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The following article was published under the title, "Signs Urge Drivers

To 'Share The Road'," in my monthly "For Better Bicycling" (on-road

bicycling advocacy series) column in the May, 1991, installment of the

"Cycle St. Louis" (CSL) regional publication (published by the St. Louis

Bicycle Touring Society.)

 

 

Yours For Better Bicycling,

 

 

Bob Soetebier

 

St. Louis Metro Area

Bicycling Advocacy Coordinator

 

 

    Tailwinds to you...            See you ON the road!

 

 

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   THE SHARE THE ROAD WITH BICYCLISTS CAMPAIGN

 

 

    by Bob Soetebier

 

    St. Louis Metro Area

     Bicycling Advocacy Coordinator

 

 

     Wouldn't it be nice if every motorist on the road respected

bicyclists' roadway rights; giving us our due by always passing only when

it is safe to do so?   When passing bicycle riders, it seems that many

motorists hazardously attempt to "squeeze by," usually passing with only

inches to spare!


     The Bad News:  It seems that most motorists are generally ignorant

of the legal requirements when it comes to passing a bicyclist (or for

that matter, any other roadway user.) --- Vehicular law requires that

before attempting to pass another roadway user it is the legal

responsibility of the following vehicle to wait until it is safe and

prudent to do so,  And then they are to pass with caution, AND at a

reasonable distance/width on the left side of the other roadway user. 

For safety's sake, this is generally understood or considered to be at a

distance of MORE THAN an outstretched arm's length apart.


     Another principle generally ignored in this equation is what I like

to refer to as the "Right of Precedence," or as some would say:  "First

Come, First Served."  In other words:  It is the inherent duty of the

following vehicle operator to wait their turn to proceed; and then, only

in a safe and prudent manner, as mentioned above.


     Conversely, this does not mean that the bicyclist (particularly when

traveling uphill or at a slower pace) should not attempt to allow

following traffic to pass WHEN it is safe to do so.  This is merely a

matter of courtesy and common sense.  This may dictate possibly pulling

off the road and stopping, or moving further to the right, PROVIDED that

there is a sufficiently-wide expanse of usable (meaning:  debris/crack

and hole-free) pavement available to do so.


     This does NOT mean that the bicycle rider should hazardously

"hug-the-edge" of the road like a "scared rabbit," thus putting

themselves in jeopardy by then having to swerve drastically to avoid a

typical side-of-the road hazards such as glass and/or gravel, etc. 

"Hugging-the-edge" tends to actually "invite" following motorists to

attempt a dangerous "squeeze by" pass, and is a particularly hazardous

practice on narrow, two-lane roads with on-coming traffic.


     The Good News:  May is National Bicycling Month.  For the good of

everyone, we need to continually promote the "Share the Road:  It's the

Law" message to both bicyclists and motorists.


     More Good News:  In keeping with the above theme, some of you may

have noticed the new "Share The Road" (With Bicyclists) signs [see

accompanying photo] that were placed along various well-bicycled roadways

in the Chesterfield, Missouri area last year by the Chesterfield Chamber

of Commerce. --- Along with representatives from the OAC/AYH and the

SLBTS, I was privileged to be invited to meet with the Chesterfield

Chamber of Commerce for the discussions that resulted in this successful

signage campaign.  In addition to the involvement of Chesterfield's

Chamber of Commerce, other contributors to the "Share The Road" campaign

include:  LAW/BICYCLE USA, Bikecentennial, OAC/AYH, SLBTS, along with the

Missouri State, St. Louis County, and Chesterfield Highway and Police

Departments.


     Still More Good News:  A special Bicycle Safety Rules sign was also

recently placed in the near vicinity of the "Smoke House Market" in

Chesterfield, which is a popular gathering and starting place for many

bicyclists.  (By the way, the owners of the ever-popular "Smoke House

Market", Thom and Jane Sehnert, are bicyclists.)


     Along with this "Share The Road" (With Bicyclists) sign campaign,

and the newly-revised Missouri Auto Driver's Written Test (which now

contains questions concerning bicyclists' on-road rights and duties) and

the "Bicycling Safely On The Road" film (on-loan videotape available

through the St. Louis County Libraries) [both of these latter two efforts

having been mentioned in my previous columns], it is hoped that these

bicycling-awareness educational efforts will begin to have a positive

effect on roadway interaction in our area.


     If you would like to see a "Share The Road" (With Bicyclists) sign

campaign initiated in your area, I would like to strongly encourage YOU

to take the initiative and to act to bring this about in your community! 

For more info on these type of signs contact:  Joan Schmelig, Exec. Dir.,

c/o  Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce, 300 Chesterfield Center, Suite

250, Chesterfield, MO  63017.  Their telephone number is:  314-532-3399.

 

     Until next time...  See you ON the road!

 

 

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