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Power to the Pedaler



Bicyclists need to stand their ground and don't belong on sidewalks ("Mailbox," Nov. 13); they allow themselves to be cowered into slinking along roadsides, or even be forced into being the sidewalk bad guys, by drivers who've forgotten what rights human-powered vehicles actually have. Look it up. Bicycle riders have the same rights as other public road users. Moreover, those who fearfully ride at the edge of a lane or even chased onto sidewalks only encourage more unacceptable driving behavior.

A summary of pertinent ordinances reads like this:

First (CVC 21200), you have a right to ride on the street. You are not required to ride on the sidewalk (exception: some freeways and bridges).

Where to ride on the road (CVC 21202): Bicyclists can ride wherever they want if they're traveling at the speed of traffic. If traveling slower than the speed of traffic, they can still position themselves wherever in the lane is necessary for safety. Cyclists must ride as close to the right side of the road as safely practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a turn.

Sidewalks (CVC 21206): Individual cities and counties control whether bicyclists may ride on sidewalks.

It's not easy to stand your ground with honking horns and insults. But that's just the thing isn't it? When a majority of cyclists act like second class road users, giving up their ground, it becomes expected of all cyclists to do the same — at their own peril (and to follow, of pedestrians, too). Enough! And even more disheartening, city police and county sheriffs seem to ignore bad behavior toward bicyclists, and may want to have a look at the statutes.

Brian Hewitt, Eureka

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