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What's Bugging You? Bicyclists in traffic

KABC Los Angeles: What's Bugging You? Bicyclists in traffic

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A road war between bicyclists and cars. That's what's bugging many viewers. Who has the right of way?

Riding a bicycle is a popular way to get around in Southern California. But on our congested roads motorists and bicyclists sometimes just don't get along.

"There just happens to be certain cyclists for the most part that just don't obey safety rules. I happen to stop at a stop sign, they'll just run right by. Red light, they'll just run right by," said L.A. resident Chris Castillo.

Castillo is just one of a number of viewers who sent e-mails to Eyewitness News complaining of cyclists on the road.

Around the city and online, cyclists can be seen going through stop signs without stopping.

"I want to make sure that I'm being a good driver for them but I feel that they don't necessarily want to make sure that they're being a decent cyclist for me," said Castillo.

Viewers say cyclists have cursed at them and threatened them sometimes on the road. Cyclists complain cars don't give them enough room.

The California Vehicle Code says cyclists have all the rights and also the responsibilities of vehicle drivers. I asked one cycling group about that.

"The responsibility should not be switched over to the cyclists but really taken on by the motorists," said Aurisha Smolarski, communications director of the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition.

What does Smolarski think of a cyclist who breaks the law?

"Cyclists also need to follow the rules of the road but when they don't, the repercussions are not deadly," said Smolarski.

The Los Angeles Police Dept. says that's not an excuse for breaking the law.

"They are required to obey all traffic laws, go with the flow of traffic and stop for stop signs, stop for red lights, and be conscious of the traffic around them, because vehicles don't usually see the bicyclists," said Lt. Lydia Laos from the LAPD Central Traffic Division.

Riding on the sidewalk is legal, but cyclists have to defer to pedestrian traffic.

Many cyclists do obey the law. We found many in downtown L.A. stopping at all traffic lights and using the designated bike lanes.

"In reality, everybody's got to share the road," said Castillo.

Cyclist or motorist, a little courtesy from all of us might make things a bit more pleasant.

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