I came across this email the other day from one of my neighbors, who was about to be hit by a bicyclist cutting her at the street intersection.
“Tonight I almost hit a cyclist as I took turns with several other cars at an intersection. As it was my turn to go, the cyclist sped past one of the cars stopped at the stop sign and went through the intersection without even slowing down.” – reads her email after going through this frightening experience.
Some of us may find this incident rather silly; we often hear the safety of the bicyclists, but do they also need to follow the rules of the road?
Actually they must, as the Maryland laws say. It says “In Maryland, the bicycle is classified as a vehicle with all of the same requirements and restrictions as a motor vehicle, except (more restricts follow)”.
I, ride my bike everyday to the Metro on my way to work in the DC and frankly speaking, I’ve seen many of of my fellow bicyclists who don’t follow the rule.
Others in my neighborhood share the concerns: “There is a woman in our neighborhood who constantly fails to obey bike law and then gets nasty when you beep your horn or mention something. Beware! I have often thought of putting a note on her locker.” – said one of my neighbors.
I think the situation is more like unknowing than knowing negligence.
Please remember, to be a bicyclist, you don’t need to be in a mandatory 30 hr instructor-led driving class, nor do you need to spend 36 hours on the road to practice driving with another adult driver; and forget about going through a not-so-easy driving test at the MVA. Anyone can be a bicyclist if s/he wants to be, and thus unfortunately there is little incentive for a bicyclist to learn about these laws.
On top of that, many byclists think that they’re the kings of the road, and above all rules. Others need to protect them, they can care less about the others.
The solution? Awareness of the traffic rule is the key. Many of bicyclists who don’t follow the rules do that simply because they don’t know if any such rules exist (they don’t need to pass a test).
In the long run, I think it will be a good idea if the City installs signs similar to this one; it reminds them to yield to the pedestrians.