Get cyclists off highways

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Reading the article about Claire Van Ekdom winning after a hit-and-run on Furys Ferry Road (“Teenager prevails year after mishap,” June 21) – and its reference to Army Maj. Matthew Burke, M.D., who died after being hit while riding a bicycle – points out to me the unnecessary danger of allowing cyclists on high-speed, two-lane roads.

We already acknowledge that cyclists and high-speed traffic do not mix by forbidding them on interstates and other controlled-access highways, yet we seemingly encourage them on the most narrow and winding of our roads.

The problem lies in the vast speed difference between these vehicles. I regularly encounter packs of cyclists on Ga. Highway 28 and U.S. Highway 221 going to the lake. Luckily, I have not had the ultimate misfortune of striking one, but the scenario is indeed frightening.

If I am driving a motorhome or semi-truck and come around one of the numerous blind corners on those routes to find the road blocked by six to 12 cyclists nearly stopped in my lane, only fortune will save them if the oncoming lane is filled with opposite traffic. No amount of whining about their “right” to use the roads will overcome the laws of physics.

The laws that gave bicycles equal access and standing to use our highways are a legacy of the 1900s, when the cars of the time were nearly equal in speed to the cyclists. Relying on legal fiction is cold comfort to the widows and parents of those maimed and killed by these frequent and predictable encounters.

Our legislators need to change the laws and restrict bicycle use to those roads with speed limits of 45 mph or lower, or those with dedicated bicycle lanes.

In this era of cell-phone-blabbing bubbleheads in SUVs and other distracted drivers, this is one set of tragic deaths that can be stopped by commonsense laws.

Johnnie Poole

Augusta

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desertcat6
1140
Points
desertcat6 06/24/12 - 01:45 pm
7
9
Or we could just slow down to

Or we could just slow down to the posted speed limit, obey traffic laws, and simply pay attention to vehicles, cyclist and walkers outside the car/truck/suv we're in. I'd bet we could reduce all traffic fatalities in our little corner of the world, and change the bike unfriendly perception of the CSRA to one that is friendly.

Riverman1
103464
Points
Riverman1 06/23/12 - 05:03 am
9
2
I'd phrase it differently.

I'd phrase it differently. Let's build more bike paths to get them off the highways.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 06/23/12 - 06:02 am
8
5
where would you have them

where would you have them bike, Johnny? In your driveway?

I don't know how other countries seem to manage the co-mingling of bikes and cars so well.

Like riverman says, cyclists need bike paths or limited access motorvehicle streets that double as bike paths as alternative routes. Heck.. Even a wider shoulder would be somewhat nice.

Bike paths should be convenient and actually go somewhere. Trails that meander around scenic routes are nice, but some use bikes to commute. Esp. when public transit in certain areas is lacking.

agustinian
811
Points
agustinian 06/23/12 - 06:07 am
6
8
Blind Corner

How 'bout you slow down on a blind corner? It's not just cyclists you could run into. It could be backed up traffic, construction, broken down car, a deer, a fallen limb ---

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 06/23/12 - 06:09 am
10
4
I agree with the letter

I agree with the letter writer; it is not that we dislike the bike rider. I too have a bike at 61 years of age, and have been riding regularly since high school, but have better since than to get on a busy highway "just because I can". I am afraid that this debate will go on and on.........I also disagree with the "building bike paths" idea, unless local police are going to ticket those who ride outside of designated paths. If not, it is only a waste of taxpayers money for something that won't be utilized.

desertcat6
1140
Points
desertcat6 06/23/12 - 06:09 am
10
2
Bike paths/lanes cost money

Bike paths/lanes cost money and adding bike lanes to new roads increases cost by at least 1/3d. In other words its an investment that has worked well in many urban areas.

Techfan
6464
Points
Techfan 06/23/12 - 06:41 am
7
6
What is need is a maximum AND

What is need is a maximum AND minimum speed limit on roads. For any vehicle that can't maintain the minimum (there are tranport vehicles that can't), require signage and flashing lights. One question I have is: if bicycles, which can't keep up with the flow of traffic, are legal can you ride say, your lawnmower, 4 wheeler, go cart, or skateboard down the road legally as well? For that matter, are you allowed to walk down the center of the road? My suggestion is to tax, license, and require tags for bicycles and use the funds solely for adding bike paths.

