2017-07-27 / Letters to the Editor

Drivers need to heed bicycle safety laws

To the editor:

We are enjoying another beautiful summer on Jamestown and it appears residents and visitors alike are taking to local roads in motor vehicles, bicycles, walking and running.

As a regular walker, sometime runner and frequent cyclist on Beavertail Road, I remind all of the Rhode Island bicycle laws. One requirement is that motor vehicle drivers pass cyclists on the left and at a distance sufficient to prevent contact with the person operating the bicycle if the person were to fall into the driver’s lane of traffic. The law then requires the driver to return to the lane of travel once the motor vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle.

The driver may go to the left of the center of a road to pass a person operating a bicycle proceeding in the same direction only if the road to the left of the center is unobstructed for a sufficient distance to permit the driver to pass the person operating the bicycle safely and avoid oncoming traffic in the opposing lane. On our two-lane roads, this usually requires a driver to slow down and wait until the road left of center is clear of oncoming traffic.

The cyclist should ride as near to the right side of the road as practical.

There are other safety factors that are important. Bicycle riders on a road shall not ride more than two abreast except on bicycle trails or paths or parts of roads set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles. Persons riding two abreast shall not unduly impede traffic and, on a laned road, shall ride within a single lane.

I hope this gentle refresher about public safety prompts vigilance, compliance and safer cycling for all.

Pat Thomas
Whale Rock Road

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