Letter to the Editor

Bicyclists have a right to the road, too

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dear editor:

On Friday, Aug. 20, I was riding my bicycle down 3rd Street East off American Legion, just past Hawleys, when I heard someone behind me blaring their horn.

When I started to turn to see who it was, a lady sped around me in her suburban. I was startled but didn't intend to follow her.

But then she turned down 8th Street North, which happened to be the way I was going. Then she turned down 8th Street East, which is the street I live on. When I rode down 8th East, I recognized her vehicle parked on the wrong side of the street. So I pulled over to ask her why she was honking at me.

Before I could say anything, she called me lots of names that aren't fit for the paper. She told me I wasn't supposed to be riding in the middle of the road, that I was supposed be all the way over to the right, out of her way.

Well, ma'am, you're partly right. Idaho law does require me to ride on the right -- with exceptions. Part of the exceptions is if you're avoiding parked cars, rough road, holes in the road, etc.

I ride that road every day, that stretch of 3rd has lots of holes and very rough road on the edges. I was trying to avoid all that. My bicycle feels the holes and rough areas more than your SUV does.

Also, I have a right to be on the road as much as you do. I hope that getting so angry with me helped relieve some of the stress you were obviously under. Please remember that bicycles do have rights. If for no other reason, if you practice kindness and understanding toward your fellow humans (even those on two wheels) hopefully you will receive kindness and understanding from others someday when you need it.

-- Garry Swatzel