The fact that a car can cause so much damage when not driven with care and responsibility has necessitated it. I agree, anyone who is on the road should have at least a basic understanding of the road rules and there are voluntary programs in place though unfortunately not very well advertised.
        You might also be surprised to know that the majority of cyclists are indeed licensed drivers already, also, the majority of cycling accidents I have become aware of were preventable if the driver of the car were paying attention and driving with respect and consideration.

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        • When I was a kid (not in VT) they taught bike safety in schools, and you had to pass a test to ride your bike to school. I don’t recall my kids having this, and AFAIK high schools in the state generally don’t have enough driver’s ed slots for all students.

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      • The Secretary of state’s office is a bit extreme. But what about a bicycle safety program, much like the snowmobile program. I would argue that anyone riding on the roads is in more danger than riding a snowmobile on a trail. Both drivers and riders need to be educated.

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        • Well Karen, it’s tough to argue against that, especially when you see such a large number of people riding on the wrong side of the road, but I believe there are a number of less obtrusive ways to get the message across. Public service ads would work or at least go a long way, even better, making bicycling laws and etiquette a part of the written exam for driver’s license tests (this would reach almost the entire population – cyclists AND motorists because the vast majority of us drive too).

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      • I would think that your 12 and 8 year old would not be riding on the road without adult supervision…and if some type of bikers safety course was mandated that would help insure lives saved, some legislation – at whatever level- is worth that I would think.

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        • Why do motorcycles need a special endorsement? They already know the rules of the road if they have a drivers license. Hell, you don’t even need a primary school education to hop on a bike and mix it up with traffic. I’ve yet to see someone who can ride a bike struggle to learn to ride a motorcycle. Some are naturals and some take a day or so to learn. But I’d venture to guess you would go from bike to motorcycle more quickly than walking to a bike with no experience.

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        • Utterly boggles the mind. I’ll take a biker’s safety course when hell freezes over and I can ice-skate to the office to do it. Any idiot can look up cycling road rules on the internet in three tenths of a second.

          Look Tina, laws are already on the books for how to ride a bike. People don’t follow them because they’re stupid. I see two bike riders a week, minimum, riding on the wrong side of the road. This is already illegal, but those dopes think “seeing traffic” makes them safer. They know they’re supposed to ride with traffic, they choose not to. No amount of education is going to fix stupid, just make life suck for everyone else.

          Riding on a sidewalk is illegal (in many States and cities) and is stupid. Riding against traffic is dangerous, stupid and illegal. Technically, blowing a stop sign is illegal (though less dangerous than either of the previous two if done intelligently – but there’s a problem right there). More legislation won’t fix this, it shouldn’t be needed because all of the dumb things people complain about shouldn’t be done in the first place.

          Buzzing a cyclist on the road is illegal as hell but that doesn’t stop people from doing it – it happens to me once or twice a week! Should we re-educate all motorists on how to accept bikes on the road? Would that help the problem? Of course not. People do stupid stuff.

          The younger daughter does have supervision. The older, not as much. We don’t live in a city though, we’re way out in corn country. As long as she follows the rules of the road (which she knows like the back of her hand because her dad is a cyclist) and avoids the busy streets, she’s perfectly okay.

          In fact, she’s treated with more respect than I am on the road. Funny how that works.

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        • How is “blowing a stop sign” on a bike any more safe than doing so in a car if done intelligently as you put it? There are a dozen stop signs in my small town where you can see approaching traffic from both directions for hundreds of feet before the stop sign. So is it ok for me to blow that stop sign at full tilt as long as I know there is no traffic? I would bet my friendly local LEO’s would not find that amusing in the least.

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        • First, Drivers licenses are issued at 16 in many states, and those 16-18 year olds are out driving without adult stup’ervision ( it’s a contraction of stupid and supervision, love the assumption that adult means responsible ). But that isn’t even the point. At the end of the conversation, licensing and educating cyclists has absolutely no value, since they are not the ones that causing the incidents. We do educate and license drivers, and yet these educated and licensed drivers are the very ones that are failing to observe the most basic rule of driving. Behind that wheel, you have one job, pay attention and control that monster you call a car. Failure to do this results in “accidents”, and innocent people die.

          So, what you propose is the same thing as saying that saying a woman who dresses in a particular manner is ‘asking to be raped’. A cyclist who rides in a certain way (on the road) is asking to be killed. In both cases, you are blaming the victim for the crime? #facepalm

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        • I like how you try to tie rape to riding a bicycle. There is absolutely nothing a woman or man can do deserve to be raped. How you can turn that into bicycles are never at fault for anything and any indecent blamed on a cyclist is akin to blaming a woman for being raped is a bit of a stretch don’t you think?

          I keep hearing from you folks that licensing and registering bikes will have no impact on behavior and therefore is not needed. If these things have no impact on behavior then why do we need them for cars? To be held accountable, that is why. Just because you think you can’t kill anyone other than yourself riding a bike like an idiot doesn’t mean it can’t happen, and you riding like an idiot and paying the price is in no way victim blaming when you are the causation in the equation. Just because your bike is likely to cause hundreds or maybe a few thousand dollars in damages vs totaling a car also doesn’t negate your financial responsibility to make them whole again either.

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        • bgddyjim, actually a lot of folks don’t know that they are supposed to ride with traffic. I’ve asked folks who ride against traffic about it and they say they assume the rules for a bike are the same as the rules for someone walking. Education would go a long ways towards alleviating some of the poor bike habits we see on Vermonts roads. And its not a big deal. In cub scouts we run a bike safety course for the bear rank (3rd graders) that usually takes two meetings including some actually riding exercises in a school parking lot. Its amazing the number of misconceptions the kids have. Seems like a wider community bike safety course given by the local LEO’s already working on community policing in the schools would be a good way for kids and police to interact and have some fun. I hope I’m not signing them up for a work overload but it does seem a logical activity in the schools for officers that would save lives and build trust with the kids. Not a bad project for some eagle scouts and/or some Scouters to pursue as part of their community service either.

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      • DanD do you have a citation for your claim that the first paved road came from an American Bicycle Association project? In my research the American Bicycle Association was founded in 1977 in Gilbert, Arizona and we all know “In 1870, a Belgian chemist named Edmund J. DeSmedt laid the first true asphalt pavement in this country, a sand mix in front of the City Hall in Newark, New Jersey.”

        https://www.usabmx.com/site/sections/7
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Bicycle_Association#cite_ref-30
        https://www.asphaltpavement.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=21&Itemid=41

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    • you are very lucky if no motorists drive too fast, on the wrong side of the road, under the influence of drink or drugs, whilst distracted, whilst barely able to stay awake where you are because those things happen everywhere else – knowing the rules of the road and giving a damn about them are two different things. It was a licensed and tested motorist who just killed two children in the UK yesterday, as it is a licenced and tested motorist who causes all our road deaths

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    • By that argument, pedestrians, runners, and someone walking out on the road should be tested/licensed to make sure they walk well. How about that parent pushing the baby jogger or stroller, surely there should be a class and fee for that? Lets make the walkers strap a license plate on their shoulders.

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      • Not accurate. Pedestrians, runners and walkers are not legally allowed to travel in the travelled portion of the road as cyclists are allowed, and expected; they are expected to be off the travelled part of the road. That’s the one rule for them. Plain and simple.

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        • Once again, spot on. It seems they cry for equality on the road, and then come up with a million reasons why they can’t follow the rules that they don’t like. You can’t have it both ways, pick one and stick to it. If you are not a vehicle that shares the same rules then stay off the traveled portion, if you are a vehicle that follows the same rules, well, then you need to follow all of them, not just the ones that allow you to do what you please and ignore the ones that you don’t like.

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        • And yet again, you are wrong. If a pedestrian is not allowed on the road, why are there rules and laws noting that pedestrians on the roads shall travel against the flow of traffic for safety and visibility purposes? If a sidewalk is present, then they are encouraged to use it. As for crossing, they are encouraged to use crosswalks when present.

          And Josh, the thing about equality is that legally, we have it. As for following the rules, did you know that studies performed in multiple cities around the world have firmly established that by percentage, more cyclists come to a complete stop at traffic control signals than cars? Similar studies show that less than 25% of the vehicles on the road are traveling below the speed limit.

          Further, Josh, you note about having it both ways. Let me note a few areas where this goes both ways. As a driver, you regularly pass a cyclists in a single lane, sometimes crossing a double yellow line to do so. Are you then offended when the cyclist does the same to you? Have you ever crossed a double yellow to enter into a left turn lane early to get around a line of stopped traffic going straight? How about squeaking around a couple of cars on the right to make a right hand turn when no proper lane exists? These are all common practices that are codified as moving violations. You take offense at cyclists doing these things, while you disregard the same behaviors by drivers.

          There is an old saying about people in glass houses not throwing stones.

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        • I love how you know me and how I drive after reading a comment on the internet. There is not one of us here that has never broken a traffic law, regardless of whether you have ever received a ticket. Just ask Jim, if you don’t get a ticket it’s not against the law.

          The difference is, if I am an idiot in my car, you can get my plate number and call it in, when you are an idiot on your bike all I can do is say some guy/gal on a bike is being dangerous, well that really narrows it down now doesn’t it?

          And, I believe idea2books point, not mine, was that pedestrians and not permitted to walk in the TRAVELED portion of the highway. Try “Taking the lane” as you walk down the middle of a 50mph two lane highway and see how long it takes to have a chat with your friendly LEO.

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    • That testing, insurance, and registration thing really works well for getting motorists to obey the law. The all, always come to full stop at all stop signs. They all, always come to a full stop behind the stop line prior to turning right on a red light. The all, always stop behind the stop line and out out of crosswalk. The all, always come to a full stop when a pedestrian is attempting to cross the road either at a crosswalk or not (it’s the law even if there is no crosswalk) They all, always give cyclists three feet passing space. They all, always drive at or BELOW the posted speed limit.

      And since all motorists have been tests, licensed, carry registration and insurance on themselves and their vehicle are all such perfect road users, it only stands to reason the bicyclists will benefit from the same.

      Bull!

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      • My friend has his leg broken crossing the street, in a crosswalk, with the little lighted man saying ok to cross and red lights at every part of the intersection. The bike ran the light, hit him, broke my friend leg, and then got up and took off down the road with bent front wheel. No way to catch him and they were stuck with the medical bills. Seems fair I guess since he didn’t die and all. SMH!

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        • Your friend was the victim of an ‘accident’. In a car on cyclist incident, this would have been a ‘failure to yield the right of way’. $200 fine, couple of points on the license and have a nice day. Insurance would have paid the bill, assuming the driver stopped (few do). Guess what, the cyclist in this case was a douchebag, none of us will argue that, but do his actions justify vilifying all of us? nope, no more than most cyclists view all cars as evil, but with cell phones it’s getting dangerously close to that line.

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      • So do the actions of some douchebag car drivers justify vilifying all cars? Nope, but that is the reasoning being used by many as to why cars need to be registered and bikes don’t.

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        • Actually, yes. Car drivers killed 32,000 people in 2013. Yet somehow your interest in is the few cyclist-caused issues. That doesn’t justify them, but it doesn’t worry me (or any legislative body) to require licensing bikes when there are far more incidents because of car drivers.

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        • So if I kill someone riding a bike it is the fault of the entire cycling community. You really need to clarify your statements better, I’ve been taking reading comprehension advice from Jim.

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    • People are tested and licensed to drive a car because cars are extremely dangerous machines. They can reach very high speeds. They weigh a lot. They cause a lot of damage to property when they aren’t piloted properly. They cause a lot of damage to roads even when they are piloted properly. They also cause a staggering number of deaths every year. You’re being tested and licensed to say, essentially, ‘hey, this guy is ok to drive this dangerous machine in a public space.’

