Cyclist: Bicyclists need to clean up their act

Kansas City area bicyclist Bill Taft recently wrote in the Kansas City Star editorial:
I was hit by a car recently as I rode, and I spent three hours in the emergency room. The driver was not wearing her glasses and turned in front of me at an intersection. . . .
Vehicular cyclist

Contrary to what I have read from cyclists, I have found drivers uniformly courteous to bikers, even when they had every right not to be.

When I cycle, I am always fully aware that I need to obey the laws. I stop at stop signs and stoplights. I signal my turns. When I am riding with someone, I always go single file when cars are coming from behind me.

Unfortunately, I have seen many riders disobey stop signs and stoplights. When they do that, they give a bad name to cycling. . . . Traffic laws are for bicycles, too.

I used to ride with two of the major bike clubs in town. I saw many examples of rude bicycle riders. I hope they have cleaned up their act, but I was on many rides where traffic rules were broken and riders rode two and three riders abreast and did not get into single file for cars. . . .
In my experience, Bill is right on both counts--99.9% or more of area drivers are extremely courteous. Unfortunately the 1 in a thousand or 1 in ten thousand who is not, is often both rude and dangerous.

And bicyclists too often disregard traffic laws. This is unsafe and it makes others angry. We know that bicyclists who follow vehicular cycling techniques are many times safer than average. It has also been reported many times by those who have completed the Bike League's Road I class, and begin bicycling according to the principles they have learned, that drivers "suddenly" become more courteous and friction between the bicyclist and motorists is greatly reduced.

That's because vehicular bicycling, which stresses the cooperative nature of traffic and communication between bicyclist and driver, is better and safer for everyone.

On the other count--group bicycling behavior--MoBikeFed has recently released a one-page guide that can be printed and distributed by ride leaders or in club newsletters.

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