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Cyclists need to follow the rules of the road — all of them

Cyclists need to follow the rules of the road — all of them
A cyclist uses a bike lane in downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 11, 2015. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I have been a bicycle commuter in New York, Washington and Los Angeles for 60 years. Tom Babin got a lot wrong — bike safety is largely up to the rider. Most car-bike accidents that I have seen are largely, if not exclusively, caused by poor judgment of the rider. ("Cyclists don't follow the rules of the road? Maybe it's time to change those rules," Opinion, Oct. 3)

The photo published with Babin's article says it all. There's a good rider in bright clothes, helmeted and waiting. Nearby is a clueless rider in dark clothes, helmetless and pedaling unaware of his fragility.

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"Share the road" is a two-way street. In Venice and Santa Monica where bike lanes abound, irresponsible bikers boggle the mind by riding on Pacific Coast Highway and Ocean Avenue, unaware of bike lanes and routes one block away from them.

I am waiting for time to evolve when there will be a general sense of biker-to biker and biker-to-pedestrian courtesy. It will come.

Melvin Scheer, Venice

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To the editor: As an avid bicyclist and as much as I'd like to speed up my journeys, I find troubling Babin's call to adopt less restrictive traffic rules for cyclists such as the so-called Idaho stop. Having daily experience with inattentive and distracted drivers, much more must be done to educate drivers on the rights of the bicyclist.

Many motorists already treat stop signs and lights as yields, forcing bicyclists to ride even more defensively. Giving cyclists the freedom to do the same makes for a bad mix. Before I could support an idea such as this, I'd like to review before and after accident statistics in cities these rules went into effect.

Having been the victim of two hit-and-run crashes while biking, I feel more must be done to improve bike riding conditions, such as more designated bike paths. We need to move away from simple white lines painted on the roadway that give cyclists scant feeling of safety while cars rumble by.

Fixing laws to allow cyclists to ride dangerously gives me little comfort.

Mark Hinds, Gardena

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To the editor: After 70 years of riding a bicycle, I got my first ticket a couple of months ago while riding on a residential street in La Cañada Flintridge. I rode through a stop sign and was cited by an L.A. County sheriff's deputy. It seemed that some residents in the area had complained about bicyclists, and the officer had staked out the stop sign.

The ticket cost me almost $300, and I went to traffic school because of erroneous information from my insurance agent.

We need to look at the numerous laws that are needless and in effect unenforceable. When a law is rarely enforced, a person who receives a ticket for violating said law feels discriminated against when an officer does choose to enforce it.

Our legislators pass dozens of new laws every year, but they rarely remove ineffective laws from the books.

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Laurent McReynolds, La Crescenta

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To the editor: While I appreciate Babin's assertion that cyclists need extra protections, the idea that safety laws should be disregarded for them is ludicrous. Los Angeles is very firmly a car culture, and putting almost all of the population at a disadvantage to benefit a few who might be inconvenienced by the law just doesn't make sense.

We are also seeing major avenues constricted because of dedicated bike lanes. A compromise might be to set aside parallel side streets as shared bikeways.

Traffic laws are in place to provide safety to all, not a select few.

William Turner, Sherman Oaks

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