      There’s really no reason to ask a bicycle rider to be tested because cyclist pose little threat to anyone around them. I’ve seen the argument thrown out that “cyclists make me swerve into oncoming traffic.” or “a guy on a bike made me almost run off the road.” While that may be possible, most of those instances are caused by the person in the car failing to yield to the bike rider…trying to pass him on a hill, in a blind curve, or somewhere where there was limited sight distance. I’ve never seen a guy riding a bike reach into someones car and make them turn the wheel any direction or press the gas. 99% of the time simply slowing down on curvy roads, and driving at or slightly under the speed limit, not tail gating, and not looking at your phone, will alleviate any problems you might encounter from a random guy riding a bike.

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      • Except for the reason that if an inexperienced cyclist intends to travel on a 55 mph Vermont highway, they might want to know what the safest and best practice is to be the most responsible traveler they can be; and help reduce the odds of their being in an accident with said vehicle.

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      • Motorcycles are not dangerous machines that “kill people” like cars and trucks. But motorcyclists need to know the rules of the road and safety to be responsible travelers on the traveled part of the road. Cyclists should be held to the same standard if they want to travel on the road.

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        • While a motorcycle travelling at 45 MPH has far less momentum than an F150 travelling the same speed, it’s still a lot more (and, I’d guess, at least an order of magnitude more) than a bicyclist travelling at 25 MPH (which is pretty darn quick on anything short of a steep downhill). Motorcyclists doing dumb things can and have killed car occupants; I’ve seen after-crash photos of motorcycles that were mostly inside what was left of the car they hit. I’ve never seen a bicyclist manage to get inside a car by sheer momentum.

          Would we all be safer if there were more motorcycles and fewer cars? Absolutely; 800 pounds of combined weight travelling at 45 MPH is still a lot less momentum than 4500 pounds of combined weight at the same speed, to say nothing of the width of the vehicles or the inherent limitations on distracted operation of a motorcycle (it can be done, just as one can ride a bicycle while on the phone or texting, but it isn’t nearly as common). Granted, a bicyclist vs. motorcyclist incident is probably going to end badly for both parties, but most cyclists of both varieties are sufficiently interested in self-preservation that I don’t see that being a big deal.

          And that, IMO, is one of the two best arguments for requiring registration and insurance on motorized vehicles but not on human-powered ones–there’s a significant difference in the amount of damage one can do to others’ life and property and how readily one can do it. The other is that, if one believes that we have the constitutional right to travel freely within the country, requiring licensing and registration for human-powered travel seems to impinge on that right.

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      • Please come up to Lake Placid in the summer. Roadies here are very dangerous. Ride 5 or 6 abreast on roads that have lots of turns, wave on the drivers to cross the double yellow to pass (I won’t cross the double yellow line), give you the finger, try to start fights, ect. Triathletes cause many problems on our roads. When a quite, polite honk from my car only makes the roadie move closer to the center of the road, they are in the wrong. Kind of like they are looking for trouble.

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        • You are allowed to cross the yellow line to pass slow vehicles. Just do so when there is sufficient view ahead, and all is well. Honking at cyclists only indicates to them that you don’t understand what you are doing. I move to the middle of the lane when people honk too, because at that point I fear that they will try to pass unsafely, and I want to make sure they know they need to be out of the lane and not try to squeeze by.

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        • Sorry Andy, that is illegal, in VT anyway. There are few exceptions that allow you to take the entire lane. Copied and pasted directly from the Green Mountain Bicycle Club website. These are the VT laws as it pertains to where to ride in the road.

          RIDE ON THE RIGHT. A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall exercise due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction and generally shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, but shall ride to the left or in a left lane when:
          (1) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private roadway or driveway;
          (2) approaching an intersection with a right-turn lane if not turning right at the intersection;
          (3) overtaking another highway user; or
          (4) taking reasonably necessary precautions to avoid hazards
          or road conditions.
          23 VSA §1139(a). Penalty is $70 fine.

          RIDING ON SHOULDERS. “Paved road shoulders are consid- ered bicycle lanes” which the statute defines as for preferential use by bicycles. 19 VSA §2301(3)

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        • Did you miss: “(4) taking reasonably necessary precautions to avoid hazards”? In many places, it is unsafe to ride a bike on the edge of the road. Go try it, and see how many people pass without giving ample room. Instead, taking the lane is far safer. Gosh darn it, you just might have to slow down for a second and pass when it’s safe. You ask a lot of courtesy, but don’t seem willing to give it.

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        • This is a classic example of escalation. Cyclists have been victims, so the band together and travel in packs in self defense. These packs are used to justify escalating bad behavior, and the circle gets bigger. No one wins. 😦

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        • There is not one place I can think of that requires you to ride in the center of left of the lane. as far right as practical means pretty close to the right unless there is debris or other unsafe conditions. A car behind you in and of itself is not an unsafe condition.

          Once again you put words in my mouth, seems to your and Jim’s debate tactic. I’ve repeatedly said I will wait to pass, however I don’t expect to follow you at 20 in a 50 for 5 miles because there is not place to pass. You show courtesy and you shall receive it from me. You be an Asshole to me I can be the same, and believe me I am much better at it than you are.

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        • Unfortunately you are wrong again. Many cases have been brought to courts where it was ruled that it is not the impatient driver behind a cyclists that gets to choose how the cyclist rides practical. Practical most definitely means that I can choose to be in the lane to prevent someone from passing when it is unsafe, since it would not be practical to ride on the fog line, if you don’t have the room or view ahead to make a safe pass. The vehicle in front always has the right of way, and the vehicle behind has the ability to pass safely when the moment arises.

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    • I’m sue the 3 cyclists killed were adults, and 99.99% of the cyclist adults I know DO have drivers licenses.
      Perhaps the state can come up with an online course and test, and simply add a checkbox that shows you passed the test, next time you’re license got renewed, for no additional cost on your license.
      Insurance? some might ask about this too. Well, 99.99% of us have a car, and we insure that for the damage we might do with our cars, which could be quite high.
      Considering the fact that any time on the road that we are cycling, we COULD be driving a car instead, which has higher liability. So being that we’re choosing a vehicle that can cause much less potential damage, we might actually see a decrease in our car/bike premiums.
      For a lot of people suggesting license and insurance, they don’t like this answer. Do you know why? It’s because they don’t CARE really about licensing or the insurance, but rather it’s some kind of passive-aggressive anger that they just want to see cyclists ‘punished’ financially.
      Is that you?
      Surely I have a car, license and insurance for that, and in the car people are rude and obnoxious to other drivers (who have all those things, licenses, testing, insurance)

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    • Dave, you do understand that we “cyclists” also take the same exams and are motorists also. The reality is, we know the laws, as it will ensure we are safe against aggressive motorists. I have had to file complaints at the police station due to unsafe drivers. Why do non-cyclists believe we are some uneducated group of kids. I ride with CEO’s, doctors, business owners and law enforcement. The reality is, motorist do not appear to understand that laws, not the other way around. Motorists need to understand “safe passing”, appropriate passing distance, and the rights of cyclists.

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      • As a motorcyclist I already took that same exam as well, yet I had to either take a course and tests at the end or go to the DMV to prove my competency, both written and physical to be allowed to operate that on the same roads as cars. Seems to me that argument is invalid, unless you want to remove the endorsement for motorcycles and allow anyone with a drivers license to hop on one and go down the road.

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      • Bikes need to understand the that when a car comes up behind them and they are riding 2 and 3 wide that they need to align in single file to allow a safe pass. Hundreds of times I have come up on to this. So how do I report them for causing unsafe conditions. License plate????? They need to be registered so to give the motorists the same chance to be a lawful citizen!

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        • Generally speaking, if they don’t single up, there is a reason. Give them time, or wait for a safe zone to pass them as a group. As for reporting them, you don’t need anything. Call the police, it isn’t like they are going fast enough to elude radio and a police car. Trust me, if I reported all the bad car behavior I see on a daily basis, I’d have another full time job.

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        • VT does not make an exception for any reason, state law says that you may ride no more than 2 abreast, there is no exception for anything on this. In fact some towns have their own ordinance that makes riding 2 abreast illegal and all cyclists must remain single file, no exceptions a written to these laws.

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        • Interesting that you say there are no exceptions. Here is the exception: ” except as otherwise permitted by the Commissioner of Public Safety in connection with a public sporting event in which case the Commissioner shall be authorized to adopt such rules as the public good requires.”

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    • When you know why motorists are required to be licensed, it will be obvious why cyclists aren’t. You can expect not to be taken seriously in this discussion until you have learned why, in a world where travelling freely is a basic human right, we require motorists to pass a test to operate on public roads.

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      • Isn’t the law that a bike is treated as a motor vehicle when operating on the road? When you understand why bike riders should be licensed it will be obvious why they should be. You are also operating on public roads mixing it up with traffic.

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    • “Same Road Same Rules” & “Roads are designed for cars” is a load of crap. Anyone who has ridden in Europe can attest to roads that are narrower with no shoulders, cars driving far faster, and yet a culture that has no problem yielding to bicycles and pedestrians. The idea that there is some sort of optimal road design for bikes and that bikes should not have their own set of laws is not the real issue. The issue is a culture that does not respect cyclists on the roads and the conversation should not get caught up in BS arguments of getting a license to ride a bike.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Short answer: No. If a person has a drivers license, then they know the rules and know that they apply to two wheeled transport also.

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      • “If a person has a drivers license, then they know the rules”

        Careful, you are giving drivers a lot of credit. How many do you think actually know their state’s law for how much room time give a cyclist? Or if they can cross the yellow line to pass a slow vehicle? Or how far from a turn they should start signalling? Or that cyclists have the right to use the lane when riding in the debris strewn gutter isn’t safe?

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        • Just a couple comments up you said you can take the lane simply because a car is behind causing you an unsafe condition? Now you say you can take the lane when it is unsafe to the right, which is what VT law says. I have no problem with a cyclist taking the lane when riding to the right is unsafe. But, the simple fact that there is a car behind you is not unsafe in and of itself.

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        • I think you are referring to my comment about when someone behind me honks. If someone is honking, I automatically assume the situation is unsafe, and I will take the lane to ensure that I have room on either side to have a better chance at avoiding obstacles.

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  2. It’s VERY simple buddy. The blame is placed MOSTLY on the corrupted, scumbag, POS government.
    The model in western Europe, especially Switzerland, Germany and the Nederlands is that any collision between motorized vehicle and push bike is usually deemed the vehicles fault. Penalties are HARSH and severe for drivers. That is how you curtail accidents and deaths, period. When drivers are JAILED for hitting a cyclist and fined massively, the ‘room’ and respect will suddenly increase.

    Creating harsher laws and ENFORCING them is the simple answer. It works, the debate is moot. But it won’t happen here in the scumbag states, because we have a government who doesn’t give a fucking shit about anything except making money and rising to power, like the Nazis of the former Third-Reich.

    These scumbags of the Western U.S. Fourth Reich need to be hanged. Lives don’t matter to these pieces of shit- just look how they care less about sending millions of military personal to their deaths over the last century…the Nazis on the Right and on the Left are some of the worst criminals in history and need to be eradicated.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do agree with your post but group riding is a little tricky with the stop signs. Following the letter of the law, clearing a four-way stop sign intersection would take upwards of five minutes depending on the group size, if each pair of cyclists stopped, unclipped, pushed off and resumed. You think motorists are mad about waiting behind a group that stops and goes through en masse, wait till that same motorist gets stuck behind THAT.

    In that case, the lead cyclists should stop, then the whole group proceed through the intersection as if it were a “semi truck”. This is the rational way to handle most intersections.

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    • So, if I am in a group of let’s say 10 vehicles, we are all together, towing campers headed for a nice vacation. Because we are all together, once the lead vehicle and trailer stop, the other 9 can just cruise on through the sign simple because we are together, we get to ignore the rules of the road?

