Why We Ride in the Road

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Melissa Schultz showed in her Jan. 21 letter how difficult it is to be a cyclist.

She claimed that a "bike path is aptly named 'bike path' because that is where bicyclists should ride." But the name is not apt at all. Most "bike paths" are filled with dog walkers, joggers, roller bladers and runners.

These are fine places for a leisurely ride. They are not suitable for a large group of adults on a training ride. Does Ms. Schultz really want a peloton of cyclists racing down a narrow path at 25 mph while she and her children bike to Mount Vernon? Cyclists riding in large groups and at high speeds are safer on the road.

Ms. Schultz contended that because of cyclists, "Cars have to swerve into the other lane . . . and risk getting hit head-on by other cars." But cars do not have to "swerve" into the other lane; they need only slow down and wait patiently for a safe opportunity to pass. Or they may not need to pass at all.

Cyclists are often told that if they obey the law, they'll get respect.

I can see why some doubt that.



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