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  Article: Rules For Cyclists

  Author: Brenda Williams

 Cyclists can be almost intolerable to motorists at times. It is no secret that there is a long  standing relationship between cyclists and people who are behind the wheels of cars.  However, over time, hopefully this will be a relationship that evolves into something  healthy and amicable for both parties involved.

Whether or not motorists like it, most laws dictate that cyclists and motorists are to share the roadways together. Different rules apply of course depending on what state, city or county you live in. However, most semi-serious cyclists or those who are traveling too fast for a sidewalk, ride in the roadways WITH traffic. These cyclists are required by law to wear helmets and obey all of the rules of the road as if they were a motorist. This translates into not running red lights and yielding to other pedestrians the same way a motorist might.

Because even the fastest cyclists cannot compete with a motor vehicle, they are required to stay as far to the side of the road as is possible. A cyclist is not allowed to hog a single lane of traffic to themselves, thus delaying other motorists behind them. However, this is obviously not the case if the cyclists are a part of a race that is competing (in which case, the roads would be shut down to begin with). Cyclists must also know the rules of the roadways as well as what hand signals to use. That's right, there are hand signals that a cyclist must know for whenever they want to make a left or right hand turn off of a roadway. Similarly, it is the responsibility of both the motorists as well as the cyclists to know what these hand signals mean so that accidents can be avoided.

There have been a few instances of motorists growing impatient with cyclists and running them off the roads. This is not only dangerous, but it is entirely inappropriate, illegal and may result in the death of the cyclist. If you see any inappropriate behavior either from cyclists and/or from motorists, you should report it right away to your local police department. If you are riding your bicycle at night, you should always wear reflective gear and make sure that your bicycle is equipped with reflectors. These reflectors act as a safety precaution, alerting other drivers to your presence on the road with them. Additionally, you should strive to wear light colored clothing whenever possible. Most professional cyclists that you see on the roads during the day wear unusually bright colors, though this is not done by accident. The bright colors tend to attract attention to the cyclist, thus making their presence known and noticeable among the other drivers on the road.

In recent years, more and more people have begun to dig their bicycles out of the garage or shed and have begun to take to the streets. This is, in part, due to the popularity that celebrities such as Lance Armstrong have brought to the sport. But also, cycling is a fun and relatively easy, effective means of transportation. In this day and age where gas prices have been up and down, many are also finding cycling to be an effective means of transportation when it comes to getting to and from their jobs (provided that they work within easy distance to their apartments or houses). That being said, it is that much more important for motorists and cyclists to be aware of the other since the future looks like the two will be spending a lot of time together on the roads.

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To your cycling enjoyment!


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