      Cyclists want to be treated the same a vehicles (and they are by law) so as I see it, that means if you are traveling 20mph in a 50mph zone, and there is no safe place to pass, then you need to pull over and let traffic by. A car going 20 in a 50 with a line of traffic behind them is breaking the law. They are impeding the flow of traffic and can be ticketed for this offense.

      How about the cyclists in towns/cities? You wait and wait for a safe place to pass them, finally get by them, then have to stop at a stop sign or red light. Guess what happens? That cyclist flies by all the cars stopped to get to the front of the line, then all those cars that patiently waited to pass have to wait to pass them again.

      You want the same rules, follow the same rules. Do not impeded the flow of traffic, pull over if you are holding up 20+ cars. Stop at stop signs and red lights and stay in your place in line.

      Just last summer I was towing a 6500b camper in my 6000b truck, thats 12,500lbs of momentum going 50mph down Rt100. A large group if cyclists wanted to cross the road. One of them got out in the road and stopped traffic about 2 – 300 feet in front of the car in front of me causing them and I to SLAM on the breaks. I broke several items in my camper due to the sudden stop. They are very lucky I was not as arrogant as they were and was actually following the rules of the road by keeping a safe distance to able to stop in time.

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      • Josh, you’re right on some of your points and dead wrong on a couple of others.

        First, where you’re right… The guy who stopped traffic to let his buddies through should be hung by his toes and beaten with a wet noodle. Same with the cyclists who cruise up the side of the road, bypassing cars at stoplights. I’d never be so rude (unless I was using a dedicated bike lane.

        You’re not thinking this through with the group at a stop sign though. See, when a group comes up to a stop sign, they don’t leave you the lane so you can squeak by. You’re stuck behind 20 cyclists waiting to cross an intersection until they get through, you’re going nowhere. Twenty seconds turns into five minutes. Second, and I can guess where you’re coming from because I’m not one of those granola crunching cyclists, you’re thinking if each of us has to stop at an intersection, you can squeeze through and won’t have to pass the whole group further down the road. Unfortunately, you’ve made any motorist behind us absolutely irate because not only do they have to wait behind that five minute mess, they still have to pass the group. The first should stop, then the train goes through. That puts us in the least amount of danger – it gets us through the most dangerous part of the road the fastest.

        As for pulling off the road to let cars go by, in more than 20,000 miles on a road I’ve never seen a cyclist hold up more than two cars, let alone 20. If I were to pull off the road, without coming to a stop first, there’s a 50-50 chance I end up in the hospital. So now you have me stopping on a road (and you behind me) so I can get off of the road… The contact surface of my tire is less than the width of your pinky finger nail. It does not do shoulders, not with both feet on the pedals. So again, now you’re stopped in the middle of the road waiting for me to get off of the road, for a scenario that’s unlikely to ever happen anyway. Of course, I’m assuming that it’s never happened because I don’t ride on roads where we more than twenty cars in three hours. Finally, a car going 45 on an EXPRESSWAY is breaking the law, where they have minimum speeds. A car going 20 in a 50 is just pissing you off.

        As for your group with ten campers, there’s one big difference besides size when it comes to the vehicles… If your camper gets hit by an irate motorist who had to wait for your slow ass lumbering up another hill, you file an insurance claim and get a new camper. If, on the other hand, I get hit because some ignorant motorist doesn’t know the law, my kids have to go through life wondering what it would be like if dad could be at the wedding. I’ll take some broken stuff over being dead any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

        Believe me Josh, there are far more ignorant, even stupid motorists out there than there are lines of 20 cars waiting behind a cyclist (or group thereof).

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll give you that all going through the intersection together is quicker, but let me give you another example. I am in a group if 15 motorcycles and we come to a stop sign. Going to take the same amount of time for all of us to stop, yet we all need to stop one at a time. It is not LEGAL to go through the sign as a group, regardless of the time it takes. So yeah, equal is equal, and it’s just as illegal for a group of bikes or motorcycles or tour buses for that matter. I’m sure you’ve seen the article floating around where the group of cyclists were all ticketed for this.

          And you are incorrect about a car going 20 in a 50, if there is no other traffic, yes no problem, but it is illegal to impeded the flow of traffic, so if you want to go 20mph in a 50 fine, but you need to let other traffic by. How is it my problem that you feel the need the “Clip” your feet in? You choose to ride that way so you need to figure out how to pull over and stop, I was not suggesting you stop in the middle of the road and then walk your bike to the side and you know damn well I wasn’t suggesting that.

          As for holding up lines of traffic, I see it quite often, especially when you get a blue hair that’s afraid to pass, now everyone is going 20 in a 50 with no chance to pass at all. When I used to fish a lot my brother and I were towing my boat home through Granville Gulf, a group of bike going 15ish in speed zones from 40 – 50mph on winding roads, hardly a safe place to pass with a small car, no chance towing a boat. I followed them for at least 5 miles like that. I honked at them quickly (as polite a honk as could be) to alert them of my presence after about 2 minutes, in return I got the finger and they went 2 wide.

          I agree that there are as many, most likely more assholes on the road in cars, but if someone does this in a car we can call police and give them a description and maybe plate number of the car since it must be registered. There is absolutely zero chance that a cyclists causing the same problems as a car gets caught unless you call the police and they happen to be extremely close by and can catch them in the act.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Okay Josh, we’re getting somewhere but you’re still not getting all of it. That’s okay though.

          Sorry to say man, we’re not going anywhere and that whole “registration” thing is political suicide for any politician who even proposes it (I’ve seen Republicans and Democrats fall on that sword). It’s not happening.

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        • Impeding traffic is typically defined as when a driver is not operating their vehicle reasonably and blocks the normal flow of traffic. The laws governing this violation vary by jurisdiction; however, they generally follow a standard of “reasonable operation”. An example of a state law statute is:

          “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law or except when the vehicle is temporarily unable to maintain a greater speed due to a combination of the weight of the vehicle and the grade of the highway.”

          Another statute may read as follows:

          “A person, without authority, shall not block, obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon a public street or highway in this state, by means of a barricade, object, or device, or with his or her person. This section shall not apply to persons maintaining, rearranging, or constructing public utility facilities in or adjacent to a street or highway. A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil infraction.”

          You are by law the same as a motor vehicle, just what you have been preaching, so if you impede the flow of traffic you ARE breaking the law, period. Pull over and let traffic by, IT’s THE LAW!!

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        • Josh, your interpretation of the law is mistaken. I am required by law to ride as close to the right side of the road as is practicable. That’s the right side of the edge of the road Josh, not the ditch or the shoulder except when to do so, because of uneven road surfaces or debris makes that impossible. I will not pull over. Ever. Suck it up and give me my three feet.

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        • Josh, your view of impeding traffic has been brought to courts multiple times, and the ruling has always been that cyclists going a reasonable speed are now impeding. That may be 10mph, it may be 20. Just because you are behind them and capable of going faster does not mean that they are breaking a law. Some areas have laws that if a certain number of vehicles are queued behind a slow vehicle, they must pull off at the next safe place to do so. There are some mountain passes or curvy narrow roads where this is expected, but otherwise, you can hold on for a short amount of time and wait for a safe moment to pass.

          TL;DR version: Car drivers do not have the inalienable right to always drive the speed limit.

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        • Some areas have laws that if a certain number of vehicles are queued behind a slow vehicle, they must pull off at the next safe place to do so. There are some mountain passes or curvy narrow roads where this is expected, but otherwise, you can hold on for a short amount of time and wait for a safe moment to pass.

          ^^THIS^^

          I don’t know how many times I need to repeat this. I am not suggesting you stop for every car behind you and I don’t mind waiting a short amount of time. What I am referring to is exactly this. When you are holding up a BIG LINE of traffic, pull over at the next SAFE place to do so. This is not relevant on many roads as there are many safe places to pass. When on roads where it is not safe to pass you can not take the lane for miles and miles and miles not allowing motorists to pass. That is impeding traffic. All three of you need to use some common sense when replying instead of taking every comment to the extreme end of it.

          Read my post about VT law, you are most definitely required to ride as far to the right as practical and no more than 2 abreast regardless of whether there is traffic or not. A car behind you in and of itself is not a hazard on the road and does not allow you to ride in the middle or left of the lane because you fear they MIGHT do something stupid.

          I don’t know where you guys live and/or ride, but I call bullshit that you have never seen more than 3 cars stacked up behind a bike. It is an every day occurrence here in Central VT.

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        • I said two cars, not three. Other than that, I have no problem with pulling off the road when and where I deem it’s safe to do so. So fair enough.

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        • Well that took a whole lot of bullshit just to find out you do agree. I never once said to pull over every time a car approaches, that was you reading too much into it.

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        • That was me reading practicality into it Josh, and it still stands that I decide what’s safe, not you. It did take a lot of bullshit though. Wish you’d have been straight from the start. ;D

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        • I was straight, you continually put words in my mouth. Show me one quote where I said you need to pull over for every single car that comes up behind you. Never said it yet you have used that in arguments as they were my words. Grow up, learn reading comprehension and stop putting words in other peoples mouths. Have a debate without resorting to making things up.

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        • Have a debate without whiny ad hominem attacks Josh. And here you go:

          “Cyclists want to be treated the same a vehicles (and they are by law) so as I see it, that means if you are traveling 20mph in a 50mph zone, and there is no safe place to pass, then you need to pull over and let traffic by. A car going 20 in a 50 with a line of traffic behind them is breaking the law.”

          You don’t specify a number of cars Josh. This is from your first comment, go back and look at it. You’re all worked up in a lather and it’s all your fault… And if that wasn’t enough, you entirely misinterpret the laws on cycling. In fact, that’s exactly how the whole “you need to pull over’ thing started. Nothing about only when safe, nothing about driveways or anything else. YOU changed Josh, not me. Talk about growing up…

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        • I didn’t say pull over for one car, I said TRAFFIC. To any REASONABLE human being that means a lot of cars don’t ya think? And who in there right mind would have you immediately stop for anything in the middle of the road. Should be pretty clear. When a cop lights you up you pull over, that is how any normal conversation about that might go. I think it is pretty well understood when you need to “pull over” it means at the next safe place. You guys are really stretching. Use come common sense as applied to normal conversation.

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        • No, I don’t. I was almost run down by an asshole in an SUV who thought we should pull off the road, a straight road in a passing zone, that you could see more than a mile in either direction that there was no other traffic, because he honked his horn at us (there was an exceptional shouting match when he blocked the road with his truck because we didn’t pull off the side of the road because he’d honked).

          And you didn’t specify one or many. As far as stopping and pulling off the road, we cannot safely ride off the side of the road on a road bike without risking a crash. If I’m going to pull over onto a gravel shoulder I MUST stop first, or at the very least, slow WAY down. I would argue that someone’s lacking common sense but it sure isn’t me.

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        • Yeah, I’ve had that experience too. The clown driving behind me enforcing his rights, not that he knows what they are. Seems that just common courtesy would solve 90% of these situations.

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        • And there’s an important difference: Some people in cars purposely and forcefully affect cyclists with their might. Some people on bikes do stupid things, but it hardly puts anyone but themselves in danger. Both are wrong, but only the cars are killing. Hence why they require license, insurance, registration, enforcement, etc.

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        • Once again Jim, you are trying to be unreasonable and insist you don’t understand normal conversation in order to try and make it look like I want every bike to immediate launch off the side of the road, through the ditch and into the willy wags at the sight of a single automobile.

          Any reasonable person can assume when you speak of traffic that you are not speaking of ONE or TWO cars. Good lord, how do you carry on a conversation with anyone in person. Do you stop them every other sentence and have them clarify specifically what the sentence and every word in it before means?

