Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Breaking the law?

By Steve Reuscher

I read with interest the letter to the editor in the Clear Lake Mirror Reporter stating that drivers and cyclists need to begin obeying the rules of the road before someone gets hurt or killed. I had thought about this every time I rode, particularly when with a group.

A few weeks later, there was an article in which the Clear Lake police department stated that they were going to begin educating and enforcing laws on cyclists in an attempt to educate the public for everyone’s benefit. Excellent. I was all for this.

A group of us were on our last leg of a Saturday morning ride, heading east down Main Street in Clear Lake. I was in the rear, struggling to hang on as always, when I heard a booming voice over a loudspeaker. My first thought was, “I can’t believe I am probably going to be the first person ticketed in this enforcement I was all for.” The officer gave us a verbal warning for riding three abreast, and we were on our way again.

To my shock and disbelief, in less than one mile, we were stopped again; this time for riding two abreast and not being completely in the bike lane. The first few minutes of this conversation were heated with both sides stating their version of the law, and I knew a ticket or worse was imminent. As the conversation continued, things began to cool down as both parties realized no one fully knew the laws or their enforcement. Whew, no ticket!

This encounter made us all realize that we need to become active together in educating cyclists, drivers, and police on the law and safety aspects of bikes sharing the road with cars. I think a lot of cyclists don’t realize there are many laws that apply to them, and a lot of drivers don’t realize cyclists have the right to be on the road. The laws regarding riding a bike on the road should be as ingrained and second nature as it is while driving a car. With adherence to the law, safety will follow.

I want cycling to grow whether for health, recreation, competition, and tourism. If we can get everyone working together, it will. North Iowa Spin as a local club needs and intends to become active in this, and we could use your help.

No comments: