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-- Myth: Bicycles Must "Keep Their Place" To The Right.
Both traffic law and traffic experts recognize that there are numerous situations when
bicycles should not try to squeeze over. That is why vehicle law lists many conditions
when bicycles should merge into the traffic lane and take the full lane: where roads
become narrow or in narrow traffic lanes; to ride clear of glass, debris, potholes, rough
paving, moving, turning, or parked cars; to operate correctly as a vehicle in the proper
lane at intersections, and when passing or turning left.
-- Myth: If I Take the Lane, Cars will Run Me Over.
The simple truth: it doesn't happen. Getting hit from behind is one of the rarest
incidents. Most motorists would feel traumatized if they injured someone. Many are
actually afraid of cyclists. People do wait their turn behind bicyclists because they can
see why the cyclist is in the lane; to avoid parked cars, blocked bikelanes, cars pulling
out, or it's just a bit too narrow to pass safely without "squeezing". For those
who try to pass anyway, riding near the center of the lane leaves a safety margin of 4-5'
into which the bicyclist can move if needed.
-- Myth: Bicyclists Break Laws. They Don't Deserve Respect.
Car drivers break laws too, yet are not subject to this frequent rationale used to
oppress minorities: "You are responsible for the behaviour of others of your
kind." Every person is responsible for their own behaviour. Every driver is
responsible for sharing the road safely with other road users.
-- Myth: Bicycling With Traffic Is Dangerous And Stupid.
Bicycling with traffic is safe and fun for those who operate by predictable, vehicular
rules. The single most important rule: merge with traffic and take the full lane whenever
necessary for your safety. Bicyclist Education is the most effective method known for
eliminating up to 95% of car/bike accidents. Lawful Vehicular Cycling is bicycling
cooperatively with traffic by emphasizing the same simple vehicular rules that all drivers
use. Vehicular Cycling is safer than driving a car, flying in an airliner,
motorcycling, skiing, swimming, or boating:
# Fatalities per 1,000,000 Exposure Hours
|Data compiled by Failure Analysis Associates, Inc.
Books such as Effective Cycling, and classes from the
League of American Bicyclists teach it. It is simply not enough to put a helmet on your
head and call that safety. You have to put some knowledge inside your head as well. Most
of what people have learned about bike safety from parents, police and schools is both
wrong and dangerous.
-- Myth: Cars Can Pass Bicycles Any Time.
The Ca. DMV Driver's Manual (like others) says differently: "When the lane is too
narrow ... wait until the next lane is clear and give the bicycle rider all the rights of
any other slow-moving vehicle. Slow and let the cars pass... then move left to pass the
bicycle. Leave plenty of room between your car and any bicycle."
-- Myth: Car Drivers Pay Taxes, Bicyclists Don't.
At $20-40 million dollars per mile, vehicle and gas taxes don't even begin to cover
highway costs. Local streets are mostly paid for from local property & sales taxes.
Overall, the USDOT estimates every car gets a $3000+ subsidy every year.
-- Myth: Roads Are Primarily For Cars.
The public roads are for transportation; have been for thousands of years. The Ca. DMV
agrees: "Farm tractors, animal-drawn vehicles, and riders of horses... are entitled
to share the road with you ... Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities on
public roadways as automobile drivers ... Bicycle riders on public streets have the
same rights and responsibilities on public roadways as automobile drivers ... vehicles
must treat bicycle riders the same as drivers ... Bicyclists are not out of place on the
roadway - they are part of the traffic and share the road."
-- Myth: Cars Were Here First
It was bicycle mechanics (Henry Ford, Wright Bros.) who invented cars and airplanes
using advanced bicycle technology. Neither could exist without pneumatic tires, precision
bearings, tension-spoked wheels, chain-drive, rolled steel, and other technology invented
(C) 1998-99 Lauren Cooper - used with
Whose Road Downloadable PDF file exploring who
pays the cost of road construction.