          And yes, to any reasonable human being pull over means in a safe place, you know damn well when a cop “pulls you over” you may drive several miles before stopping (as long as you maintain speed and don’t try to elude) if there is no safe place to “pull over”. Not only that I have already clarified that in many comments back to you just in case (and obviously you don’t) you don’t understand. I’ve clarified this several times already, though it should need none, and specifically said a LINE OF TRAFFIC and AT A SAFE PLACE and yet you still don’t get it, so who is laking the common sense here.

          This is an internet forum, not a class on how to write a descriptive novel, read the same posts and hear them as you would in a normal conversation and apply that logic to them.

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        • “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law or except when the vehicle is temporarily unable to maintain a greater speed due to a combination of the weight of the vehicle and the grade of the highway.”

          Sorry to burst your bubble, a bike is a device, not a “motor vehicle” or “vehicle”

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      • Oh, hey… By the way, if you don’t like cyclists in the road, we’ll take bike paths and bike lanes. Press your politician to have wide (asphalt or pavement) shoulders built into the roads too. You’ll never have to slow down to go around us again. 😉

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        • I’m afraid Sir, from my point of view you are the one “not getting all of it”. You all scream equality when it suites you and then come up with a hundred different reasons why it is ok for bikes to NOT FOLLOW the same rules as cars. From your clipped in pedal comment to your it takes too long for everyone to follow the rules at a stop sign comment. You have to pick one, either you have the same rights and rules as other motorists or you don’t? Which is it? While I am at it, how about mirrors required? Every other vehicle on the road needs them. A car/truck needs a minimum of two and motorcycle at least one. That way you can see when there are 20 cars behind you and find a SAFE PLACE to let them by, not stop in the middle of the damn road and unclip your feet and casually waltz to the side of the road.

          When I am towing and can’t maintain speed I find a safe place to pull over and let traffic by when need be. Guess what? I don’t get the angry honks, yelling, screaming and swearing as they pass me when I give way, I get nice polite waves our courtesy honks (a quick 2 or 3 beep beep like going by your friends house) and not the long drawn out angry horn blast that I am sure you are accustomed to.

          Courtesy goes a long ways, on both ends. You want cars to be courteous but many of you won’t return the favor. Maybe you think you are within your rights to “take the lane” on Rt100, even if there are 5 miles of cars behind you, you’re wrong by the way, you are impeding traffic. But even if it were legal it doesn’t make it courteous, just as drivers are only required to give you a “safe distance” when passing, I bet most of them give you at least 3-4 feet if not the whole lane when possible. I would say I see 3 or 4 asshole moves from cars to every 1 from a bike, however there are much more than 3-4 times as many cars on the roads as bikes. Break it down by percentage I would say 30-50% of bikes I encounter on the road are the problem, riding 2 and 3 wide (Illegal), taking the middle or far left of the lane making it much more difficult to pass, running stop signs or moving to the front of the line and not waiting in their place in line…… I could go on for days.

          Would you be happy being stuck behind Granny for 5 miles going 15 – 20 in a 50, no safe place to pass and oblivious to anything going on around her? That’s the same situation many of you put motorists in time after time after time.

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        • Sigh.

          Reading through all of this, all I see is the same thing over and over again. Drivers interpret the laws one way, cyclists another.

          Let’s look at a couple of points.

          Vermont, like most states, does not have a minimum speed on non-interstate roads unless otherwise posted. A posted speed limit is just that an upper limit. I see the argument from drivers a lot. 20 in a 50. Keep in mind, that 50 is a speed limit, and there is no minimum posted speed.

          Vermont, like many states, words it’s impeding the flow of traffic law with wording that specifically identifies MOTOR vehicles. Bear in mind, that bikes are defined as vehicles, but not motor vehicles, so there are instances where rules that apply to a motor vehicle to not apply to a non-motorized vehicle. Bicycles are one, but horse and carriage also fit the definition.

          FRAP, or Far Right As Practical has been held up in court in many districts, including Vermont, to be decided at the discretion of the cyclist, not the driver. Further, FRAP has been held to not require being outside the lane, for safety purposes. The only instance that I know of where FRAP was held to push a cyclist out of the lane was outside of Lexington, KY. In that case the initial ruling supported the LEO in the count of impeding traffic. However, during the appeal, once a more knowledgeable lawyer took the case over, the court ruled that impeding the flow could not be applied and the FRAP did not require the cyclist to ride the shoulder that included speed grooves to alert drivers departing their lane. Those grooves are disastrous for a bicycle.

          Something most drivers fail to understand, is that more often than not, cyclist that are comfortable enough to ride the roads with cars, have a greater understanding of the risks, laws and safety issues than any driver, including many LEO’s in this country.

          At the end of the day, the short answer is that yes, cyclists do abuse some laws on a regular basis. So do car drivers. To be clear, no one is innocent in this argument. The cyclist is far more vulnerable, and therefore *should* be protected by law and courtesy. To bad so many drivers are simly too absorbed in their own little worlds to see the other side of the table.

          On that note, I will extend the same offer that I do to any driver that thinks cyclists are the problem.

          Join me for a bike ride. I will provide the loaner bike and helmet. We will take a gentle hour long ride, through a “bicycle friendly” suburb of Atlanta, where you can experience the realities of being on the other side of the fence in as protected an environment as can be provided. If at the end of that experience, you still think we are all hooligans, then perhaps, I might be able to see your side of the equation.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Those grooves in Kentucky are no joke… They’re perfectly tuned to about 20 mph on a 700c road bike… Hit those at 20-21 mph and it’s like hitting ice. You hit that perfect resonant frequency that your bike gets squirrelly, instantly. We ended up trying to time the 6″ gaps every 20′ or so in the rumble strips to get out of the shoulder when it ended.

          Great points, and thank you for putting it so succinctly.

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        • While it may not be the law, it is written in the law that in VT shoulders are to be considered bike lanes and SHOULD be used when IT IS SAFE to do so. It doesn’t say you MUST use them, but it basically asks cyclists to use them when SAFE. The law does state as far right as practical and there are a few “unless” statements. Without copying and pasting again it basically says if it is unsafe to the right. Some of you insist that a car behind you in and of itself qualifies for this exception. If that were the case there would be no law regarding this as it is safe to assume most riders encounter at least one vehicle behind them pretty much all the time, so that would mean you can ride anywhere in the lane any time you want, all the time, and that is not the case.

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        • Josh, this is getting boring so this will be my last reply to you.

          I (as the cyclist) determine what is practicable, not you. Giving vehicles just enough room to squeeze by, without having to get into the opposing lane, is dangerous as hell for cyclists. I had a buddy in our single-file seven man group get hit last year because we were too close to the white line. The old fella “thought he could squeeze through and there was traffic coming the other way” so he hit my buddy with his mirror, knocked him to the ground, broke his arm and just missed running over his head. Now, if you don’t call that “unsafe” we have nothing more to talk about. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you think is safe, it’s what I can convince an officer is safe – and I guarantee you I can convince any reasonable person that where I ride is practicable. Because we often don’t get a second chance, we have to assume you’ll do something stupid. If we have a clear 2-3′ shoulder, without a bunch of loose gravel or debris on it, cyclists will choose that any day of the week and twice on Sunday. You’d have to be nuts to think we actually WANT to be in a motorist’s way, other than to protect our own skin when we have no other viable option as explained previously.

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        • Spot on. The law gives cyclists the ability to ride safely, drivers’ convenience be damned. If you don’t like it, tell your government that you want better shoulders so that cyclists have more safe room.

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      • No, I don’t want to be treated as a motor vehicle (although my weight might put me close to one). I want additional protections so that if you kill me with your 6500lb camper in your 6000lb truck you will face more punishment than a slap on the wrist. Find me an instance of where a cyclist or group of cyclists caused some sort of fatal injury or anything beyond someone having to hit their brakes? Compare that to how much death, bodily injury, and property damage is done by a motor vehicle to other motor vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists?
        In 2012 there were 30,800 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the US – 92 people killed on average per day in motor vehicle. Sorry mate, but giving a bicycle rider a driving test ain’t going to make you less likely of dying in your truck. Maybe you will not have to hit the brakes once in a while, but you still have a good chance of dying on the road.
        http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

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    • 5 minutes is too long to wait to prevent an accident that might kill you? That’s irrational and irresponsible and prideful. I hope if someone did what you said and was struck by a car that that rider would not fault the driver of the car and take responsibility for running a stop sign. You want equal, it needs to be just that: equal.

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      • Five minutes waiting for a group of cyclists will make the operators of cars that have to wait for all of the cyclists to stop, one at a time and cross the intersection, irate. You couldn’t handle equal. It would be fun to watch you try though.

        The idea behind a group riding through an intersection together is for that group to get out of the most dangerous part of a road, the intersections, quickly. What you are proposing would take twenty times longer and be vastly more annoying for everyone and when motorists are angry, we are killed because of their impatience. I do not advocate blocking traffic or trying to lay claim to the right of way when it isn’t ours but there’s no way I’m crazy enough to try what you’re asking for here. We’d have the locals fuming the first intersection.

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        • Takes just as long to stop and start and motorcycle as it does a bike. The difference in acceleration is mute across a span of 10-20 feet. I can run across an intersection faster than a car would typically proceeds through one, assuming they are not a boy racer trying to get to the next light in record time.

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        • So, simply put, whatever legal use of the traveled road does not suit you is to be ignored, then rationalized. And you or your kids will take basic safety lessons over your dead body.

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        • That is exactly the message I am receiving idea2book, maybe our reading comprehension needs work? Or maybe, just maybe, bgddyjim is a huge hypocrite? I’m betting on option 2, but maybe I should sign up for some classes so I can get a better grasp on the english language? SHEESH!!

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        • Just stating the facts as I see them. It’s not meant to “work” whatever that means? Wear it loud and proud brother, own it. You know it’s true, whether that “works” I don’t really give a rats behind. Continue with your hypocritical arguments all you want. You want to blow stop signs (you basically admitted you do so “intelligently” in another post) and then cry about how you want all the same rules for everyone, but you only want to follow the ones that are convenient for you and your friends.

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        • It’s not a matter of convenience Josh. Look, I am going to continue riding how I see fit, within the laws of my State. We do stop for stop signs, we don’t jackrabbit intersections so we can beat cars to the right of way. We respect traffic, especially by riding on “out of the way” roads. We will, however, continue to go through intersections as a group whether you like it or not.

          Finally, I really liked your comment about farm equipment. Brilliant. I ride faster than tractors. I pass them on a regular basis. On my bike.

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        • It’s not a matter of convenience Josh. Look, I am going to continue riding how I see fit, within the laws of my State.

          Then in the same post:

          We will, however, continue to go through intersections as a group whether you like it or not.

          hmm, I bet your state doesn’t have an exemption for bicycles to not stop at stop signs because they are in a group?

          Also, the farm equipment comment wasn’t mine, though I did express my agreement with it and the difference between a tractor and a bicyclist is that the bike wants to “Take the lane” and hold up traffic, the lowly farmer, who I am sure is on more of a time crunch than you in your leisure time, will still pull over and let traffic by even though he is working to feed his family. You are out for a joy ride and can’t offer the same courtesy as a man putting food on not only his table, but yours as well. Farms are also a necessity, unless you plan to forage for your own food?

          You continue to say you ride within the law and blatantly say that you do not follow all of them and say you will continue riding in this way whether anyone likes it or not. I can’t imagine why cyclists get the reputation of being spandex clad, Lance Armstrong wanna-bees who have no regard for the rules of the road.

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        • We do ride within the law Josh. We never get pulled over for going through as a group because going through one or two at a time is stupid and the police are quite aware of how we ride. We see them often and have never been pulled over. This is because they are well aware that the less time we spend in an intersection, the better for everyone, including you.

          The rest doesn’t justify a response, hater.

