A bicycle weighs about 40 pounds. A motor vehicle weighs 3,500 pounds or more. The two share the same roads -- by Pennsylvania law -- and they need to learn to get along.
A package of stories reported by Christopher Hughes and Steve Mocarsky published Sunday and Monday in The Times Leader detailed the growing interest in cycling for recreation, sport and transportation. With that growth comes growing pains.
Even though though the roads are shared the divide between cyclists and motorists seems as deep as ever.
Cyclists see themselves as healthy couriers of a better lifestyle. Motorists see themselves as fee-paying, first-class travelers of the paved roads. Like sibling rivals vying of the same space, these co-inhabitants of the roadways need to be aware of each other and respect the rules.
For cyclists, the rules of the road are to follow the flow of traffic and observe stop signs and traffic signals. Cyclists may not carry more riders than the bike is designed to carry; cyclists younger than 12 need to wear a helmet; and cyclists riding between sunset and sunrise are required to equip their bike with a front lamp along with rear and side reflectors. Cyclists must signal left and right turns.
Cyclists may ride on the shoulder or the road. Cyclists are not permitted to ride on sidewalks in most areas.
Cyclists should use good sense. A following motorist can be spooked by a cyclist who weaves or changes direction abruptly.
Likewise, motorists should use good sense.
Motorists are required to yield four feet of space to a cyclist. That’s at least half the width of a motor your vehicle.
Getting behind a bike and blaring the horn will not make a cyclist ride faster or straighter. Motor vehicle passengers throwing things will not make a cyclist go away. Neither will swerving in the cyclists’ path. And the driver texting needs to understand how quickly a motor vehicle will upend that bantam-weight bicycle frame.
Neither bikes of care are going away. The law says share the road and follow the rules. Anything less is going to be trouble.