Got in my car this morning and the first thing I hear is Michael Gallagher once again going off on cyclists. This time concerning a proposed Florida law that would compel cyclists to always use a bike lane if available and to always hug the far right edge of the road otherwise. Gallahger thinks that this is a good law and followed up by stating that he thinks cyclists are mentally retarded. Nothing like a bit of kindergarten maturity.
Here’s the deal with cyclists opposing the Florida law. Many bike lanes are actually much more dangerous for cyclists than riding in the main traffic lane for one primary reason – they are directly next to parked cars. Cyclists call this the ‘door death zone’. Riding along at even 10 mph, much less 20 or 25, and having someone open their door directly in front of you is not healthy. Most cyclists, myself included, will always ride at least 4’ from any parked cars for this reason.
Hugging the right edge of the road can also be quite dangerous. The debris and pot holes along the edge can cause flats and crashes, mailboxes and street signs can shred skin, and cyclists don’t particularly like hitting runners and skaters. Motorists are also much less likely to see cyclists along the far right edge increasing incidents of cyclists being hit from behind and of cars turning in front of cyclists.
But there are two even worse reasons. The second worst is that telling cyclists to hug the edge of the road will also cause them to swerve back and forth between the edge and the traffic lane to avoid obstacles. And the worst is that motorists will expect all cyclists to always hug the right side of the road and will not be expecting them in the traffic lane where they must sometimes ride.