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        • No matter what you say Jim, it will never be logical to some people. :o)

          To jump into the conversation, Josh has a point with mirrors. I have one on each of my bikes for safety. I also mount forward and rear facing safety cameras just in case something were to happen, I can defend my actions. They have already come in handy for reporting irate drivers to the authorities which resulted in tickets and fines. Cyclists to have responsibilities to pay attention to the road and the fellow people using it. 99.9% of all motorists are kind and thoughtful when riding past me and I do everything in my power to make my use of the space on the road easy for motorists.

          Now to the point of pulling over to let traffic by is pretty much nonsense. It is way more dangerous to try to slow down and stop and pull off the road surface to let cars pass than it is to continue riding and have cars pass when its safe. In all my years of riding, I have never seen more than 3 cars that have to wait to pass. Even at that, they were only waiting for no more than 15-20 seconds, then they passed when it was safe.

          I do think having a group of 20+ riders stopping at an open intersection to cross would be kind of humorous in a chaotic way.

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        • 99.9% of all motorists are kind and thoughtful when riding past me and I do everything in my power to make my use of the space on the road easy for motorists..

          I wish I could say the same about cyclists, it’s closer to 50%.

          Now to the point of pulling over to let traffic by is pretty much nonsense. It is way more dangerous to try to slow down and stop and pull off the road surface to let cars pass than it is to continue riding and have cars pass when its safe. In all my years of riding, I have never seen more than 3 cars that have to wait to pass.

          I have been 10 – 20 cars deep behind cyclists many many times. As a matter of fact , just about a month ago, I got stuck behind a group riding 4 wide on a winding road, wouldn’t give an inch and actually ran a jogger off the road because they wouldn’t even give him space on the shoulder. You probably don’t experience this because you are a courteous rider and don’t willfully impede traffic just because you think you can. Same as Jim, you know I don’t mean to immediately stop and pull over, you are the one being foolish. When I am towing my camper and can’t or choose not to maintain the speed limit, I find a safe place to let traffic by, I don’t stop in the middle of the road and wave them around. There are parking lots, side roads and a million other safe places to stop and let traffic by IF you are holding up a line of traffic. I am not suggesting you watch your mirror, dismount your bike and let every car that comes up behind you pass without inconveniencing the driver and you know dam well that is not what I was saying. Be a courteous road user and problem solved.

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        • Josh, I stated in an earlier comment that I’ve never, and this is in 20,000 road miles, had more than two cars have to wait for more a few seconds. I’ve been quite clear on this. You’re the fool.

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        • And how is it more ridiculous for a group of 20 motorcycles to each stop at a stop sign? I know, I know, motorcycles do proceed in groups at times as well, but it is still not legal regardless of the “convenience” to the group or others.

          The KCStar reports:

          Twenty-six members of the Brookside Weekly Ride club were ticketed Thursday evening for allegedly zipping through a stop sign at 69th Street and Oxford Road.

          Having received complaints, two police squad cars and a motorcycle officer were waiting for them.

          “They not only have the same rights as vehicles on the road but also the same responsibilities, including obeying red lights and stop signs,” said Prairie Village Police Sgt. James Carney. . . .

          He said two members of the Brookside club were cited last week by a traffic officer, and one of them promised to spread the word among other members.

          Then on Thursday, “lo and behold, all 26 of them went right through the stop sign,” Carney said.

          Riders who were ticketed could not be reached, but other bicyclists acknowledged the importance of obeying traffic rules.

          “My initial reaction is that we definitely, as cyclists, should follow the laws,” said Mitchell Williams of the Kansas City Metro Bicycle Club. “I’m sort of disappointed that so may people got ticketed, but from what I understand, the police were probably justified.”

          Eric Rogers, executive director of Bike Walk KC, said his group works to educate cyclists and motorists about sharing the road safely and is organizing classes for ride leaders this fall.

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        • I don’t know where you ride, but I call bullshit on this statement. It’s a daily occurrence in Central VT. I’ve seen in multiple times this year and we aren’t even into July yet. Quite frankly I think you are a liar and fabricate stories or twist the truth to benefit your argument.

          Josh, I stated in an earlier comment that I’ve never, and this is in 20,000 road miles, had more than two cars have to wait for more a few seconds.

          As I stated above, police ignoring and not giving chase to a law breaker does not make his actions legal. How many cars go by u-turns with police presence over the speed limit don’t get stopped? Pretty much all of them unless they get near 80mph or are driving in an unsafe manner, doesn’t mean they are not breaking the law. I suppose by your logic if I break into your home and steal your belongings I did nothing wrong as long as I am not caught and prosecuted?

          How is your group of bikes different than a group of motorcycles? It takes just as long for 20 motorcycles to stop, then proceed as it does 20 bikes. A quick google search will show a few articles relating to large groups of cyclists all receiving tickets for this very action. Because your local LEO (an most LEO’s for that matter) pretty much ignore bikes and don’t write them tickets doesn’t make your actions legal or right.

          If you have never held up more than a couple cars for a couple minutes then good on you, but as I said, I believe you to be at a minimum a stretcher of the truth. That doesn’t mean it never happens. I’ve never seen a live lion in the wild, so must be they don’t exist?

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        • I don’t care what you think.

          And so seems to be the montra of the majority of cyclists in Central VT. Regardless of the law, I care not what you think. Good attitude to live life by.

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        • Josh, you can only be so wrong about something. I’m done trying to make you see the light and the error of your ways. It’s okay. I forgive you, bud.

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      • “Sheesh”, well I guess that settles it. You sir have convinced me that you are right. Why didn’t you just say that to begin with, we all would have decisively lost the argument right from the get go. You sir are a master debater!

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      • You DON’T ride within the law. Just because you are not stopped and ticketed doesn’t mean you are within the law, you can’t be that ignorant. I see cars traveling past State Troopers in U-Turns on the interstate at 75mph and they don’t get stopped, does that make it legal? Most cops just don’t care about bicycles, I’ve seen them blow through a red light that a cop was waiting at and the cop not give chase, does that make it legal?

        The same argument can be made for any group of vehicles traveling together, it’s not rocket surgery to understand that 10 vehicles will proceed quicker through an intersection if only 1 stops, no argument there, but you want special treatment and try to camouflage it with “I’m doing you a favor by breaking the law”.

        No, you are doing yourself a favor, to save time. The same time that you claim is unimportant to a motorist that should wait for your slow asses holding traffic at 15 in a 50. You all claim that cars are impatient and should just slow down to your pace until safe to pass, even if it means 5 miles of bullshit behind you. Yet you all want to skirt through an intersection at the same time. It’s not about safety and it’s not about doing everyone else a favor, it’s about you and what is convenient for you and your friends, period. Try to spin it all you want, I’m not buying any of it.

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  4. “Same road same rules” simply means Licenced, insured, registered and inspected. Unless of course we are cherry picking the rules bikers want to follow.

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    • I believe we are. A lot of this seems based on pride. The real problem is that these Vermont roads were never constructed to accommodate cyclists, and we are trying to essentially grandfather them in. Riding a bike with nothing but a styrofoam helmet to protect my brain amid 2-ton cars and 10 ton 18 wheelers on most of Vermont roads is simply dangerous by nature. I’d never ride my bike on 90% of VT roads.

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      • Is pride really the right word? Roads are constructed for public transportation, the mode of transportation is not the motivating factor. Thinking logically, it is easy to understand this. A road is a common property, and provides an avenue for travel between places. At first it was walking, or on horseback, perhaps even a carriage. Bicycles came before cars. Only in the years since Henry Ford and his revolution has the car become the dominant user of the roads, but your statement:

        “The real problem is that these Vermont roads were never constructed to accommodate cyclists, and we are trying to essentially grandfather them in.”

        That right there is where the entire misunderstanding starts. It is the presumption that “roads are for cars”. One word changes the entire tone of that statement. Try it this way, “roads are also for cars” and you get an entirely different presumption, one that fits history far more accurately. This is the origin of the entire Share the Road campaign. In hindsight, I think Share the Road became such an over simplification, that it has backfired badly. It failed to take into account all the people that have forgotten the history behind the roads. They exists for transportation, the mode of transportation is largely irrelevant, and they work best when used cooperatively. When any group of users ceases to respect those around them, conflicts arise, and people get hurt or dead.

        What I find interesting though, is the implied thought process behind your second statement:

        “Riding a bike with nothing but a styrofoam helmet to protect my brain amid 2-ton cars and 10 ton 18 wheelers on most of Vermont roads is simply dangerous by nature. I’d never ride my bike on 90% of VT roads.”

        First, you explain that is dangerous by nature, and then you follow with your choice not to ride on 90% of the roads. The implication is that you have made a choice, and you cannot understand why anyone would make a different choice. Take a moment, and turn it around. Ask yourself, why is it dangerous? Is the act of cycling dangerous itself, or is it dangerous because the cars and trucks on the roads do not know the laws, or if they do, they choose not to apply them because that application is inconvenient? In essence, the later is the case.

        And that is the crux of the issue. What most of these arguments boil down to is that cyclists should shoulder the burden of being safe when operating amongst cars and trucks being operated by a group of people who are by and large, doing so in a negligent and dangerous manner. Remove the cyclist from the equation and think about drivers on the whole.

        Keep in mind that getting in a car is the most dangerous thing the typical American does on a daily basis. 1 in 100 of us will be killed in a car accident. We get in cars so often, we lose track of that statistic, but it is very real. We call them ‘accidents’, but precious few are truly accidents. They are the result of negligence. Drunk driving? Texting? Distracted Driving? Failure to Yield? Failure to Stop? Excessive Speed? Can we honestly call any of these ‘accidents’. In every single instance, someone made a decision that led to these. These are licensed, registered and insured drivers.

        So, no, I am not sure it is pride. I think it is just misunderstanding. Those of us that have chosen to ride in these environments have done so with an extremely high awareness of what the risks really are.

        I will note, that I am both a recreational and a transportation cyclist. I ride about 100 miles a week to and from work, rain, snow or shine. I also ride another 60-150 miles a week in recreational riding. Urban, Suburban and Rural are all part of my weekly miles, and I’ve logged over 100k miles in the last 25 years. In that time, I have had 3 encounters with cars that I would categorize as potentially deadly.

        1. a couple of gentlemen threw a glass bottle out of the window of their van while passing on the right as I was turning left. That was the only one that put me on the pavement when the bottle hit me head and shoulder while I was traveling at about 25 mph. ( They did not stop, I have scars from ankle to elbow from this incident )

        2. a LEO driving his patrol car without sirens, over the posted speed limit failed to give me the space I am legally entitled too while I was riding on the white line as FRAP. He clipped my hip and left elbow with his passenger side mirror. As an experienced cyclist, I did not hit the ground, but it was close, and it did have to repair a flat caused when I went into the grass from the force of the impact. ( He did not stop )

        3. an off duty LEO driving his personal vehicle, traveling above the speed limit, crossed a double yellow in order to pass me on a blind hill, but since there was an oncoming vehicle, he returned to the lane well before the pass was completed, he hit my front wheel with his bumper. Again I was on the white line riding FRAP. To this day, I have no earthly idea how I did not eat pavement. He however did stop. He got out of his vehicle in a rage. Apparently it was all my fault he almost hit that car.

        In all three incidents, the lane positioning of the cyclist played a part in the incident. By riding the lines and conceding the space to the cars as a courtesy, I enabled them to make poor choices that placed us both at risk. Today, this is not something I do. Common courtesy is not terribly common anymore, and so it is that as a cyclist, I no longer concede that space unless I feel that it is safe to do so. You as a driver may not agree with my assessment of what is safe though, and you get angry. Yes, I will move to the center of the lane when climbing a blind hill, discouraging you from passing on a double yellow in a blind situation. I will do the same in a blind turn. In a group, I will sit 2 abreast if it is unsafe for you to pass the entire group, because I know that if it comes down to your or the cyclist next to you because of an oncoming car, you will pick the cyclist every single time. I understand that you will misinterpret these actions and revile me because sitting in your car, and being terrified of being on these roads on a bicycle, you have absolutely no frame of reference to understand why and how we do what we do.

