Bike paths are not only for bikes, but also for baby carriages, toddlers, runners, dogs on leashes and dogs not on leashes {"What Are Bike Paths For?" letters, June 12}. Such traffic on the MacArthur Boulevard pathway makes the path dangerous for cyclists who can reach speeds of over 25 mph.

Glass bottles thrown from cars, road crossings at sharp curves and near (rather than at) intersections and parked cars are further problems. During the 1985 American Public Health Association meetings in the District, a panel of researchers, all of whom had done studies about bike accidents, concluded that, despite their name, bike paths are dangerous places for bicycling. Across the nation there are local jurisdictions that, faced with legal actions by injured bicyclists, no longer label such paths as "bike" paths or now refuse to build them at all.

According to the Annotated Code of Maryland, bicyclists are not required to use bike paths unless the path has a surface that is equal to or better than the adjacent roadway. MacArthur Boulevard is mentioned specifically as a roadway from which bikes are not restricted.

The prestigious Race Across America beginning this week in San Francisco will end, for the first time, in Washington. After nine days and 3,100 miles, riders will be using the MacArthur roadway, not the path, as they exit Maryland. They will not be using the path because it is safer to be on the road, and it is legal.

Bikes are vehicles and bicyclists have a right to the road.

MICHAEL M. HAGAN

Washington