Bicyclists should have different road rules

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Bicycles are different from cars, so cyclists need their own rules. This could be very simple — bicycles yield.

Cyclists would treat stop signs and stop lights like yield signs and yellow lights, slowing down to see what's coming and proceeding if safe. When two cyclists meet, the cyclist on the right would have the right of way.

Cyclists could also use sidewalks without disturbing pedestrians. Instead of passing a pedestrian, cyclists would dismount or move to the street, or even coast at a walking pace. If we want to be specific, we could forbid cycling within 30 or 50 feet of a pedestrian, but "no passing" would work as well. This would be safer for cyclists and better for traffic flow.

Let's adopt "bicycles yield" — why not?

Stuart Leitch
Oak Park

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Reader Comments

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Posted: October 21st, 2010 9:59 PM

The general law for riding on the sidewalk is as follows; Cyclists who use the sidewalk must act in the same way as a pedestrian and must give an audible warning signal before passing a pedestrian or group of pedestrians. That is why you put a bell or even a small horn on your bicycle, to give pedestrians an audible warning that you are about to pass them.

Violet Aura  

Posted: October 16th, 2010 9:08 PM

To elaborate: Lake Street is very busy and sometimes I prefer to ride on the sidewalk. I go slow and use a bell. Should be no problem whatsoever! And when I walk my bike, I take up twice as much room on the sidewalk! Grrr! Cyclists and drivers are in different situations and thus should not be held to the same standards. Namaste!

Violet Aura  

Posted: October 16th, 2010 9:05 PM

I completely agree with this. I don't drive; I ride by bike all the time. Some drivers seem to think that I should be on the right side of the road. There are times when I need to be on the other side to go to some store and I don't want to cross the street twice. Why should it matter to the drivers? Always allow that space to the curb. Now if only I could get the memo to the joggers who have decided to run towards me, LOL. I also think that the rule about not riding on the sidewalk is wrong.

Dale from River Forest, IL  

Posted: October 15th, 2010 1:14 PM

Elizabeth, so until the law is changed, cyclists should continue to ignore the law (Ref: Illinois Vehicle Code 625 ILCS 5/11-1502)? This is very dangerous. All drivers must assume that other drivers, including cyclists, are obeying the law. This provides for orderly and safe flow of traffic and was written to protect everyone, including cyclists.

Elizabeth Rexford  

Posted: October 14th, 2010 6:58 PM

Stuart, I agree with your description of reasonable rules for cyclists. This is how real riders ride on a daily basis. We can ride our bikes courteously and responsibly, using your rules! Thanks for the suggestions! I hope they become reality in the future. It's the only sensible way.

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