        And that is the real problem. Which is why I make the offer. I will take ANYONE out for a bike ride. I will loan the bike and helmet. I will give the basic safety instructions and we will go out, on the roads, using the facilities provided in a bicycle friendly community. It is an experience that provides perspective that is the most desperately missing element. Even for cyclists that ride, but are afraid of the roads so they become the Cars of the Multi Use Paths, terrorizing runners and walkers in the same manner the cars terrify them.

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    • Do you even know why motor vehicles require inspection and registration, and why drivers are required to pass tests and carry insurance? When you have that information, it will be very clear why cyclists aren’t required to meet these requirements.

      Hint: It’s the body count, stupid.

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      • It is clear to me they should meet these requirements. If you have bad tires, faulty or no brakes, bad wheel bearings you are just as much as hazard on the road as any car with the same problems. Have a wheel lock up or fall off and take a dive into lots of traffic going 50mph and you will not be the only one you hurt. You will likely cause a multi-car collision. If you don’t understand that, then I can’t really help you much.

        You may not kill someone on a bike, but as a child a friend of mine had his leg broken by a bike running a red light. The biker took a tumble but was able to get up and ride away without being caught leaving my friend in the road with a broken leg and his parents with a stack of hospital bills. A bike can and does cause damage when ridden improperly. A car on it’s own never hurt anyone, we are licensing the idiot behind the wheel and making sure they maintain their vehicle to be safe on public roads. I don’t think that is too much to ask of a cyclist.

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        • Josh, it’s unfortunate about the incident you mention. Of course someone colliding should stop and go through the proper process. That’s a very rare case though, for someone on a bike to cause injury to others, and for that reason, license and registration haven’t been important enough to legislators to require it for bicycles. This is dissimilar to car drivers, who have killed 30,000 – 40,000 people on our roads each year, in the same time that cyclists have killed in the single digits. If your goal is to make our roads safer, your efforts would be far more effective by campaigning against dangerous car drivers. If you goal is to be angry at bicycles, just admit it.

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        • I am in no way “Angry at bicycles” I am angry at idiots be they in a car or on a bike, and my displeasure for your idiocy will be made vocal regardless of your mode of transport. It’s the self entitled asshats that are the problem. As a percentage I bet I see 5 – maybe 10% of cars on the roads being idiots. What I see with cyclists is that they think they own the road. Share the road goes both ways, a little common courtesy from both groups is in order, but I refuse to be courteous to pricks who think that their time, hobby, whatever, is more important than anyone else.

          Unless you are emergency personnel headed to help someone your time is no more valuable than anyone else’s and when you are holding up 20+ cars it wouldn’t hurt you to find a SAFE place to let them by.

          I would say 50% of the cyclists here are utter assholes, it may be different where you are, but you can bet if you come upon an adult in riding gear on the road there is a 50% chance he/she will be an idiot. I see young 10-13 year olds that have more sense on the road than most of the cyclists here.

          Maybe it is just where I live (between Montpelier and Burlington) that breeds these idiots? Come to think of it I don’t think I have had much of an issue with any cyclist when traveling out of state, but this is the norm here.

          I used to ride a bicycle years ago on the roads and I can’t recall a single time someone honked, swore, threw stuff at me or yelled. Probably because I was courteous and SHARED the road instead of insisting on “taking the lane” when there is no need of it. I gave up riding bicycles because I no longer had people to ride with, it was more of a “only mode of transportation” thing before I had my license and became a social thing after. My social thing now it riding on/off road motorcycles with groups of friends. Stopping every 1/2 hour or so to have a soda or some lunch and shoot the bull, or taking a camping trip with my friends and family. Again, when I tow my camper I am not obligated to move over, especially at only 5 below the limit, but the nice, polite thing to do, you know those things your parents and teachers tried to teach you to be, is to pull over when safe and allow the traffic to pass.

          I have to think that you are in a very different area to have never seen any of this as I see it all the time.

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  5. Here is my standard response to the people who insist that Cyclists do not pay for roads or should be registered. Most roads in Vermont (and in most parts of the US) are paid for out of general revenue funds that ALL tax payers (cyclists included) are paying into. It is a myth that gas taxes pay for most of the roads this has not been the case for decades, look it up. Most adult cyclists in Vermont, and elsewhere, pay to register, insure, gas, maintain and own cars as well as their bicycles. Cyclists pay for these resources whether their cars are parked or being driven. Further according to a 2011 report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, gas taxes and other “user fees,” like automobile registration, fund only about half of the nation’s road expenses. The remaining costs are covered through general government funding. This means we all pay for our roads, whether we drive on them or not.
    However bicycles are not damaging the roads at all compared to cars and trucks, plus cyclists are utilizing a lot less space on the road. The bicycle is the most efficient vehicle invented to date, more than 1000 times more efficient than the average car. Compare 200 pounds of rider and bicycle to 5000 – 60,000 pounds of vehicle depending on the vehicle. Roads/paths where only bicycles are allowed for example, receive all their damage from weather. Myself and many other cyclists ride our bicycles for transportation to work and for errands for parts of the year, thus there is a solid argument to be made that when a cyclist rides his/her bicycle instead of driving their car for transportation that they should get a refund on such fees. We are conserving gasoline which makes more available to the motorist, we are cutting down on traffic by using less space, producing less pollution, and getting exercise in the process, thus there is an argument here that there is less impact on the health care system.
    Since we most often hear complaints about cyclists by the right-wing consider that cyclists riding their bicycles are saving gas for the troops to use in the on-going War on Terror. I’ve not noticed these barkers calling for parents to register their double-wide strollers, or that joggers/walkers display a plate or you register for the right to walk out to the mail box to collect the mail. The same crowd will scream bloody murder during calls for gun registration (speaking as a long-time pro-Second Amendment advocate). Riding bicycles is good for the environment, the economy, and overall health, it is also patriotic. Remember the gas rationing of previous wars? Cyclists are doing everyone a favor when they ride their bicycles for transportation, which many of us are. Bicycling is not strictly recreation, it is also transportation.
    Speaking of “paying for the roads” by the way, I’m an Iraq War Veteran, so I actually put my butt (and sanity) on the line for our gasoline and so called “freedom” to do things like ride bicycles and drive where you want to. I watched good friends, my fellow soldiers die there in that desert over the oil.
    J.r. Bomber

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    • I register my primary vehicle, but while that is parked and I am driving my other vehicle, or one of my two motorcycles, somehow I still have to register them even though as you say I have already paid for the roads through my primary registration as well as general taxes. I also have to register any trailer I tow, even though I already paid for that according to your logic. If bicycles don’t need to register then all pleasure vehicles above and beyond the one primary vehicle that I pay for, and can’t drive at the same time as my primary vehicle should be exempt from registration as well by your logic.

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      • Actually, I don’t care about the registration of a bike ( it would have advantages in terms of theft as well ), though IMO, it is basically just another tax. Then again, I would argue that most traffic violations and citations boil down to municipal tax collection. If it was about safety, it would be handled quite differently. It isn’t, it is all about the $$$, and so be it.

        As for licensing, there is an fun discussion to be had. Do we as US citizens have a ‘right’ to drive a car, or is it a ‘privilege’? do we have a ‘right’ to use the roads for transportation, or is that a ‘privilege’? At what scale, speed or class of usage does our ‘right’ of usage become a ‘privilege’? I don’t have a good answer here, but it makes for a very interesting discussion. Right now, the legal standard is that basic transportation is a right that falls under life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. But that as we get to the operation of a motor vehicle on the roads, that basic right escalates into a privilege associated with the pursuant wealth associated with car ownership and operation. The privilege is granted upon the passing of a VERY basic skills and knowledge test. Once granted, it can be suspended or revoked based upon the accumulation of infractions. In most states, we are not pulling drivers off the roads until they have committed several flagrant offenses.

        Those licensed drivers are killing people at a truly alarming rate, so evidently the process of granting the privilege is allowing quite a few truly dangerous operators through the process.

        And Josh, as a fellow motorcyclist, I suspect that your entertainment riding on that has probably led to some ‘fun’ auto encounters as well, since most of drivers on the roads have a disdain for motorcycles and that hooligan behavior that rivals the hate for bicycles.

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  6. Sorry to be so vocal, btw I very much appreciate and agree with much you have to say. I’d like to add; the thing you say “hasn’t been said.” HAS been said, does anyone here remember the 1990s? I assume that some of us are old enough to have cycled through that and recall this. There has been an argument for decades that cyclists should ride in the right wheel slick of the lane to command the land and force motorists to slow down. It has been argued that using the shoulder, even if it was a nice rideable shoulder gives cars “license” if you will to zoom by you at fast speeds and thus they get into the habit. The counter argument has been for cyclists to ride as “far right as practicable” to both comply with the law AND appease motorists. History has taught us about appeasement hasn’t it? Me I have presently settled on commanding the lane when the shoulders are not safe (parked cars, debris, erosion, damage, etc.)

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  7. I’ve debated this on fb, my old radio show, coworkers, front porch forum and the like. The disconnect with cyclists is the reality of how unsafe riding on heavily traveled roads with speed limits of 40mph really is. I’m not sure why or when but eventually the healthy fear of multiple thousand pound metal objects at speeds exceeding 20mph faster then yourself dissipated with bike helmets I think. The laws of man do not supersede the laws of nature (specifically f=ma). No amount of awareness programs or pleas from the transportation board etc are going to stop people from driving drunk, distracted by their phone, food, makeup etc. No amount of laws is going to eradicate the exuberence and need for speed of the youth. This isn’t a can’t win don’t try or victim blaming post its simply a reminder that the laws and your bike helmet does not make the roads safe. There is a fals sense of security that has become pervasive amongst cyclists. Lastly, I’ll leave you words of wisdom imparted upon me by my mother, ‘don’t play in the road’.

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    • Bike helmets and laws don’t make the road 100% safe. This is true. However, less cars and more bikes on the road absolutely make it safer. The more people riding bikes on the roads, the more people in cars must be aware of that fact, and slow down.

      The simple truth is that our roads are dangerous because of people in cars – not because of people on bikes. Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of death and traumatic brain injuries in world (yet, ironically, no one is crying for car drivers to wear helmets lol).

      The bottom line is that it is extremely important for those piloting 2000+ pound pieces of machinery in public spaces, to operate that machinary in a manner that doesn’t endanger other people utilizing that same public space. Basically…with great power comes great responsibility. You drive a machine that is heavy and can cause death, and property damage, to anyone near you. It’s your responsibility to slow down knowing there might be anything around the next curve.

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      • No, but it’s the law to wear a seat belt. And the original intent of the roads built was for vehicle traffic. That was their intent. If you wish to ride a little piece of metal with a styrofoam helmet at 18 MPH amid 2-ton vehicles traveling at 50 or 55, there is no room for error by anyone. Accidents on both sides, lapses of judgement, driver/cyclist error, distractions (I’ve seen cyclists texting and talking on cell phones too), can lead to death, even when everyone does everything right.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Something to consider… Cars came to the streets after pedestrians and cyclists. Most of the rules that are applied to cars are a result of backlash from public due to high numbers of hit by car accidents. Many us cities considered banning cars until organized car interest groups rallied to ensure that didn’t happen. The term jaywalking was invented by ford at this time as part of their response . SO, bikes are sharing the road with cars! When there are a high number of hit by bike accident causing death, then register, insure, extra rules might make sense. Until then, chill out and don’t hit people with your cars!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Streets in town and city may have originally start for horses, actually, and pedestrians, but modern roads and highways and byways certainly were never built with cyclists in mind. They were built with motorized vehicles in mind.

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        • While true the very earliest roads were a concept of cyclists who helped champion them before the invention of the automobile, since the automobile in the last 100 years one can hardly claim paved U.S. roads have been designed with bicycles in mind for the primary use. It’s much like claiming since the earliest computers were designed to be glorified calculators for complicated math and equations in business, that initial vision is still primary to the design and use of computers on a mass general population scale today.

