More on bicycle safety

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By Khalil J. Spencer

Dear Editor,

Janet Basinger’s recent letter in the Monitor (Apr. 21), discussing bicycling safety, needs further discussion.

Proper positioning keeps the cyclist away from roadside debris and from the gutter pan or road edge. The rider must also be far enough into traffic to be clearly visible to others. The cyclist is legally entitled to take the entire lane if it is too narrow to be shared (Los Alamos County Codes, Ch. 38, Article X), thus deterring motorists from unsafe passing. In the narrow lane situation the cyclist should cooperate with motorists to the extent safely possible to keep traffic moving.

Following motorists must be patient and pass safely. That, in essence, is why the law says the cyclist should ride as far right as is practicable (i.e., feasible, realistic with regards to all likely hazards and traffic considerations) not as far right as is possible.

A cyclist wanting to increase his or her visibility during the day can use bright clothing or a Class II or III reflective vest.  Having said that, the onus for being alert to what is in front of you (whether it is a cyclist, a pedestrian crossing the street, or a motorist slowing down) falls primarily to the individual vehicle operator.  Let’s keep the responsibility where it belongs.

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