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Relationship between bikers, drivers at fever pitch

WTOP Washington D.C.: Relationship between bikers, drivers at fever pitch

November 23, 2009 - 1:51pm
Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- It’s a common scenario: A driver rounds a curve only to find a bicyclist riding slowly in the roadway. The driver becomes frustrated and tries to pass to biker, creating a dangerous situation.

This continues to happen even as the D.C. region continues to add bike only lanes as more people trade four wheels for two. And in light of the recent controversy surrounding D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his biking habits, the relationship between drivers and bicyclists has hit a fever pitch.

"It’s a very touchy subject whether or not bicyclists get the respect they deserve on the roadway," Loren Mooney, editor-in-chief of Bicycling Magazine, tells WTOP. "It’s one of those situations where we are all in this together."

When it comes to who is "in the right" about the rules of the road, Mooney believes there is room for improvement on both sides.

"For cyclists, it is always a good idea to obey the traffic signals, just as if you were a motorized vehicle on the roadway. Red lights and stop signs are big issues. Even though it hinders your momentum, it is the law to come to a complete stop at stop signs, and to wait at signals until you have the green light. And try to give the car enough space to pass, which means staying to the right as far as is practical for you."

As far as drivers are concerned:

"Bikes belong on the roadway. It is legal in all 50 states and the District for them to be on the roadway. Realize just how vulnerable the cyclists are out there," Mooney says.

Last year, D.C. was voted the most improved city when it comes to the best cities for bicycling. The city now has over 40 miles of bike lanes that criss-cross through some of the busiest commuter routes around.