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  9. Cyclists who ride side by side are very dangerous. Don’t do it! I have seen bicyclists ride side by side on Prospect Street by UVM (Burlington, VT) in heavy rush hour traffic, putting themselves and others at risk…and when I politely asked them not to ride that way they yelled at me. Grow up! I am all for sharing the road but that means cyclists also need to share the road and guess what…in a confrontation between my car and you on your bike, the car is going to win, so smarten up and ride single file!!

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    • There are many times when going single file isn’t safe. Much of the time in cities, I ride in the middle of the lane because there is not enough room for someone in a car or truck to get around me safely without changing lanes. If I’m going to be in the lane by myself, then no additional room is taken if 2 or 3 ride abreast.

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      • Regardless of the “room taken” in VT it is illegal to ride more than 2 abreast. Your willful disregard of the law tells me why you have trouble with some motorists.

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  10. Three feet is not enough. A full lane change is what is needed and is so simple to do. And if a full lane change is made, it doesn’t matter if two cyclists are riding side by side.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES, lets lower the speed limit on all roads to 20mph, that will solve everything. Then you won’t hold up traffic at all, oh wait, here comes a hill!

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      • That is actually exactly what many neighborhoods are calling for. Cars on busy city streets cause avoidable deaths, and slowing down can prevent nearly all of them. Drivers have had the ability to drive fast for too long, and they continue to prove to everyone that it remains unsafe.

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        • The speed limit in my town is already 25mph, VT statue does not allow for posted speeds below that on public roads. They changed the speed limit by the school to 15mph and within a week it was back to 25mph because the change was illegal.

          I agree that congested areas deserve the lower limits, but are you really suggesting that two lane highways with a speed limit of 50 – 55 should be dropped to 20mph? Before you answer that, I know what you mean, but see how anyone can take a comment to the extreme and appear foolish?

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        • It was not, I took it to the extreme like you and Jim are with my comments by saying you wanted to apply it to all roads and put words in your mouth that you did not utter. Same as you and Jim seem to do with my posts. Get it now?

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  11. Just to be clear, I am not a proponent of the “register, inspect and insure” idea. However, even if it were to come to that, I just don’t see how it would resolve anything. As has been pointed out, there are ALREADY actual LAWS in place on how both motorists and cyclists are to comport themselves upon the roadway. The mere act of registering, inspecting and insuring of bicycles would do little to change the disparity in size and weight between a motor vehicle and a bicycle.

    Could a proponent of the “register, inspect and insure” idea please explain the benefits to cyclists, motorists and society at large?

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    • When I was a kid my best friend got hit, crossing a crosswalk at a traffic light with the little green ok to cross man lit up. A cyclist ran the red light, hitting my friend and breaking his leg (we were maybe 8-9 years old). The cyclist got up and took off before the police could arrive at the accident. My friends parents were both self employed making just enough to get by, and guess who got stuck with those hospital bills? You guessed it, they did.

      I don’t care about the money for registration, hell, make car registrations $1 more and make bike registration free for all I care. But there should be a way to identify bikes and they should at a minimum carry liability insurance. With a clean driving record my FULL COVERAGE insurance for my little 250cc motorcycle is about $85 a year, surely bike insurance would be orders of magnitude less since may of you think you can’t cause property or physical damage to someone else.

      If you are operating a vehicle, human powered or otherwise on the road, the absolute minimum should be liability insurance. Even if you are against registration I fail to see how you can be against liability insurance? You are riding a machine that can, and has, caused both damage to property and injured innocent bystanders. Plus, in the event you do have an accident you are not on the hook for damages out of pocket. I know, just like our misguided youth in cars, even the old wise cyclists somehow think they would never be in an accident where they were at fault. Guess what, it can happen to anyone, which is why even though I have 18 years behind the wheel and not a single at fault accident or traffic ticket, I still can’t drive around uninsured, and though my premiums are very low by comparison I still think they are ridiculous.

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  12. The whole point of “register, inspect and insure” is to have fewer cyclists on the road. It’s something a few motorists want to get other people off “their” road. If they could somehow make driving more onerous for everyone but themselves and their own families and friends, they’d promote that too, but that’s too blatantly hypocritical even for themselves.

    I’ll add that the more dangerous a road user is, the higher standard the law should hold them to. That’s why big trucks are most strictly regulated, small trucks and cars less, bikes less, and pedestrians even less. That makes sense. If you have more potential to hard others, you have to be held to a higher standard.

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    • See my comment above, there may be some people who want cyclists off the road, I want them accountable. I’ll pay an extra 1 or 2 bucks a year for my registration if it meant FREE but required registration for bikes. They should also have liability insurance. Since my FULL COVERAGE on a 250cc motorcycle is about $85 a year I would think you could get LIABILITY on a bike for maybe $25. I doubt $25 stops anyone, especially the ones on their $3000+ bikes, and generally speaking they are the problem. I see groups of 10 – 12 year olds riding Huffy’s on the road and they have much more respect for cars and others than do the Lance Armstrong wanna-bees on their high end bikes. Maybe they just aren’t jaded yet and don’t go out of their way to assert their RIGHTS to purposfully piss off motorists or “TAKE THE LANE” when unnecessary just because the law says it is ok. It’s not to get you off the road at all, it’s about accountability and liability for the mistakes you make, the same as other road users.

      Slide down out of the saddle from your high horse (I have ladder if you need to borrow it) and take responsibility for yourself and any potential damage you may cause just like other road users.

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  13. You’re, not your! #JustSaying

    If only people actually put their time into something constructive… (education IS constructive before you say it).

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    • Um, if YOU’RE going to criticize my grammar to try and make me look foolish you may want to make sure YOUR right.

      You see YOUR shows possession and YOU’RE is a shorter form of YOU ARE. So, YOU ARE saying that I should have phrased my comment as “Get down of YOU ARE high horse? Brilliant YOU’RE.

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  14. See how I did that there. Mixing up all the YOUR’s and YOU’RE’ and I bet YOU still got the point.. I might go two the store too see if they have anything I want, hell maybe I will buy to of everything.

    I bet that was hard to understand wasn’t it?

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  15. There are good drivers and there are bad drivers. There are good cyclists and there are bad cyclists. We cannot group everyone because a few don’t know better.

    As far as licensing, even though there is no testing or license for riding a bike, most cities offer free education for the public. These classes are typically offered by Parks & Rec, police, or fire departments, or by local bike clubs. The classes teach road safety (for motorists and cyclists), hand signals, how to be visible when riding, etc.

    Reality is that a growing percentage of the population is becoming health conscious, so drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists need to coexist. Cyclists need to follow all the laws, and drivers need to give cyclists the needed space. Every state has bicycle statutes, generally available on the state’s DOT website. There are also links to statutes available at http://bikeleague.org/StateBikeLaws.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The problem is I bet a huge majority of bicyclists won’t take a course if it’s free in their living room. They already know that they own the road and can do as they please. Yes there are bad drivers, but there is recourse. If you see someone swerving like a drunk, speeding, blowing stop signs, etc.. in a REGISTERED vehicle then you have a way to identify that person. Even without a plate number you can be much more descriptive of a car than a bicycle. To the non rider all bikes are basically a BMX a mountain bike or a road bike and that is about all the description you are going to get. They aren’t going to be able to say, he was on a late model X brand bike, black and grey two tone with a Def Leopard sticker in the back window.

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        • Honestly, an inspection and registration would’t hurt. I’ve said before in other comments, I (and I am sure many others would agree) I would be willing to pay an extra 1 or 2 dollars a year for my registration if it meant FREE registration for cyclists. The plate would belong to the individual and would be a 1 time expense for the state to stamp the plate, no yearly stickers or other nonsense. The registered RIDER may now affix his plate to any bike he wishes to ride, or could PAY for additional plates if he has multiple bikes and does not wish to move the plate around, all plates with the same number, registered to you as an individual. If you choose to loan your plate to someone, in the form of loaning them a plated bike or just loaning the plate, you are now responsible for any and all actions of that person, including traffic tickets or liability for damages.

          I am sure bicycle shops would love to do a QUICK FREE INSPECTION once a year (Check brakes, good tires, good wheel bearings, should take all of 2 minutes) and they would get a chance to sell you something.

          In my opinion anyone operating in the traveled portion of the road should have liability insurance. What if you hit my car and you can’t or won’t pay for the damages? Now I have to waste time and money to sue you to be compensated for your negligence. I insure my 250cc motorcycle with FULL COVERAGE for $85/year. I would venture to say liability for your bike could be added to an auto or homeowners policy for less than $25/year, though I do not know that for sure. Regardless of cost of insurance it is your responsibility to be sure you can pay up if you damage someone else’s property.

          I don’t want to hear about minimal damage, you hit a $80,000 luxury car at 20+mph on your bike and you are easily into the thousands of dollars in damage and I shouldn’t have to sue you to be made whole after you wreck my property.

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        • Josh, would a registration satisfy all the drivers that are angry at cyclists for riding on the road? Would that increase concern and safety of everyone?

          But how would a bike inspection make things better for drivers? Have you seen very many bike accidents because their tires are not good? It generally takes about 2000-2500 miles or riding a bike before tires need changing.

          For insurance, what if you hit another car and the other driver doesn’t have insurance? Will having mandatory insurance for every cyclist help calm down drivers who are complaining?

          Regarding your $80,000 luxury car. Although preventing damage to your luxury car isn’t the cyclist’s first concern when they are hit, I’m sure the rider is just as uninterested in being hit and hospitalized, as you are about having your luxury car damaged. An overwhelming majority of riders are regular people who want to go back to their families after their ride instead of damaging your luxury car.

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        • I can’t speak for everyone and you know that, but the people I have talked with about this would be very happy to be able to report idiots on bikes via a registration. You aren’t going to make everyone happy, there are people that don’t want cars on the road at all. Should we not register and insure cars? Granted they can cause more damage but that will be reflected in the insurance premium.

          Do you really think it is safe to be riding a bike with no brakes in a 50mph zone? We have vehicle inspections to make sure we don’t put others at risk with faulty equipment. Is it too much to ask that all road users have properly maintained equipment?

          The $80,000 car is certainly not mine, ever heard of hypothetical? Regardless of the injuries to the cyclist they are still responsible for damages. My wife’s aunt was killed a few years ago in a traffic accident. The driver of the tractor trailer that caused that accident also died a very horrible death. My wife’s uncle witnessed him burn to death screaming in agony and was powerless to help. He felt horrible, but does that negate the financial responsibility of said driver just because he was hurt or killed? Should my wife’s uncle be out a fairly new car, her income for the household and his wife? It’s bad enough she’s gone, why should he have to fall on financially hard times due to the actions of some idiot that caused a huge wreck? I guess the insurance company agreed with me because they gave him a pretty nice settlement for the financial loss. Though it did not bring back his wife it gave him some peace of mind to know that he can still afford to live.

          If you are operating on traveled roads you should have insurance, if I hit another vehicle what does it matter if they have insurance, it is my insurance paying for it. If you hit me why should I have to put in an uninsured motorist claim and make my premiums go up due to your idiocy? Or waste time and money to drag you through small claims court. It should be settled then and there by providing me with your insurance information so that I do not take a financial loss because you can’t operate a bike in a safe manner?

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        • On your crusade to require a license, insurance, and registration for cyclists, do you really think that will make people ride bikes “better” or more in the way that you wish them to? You are asking for an undue burden to quash what you don’t like. You are certainly not the first, nor do I dare believe that you are anywhere near the last to make these statements. You seem very concerned with injuries and deaths on our roads, yet you don’t seem to mind that nearly all of that comes from idiots driving cars, even though they have the license, insurance, and registration that you seem to think is the solution to cycling.

          Being active and outdoors is invariably good for all of us, and fortunately it’s so safe that no legislative body agrees with your view that it’s too dangerous to coexist on our public roads unlicensed, uninsured, and unregistered. Your time would be better spent converting more drivers to cyclists to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths. But somehow I think your points are more because you just don’t like cyclists…

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        • So, if registration and insurance does not stop anyone from being reckless why not have cars driving around with no insurance, unlicensed drivers and faulty equipment? According to your logic these things prevent nothing?

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  16. Thank you for writing the article. Since most cyclists are also drivers, perhaps a good learning experience for a driver is to get on a bike. Several things may happen: 1). The enjoy it and want to continue. This would be the best case scenario. 2). Maybe they do now enjoy as much as us cyclists, but they understand what it is like to be passed closely by a car. Whether or not they enjoy it, speaking from experience of biking (legally) on heavily traveled roads would be a lot more valuable than drivers getting behind old, out dated, and irrelevant arguments about how others should conduct themselves, rather than looking inward. Hope to see you all out there enjoying this weather!

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    • Common Courtesy, regardless of whether what you are doing is techincally legal would go a long ways. I’m sure you don’t enjoy getting behind a blue hair going 20 in a 50 oblivious to the surroundings and holding up miles of traffic. That is exactly what you do when you “Take the lane” and never attempt to move over or pull over to let those cars by. Yes, there are a lot of roads where there are plenty of safe places to pass, there are also roads where there is NOWHERE to pass, yet bikes continue down the center of the lane holding everyone up behind them. Practice what you preach, be courteous and I bet you will find a lot less angry motorists honking and yelling. The only drivers who do not get courtesy from me are the ones being asshats, same goes for bikes.

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  17. Extending common courtesy seems to be only expected out of cyclists. I am a driver, but I also am a cyclist and follow all the laws and use common sense: dress brightly, use low-traffic roads, bike in a predictable manner, blinking lights, etc. Yet literally every time I am out biking, at least one driver aggressively passes, honks at me, shows me the finger, or opens their window and curses at me. And this is on very low-traffic roads at 6 AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, I was riding with a few other riders on the shoulder of a 2-lane road when one of these always-courteous drivers of a truck cut me off and slammed on the brakes in front of me (on the shoulder) causing me to almost fall off. He then aggressively accelerated to release exhaust fumes on all of us, yelled obscenities at us and drove off, only to repeat that behavior to another group of riders that was just about half mile ahead of us.

    What can I and other “asshats” like me do when we are biking, lawfully doing what we are allowed to do? Should asshat-me apologize to the driver of the truck, for using the shoulder of the 2-lane road that he and only he has paid for?

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    • Sounds to me like you are not one of the asshats, and I appreciate your courtesy on the road. You act like an idiot and I will tell you all about it, whether on a bike, in a car or for that matter in a wheelchair. You know that pesky free speech thing. Just as you are treated with disrespect on the roads daily on your bike, I encounter cyclists where I live almost daily who could give two f%$# about anything other than themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I see this more often with cars on an actual numbers basis, but as a percentage a much higher percentage of cyclists IN MY AREA are the ones causing the problems by completely ignoring just about every rule of the road.

      Central VT seems to attract these kind of people I guess, I’s day maybe 1 in 50 people that go through a door in front of you will just let it slam in your face, that pisses me off as much or more than bicycles and I not very kindly thank every individual that slams a door in my face.

      I was brought up to be polite and courteous to everyone, until they give me a reason not to. As I said, be an asshat I will let you know. I’ve chewed the asses of countless able bodied people who park in handicap spots as well, even had one lady leave the store before she went in because I insisted on her moving her car since she had no placard or plate to park there. She continued towards the door and I told her that if she didn’t move the car I was calling the police and as she turned to look back I took a picture of her license plate. She got back in her car, slammed the door and sped off.

      You see, I don’t have a problem with cyclists as a rule, my problem is with idiots. Though we do not agree on the resolution I appreciate that you are courteous in your debate and it sounds as though you are courteous in life as well. Good for you, if that is the case you are good people, even if you do ride a bike =)

      As you can see with the others, when you sink to name calling (just to be clear my asshat comment was not directed at you, but a group of idiots) I can sink just as low and often do. I will not be walked on or treated with disrespect without making my displeasure known.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Josh – do the world a courtesy and ride a bike for an hour in central vt. I’ll let you borrow my bike. Don’t just recall your youth when you used to ride a bike… Do it in 2015.

    I’ll do the same with your truck, ride it for an hour looking for cyclists.

    Something tells me your perspective could change. If it doesn’t egg on my face.

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    • Believe me, I get the same shit on my motorcycle from cars, and I maintain the speed limit on 50mph roads. It’s a geared down 250, it will do a little over 60 but that is screaming. I agree, SOME cars get angry at me when I’m not doing 60+ in a 50. People pull out in front of you all the time, you know, SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You). I’m well aware of the dangers of two wheeled travel and I am sure it is worse on a bike, you are correct, I haven’t ridden a human powered bike on the road in many years, but motorcycles face many, not all, of the same problems with autos.

      And I am not directing this at you, but many cyclists, including ones on this forum use the actions of SOME auto drivers as an excuse to be discourteous to ALL auto drivers. They also say the actions of SOME auto drivers is why registration, insurance, inspection is required for them, and actually that one statement I agree with, but then they say just because SOME cyclists are assholes in not reason enough to require the same accountability from ALL of them. Seems hypocritical at least. The VAST majority of auto drivers never hurt or kill anyone, same as cyclists, but it does happen and isn’t that basically what insurance is for? Just in case something happens?

      Have I been discourteous to a cycle before? Yes, on many occasions, you want to know why? Because I get stuck in a line of traffic behind them (many times riding 3 and 4 abreast) for 5-10 miles because either the road they are traveling does not have an area where you can see far enough to safely pass or there is so much traffic that there is never a break in oncoming traffic to pass. I have no problem patiently waiting for a chance to get around in a reasonable amount of time (say even a couple of minutes, not 10+ minutes), but I think miles and miles and miles of holding up a line of traffic is a little excessive and I would think any courteous human being would find a SAFE place to let traffic resume a normal pace.

      And just to be clear since a lot of folks are putting words in my mouth, being discourteous does not mean I “buzz” them or try to scare them off the road. It means a couple of courtesy (short friendly honks like you might going by a friends house) to be sure they are aware of my presence if I’ve been behind them for quite a long time and there is no safe place to pass. What that usually gets me is the finger, so then I will let my displeasure known when I do get a chance to pass verbally, again just to be very clear for Jim and Andy, this does not mean a physical assault. Calling you a self entitled asshole is not against the law.

      Last year 2 friends and I stopped at a nice little country store on a motorcycle ride. While we were in there a group of 20+ cyclists decided the end of the driveway was a good place to stop and have a chat, they had the end of the driveway so full we couldn’t get out on small road legal dirt bikes. As we started to pull up to them they made no attempt to clear the driveway. A couple of links of the horn got a while slew of fingers and still no movement. Nobody would budge until one of my buddies started to dismount his bike to go have a chat with them. As soon as the kickstand was down they had a change of heart. Holding people up because it was inconvenient for them to leave enough space for this store to get customers in and out of their own driveway. Not only that, but not one of them bought anything at the store.

      I have just as many stories about cars, semi’s and motorcycles being asshats on the road. The BIG difference is those groups can be held accountable and you can be a material witness if you have a plate number and vehicle description that is pretty solid evidence. A guy on a blue bike with a yellow shirt doesn’t really hold up in court as positive ID.

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      • “The VAST majority of auto drivers never hurt or kill anyone, same as cyclists, but it does happen and isn’t that basically what insurance is for?”

        That’s a lame argument. Even with the percentage of people killing others at about 0.0001% (32,000 of 330,000,000), 99.996% (average of 1 cyclist per year compared to 32000 by car) of those deaths are from car drivers, not cyclists. Your concern is VASTLY overblown. Come back to me when there is an actual measurable risk caused by cyclists.

        “Have I been discourteous to a cycle before? Yes, on many occasions, you want to know why? Because I get stuck in a line of traffic behind them (many times riding 3 and 4 abreast) for 5-10 miles because either the road they are traveling does not have an area where you can see far enough to safely pass or there is so much traffic that there is never a break in oncoming traffic to pass.”

        Sure, that sucks. I’ve sat in traffic too, but I don’t yell at all the drivers that caused it. Congrats on admitting that you choose to be discourteous. I hope you realize that there is no minimum speed limit (except on some highways where bikes aren’t allowed), cyclists are legally allowed to use the road, and I haven’t seen a law in VT requiring cyclists to turn out. For being a stickler on the laws, you are whining about an instance where people are following them. Drivers do not have an inalienable right to drive the speed limit. You get the privileged of using the public roads as we all do. I probably would have turned out in that situation, but unless there is a law requiring it, the cyclist hasn’t done anything wrong. If they had a license plate on the bike, would you have called the police to complain about someone not doing what you like, even though they aren’t breaking a law? Good luck on that.

        “I have just as many stories about cars, semi’s and motorcycles being asshats on the road.”

        Like I said, come back to me when cyclists make a measurable impact on others. People operating cars, semis, and motorcycles kill tens of thousands of people per year, compared to the rare death caused by a cyclist. You worry is wrongly placed.

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  19. There is maturity and wisdom expressed in the main blog post above, and in some of the comments. There is also some small-minded and defensive carping and whining, directed primarily at the alleged selfish character and behavior of cyclists. Those comments are just salvos in a culture war. We are not going to resolve that question here. Look people, the reality is that two cyclists were killed recently by drunk drivers, and one cyclist was killed by an irresponsible joyriding teen. DUI — first offense — should result in at least immediate loss of license for a very long time, like ten or twenty years. Second offence, if any: loss of license for life, plus a year or more prison. Driving with suspension for DUI: longer prison. “Helping repeat offenders” is not a sufficient answer. Stopping them before they kill is the answer. Driving is not a “right.” We’re talking about reckless and irresponsible drivers killing people. It doesn’t get much more serious than that. And youth drivers have no more right than anyone else to experience a sense of freedom by crazy speeding. Speeding like that: loss of license for ten, twenty years. We must get these killers off the road. They will not learn. Punishment and deterrence are not the issue here, they don’t meet the need and they don’t work. Just get the killers off the road. We can still carry on our unwinnable culture war about who has a right to use the road, while we pay scrupulous heed to existing laws, as the original post urges us to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. There is maturity and wisdom expressed in the main blog post above, and in some of the comments. There is also some whining directed at the alleged selfish behavior of cyclists. Such comments are just salvos in a culture war. No one is going to win that war here. What we can address here is the reality that two cyclists were killed recently in Vermont by drunk drivers, and one cyclist was killed by an irresponsible joyriding teen. These deaths happened within a few weeks in a small state with a sparse population. We could reduce the occurrence of such deaths. A DUI first offense should result in at least immediate loss of license for a very long time, perhaps ten or twenty years. Second offence, if any: loss of license for life, plus at least several months of prison. Driving with suspension for DUI: a longer prison term. “Helping repeat offenders” is not a sufficient response to such offenses, however appropriate it may be as social work. Stopping these particular offenders before they kill is a better response. Driving is not a “right.” We’re talking about reckless and irresponsible drivers killing people. It doesn’t get much more serious than that. And youth drivers have no more right than anyone else to experience a sense of freedom by crazy speeding. Speeding like that should result in immediate loss of license for ten, twenty years. We can try to get killers off the road. They have no right to be there. Drunk driving and crazy speeding are not excusable offenses, and the resulting deaths are not simply regrettable accidents. Thinking in terms of simple punishment per se and deterrence will not help. But we do need to remove killers from the road. We can still carry on our unwinnable culture war about who has a right to use the road, while we pay scrupulous heed to existing laws, as the original post urges us to do.

    Liked by 1 person

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