Linthead
8
Points
Linthead 06/23/12 - 07:21 am
4
8
"No amount of whining about

"No amount of whining about their “right” to use the roads will overcome the laws of physics." -Johnnie Poole

Mr. Poole...the law of physics can be controlled by your brake pedal and your sense of humanity.
Perhaps you should spend a little less time indoors on your flight simulator and more time talking to these people who you say have no business on the road, then maybe you'll begin to have some compassion for those who are out trying to improve their physical/mental well being instead of sitting behind a computer contributing to the obesity problem that is prevalent in America.
Does it matter to you that some of those cyclists you see on the road are disabled competitors training to compete in the Olympics?
Does it matter to you that some are Doctors, Lawyers, Preachers, Mothers, sons, etc...?
Why is it so hard to slow down for just 1 minute or less until the coast is clear?

Blah blah blah...isn't this horse dead yet?

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 06/23/12 - 07:26 am
1
7
I'd like to see the

I'd like to see the statistics of people cited for violating "minimum speed" rules vs. speeding, soapy. Roads are there for everyone's use. Even, yes, cyclists. No, just because you drive a car does not mean that you alone own the road. Gas taxes only pay for a portion of that asphalt. Even then many bikers have cars too so that argument is moot. A little more concern, awareness (put down that cell phone/big mac), and patience would go a long way towards creating safer roads. Thank goodness for biking events like the one going on this weekend for raising awareness of biking for health and safety and the boost it brings our stagnant economy.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 06/23/12 - 07:29 am
2
6
if that physics rule truly

if that physics rule truly applied the road would belong to mack trucks and hummers. immature thinking, indeed

Little Lamb
51833
Points
Little Lamb 06/23/12 - 08:45 am
8
0
What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

If texting while driving is illegal, they need to make texting while cycling illegal, also.

burninater
10573
Points
burninater 06/23/12 - 08:57 am
1
3
.

.

Boudreaux
136
Points
Boudreaux 06/23/12 - 09:10 am
10
3
I can't ride an atv on the

I can't ride an atv on the road, I can't ride a horse on the road, I can't ride a dogsled on the road. Why can a bicycle be on the road? I don't see the government building atv trails beside the road, it's up to you to find a place to legally ride, so why noy bicyclists? If I do get on the road on a atv and get hit everyone says "he shouldn't have been on the road" but if the same happens to a bicyclist it's completely different. I don't understand the logic.

Gary Ross
3347
Points
Gary Ross 06/23/12 - 10:14 am
7
3
There is no logic

Roads are designed for motorized vehicular traffic. Sidewalks are designed for pedestrian traffic. A cyclist, who is somewhere in between, should find and ride bike lanes or trails which are designed for their use. If their favorite road does not have a bike lane, the rider should write his or her congressman or local authority to get one installed.

I know. That's like talking to a brick wall. I've been trying to get a sidewalk put in on a busy local community road for years, of which pedestrians have no where else to walk but on the road surface itself. The scene is really scary when they push baby carriages and have a small flock of toddlers following. This road is also a favorite for large number of cyclists who seem to care less about motorized vehicles coming up behind them. Unfortunately it probably takes a minimum number of deaths to justify the cost of a sidewalk or bike lane.

Accidents happen, and they happen more often when you mix variables like this.

Gary Ross
3347
Points
Gary Ross 06/23/12 - 10:18 am
5
2
What's the answer?

Go back to the commen sense rules of look both ways before crossing the road, and never play in traffic.

Bizkit
39623
Points
Bizkit 06/23/12 - 10:36 am
3
6
The arguments against

The arguments against bicycles on the road would equally apply to motorcycles. Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle offers little protection and a run in between a car and motorcycle is equally deadly. But this is America and both "bikes" have a right to use the highways. You have a right to complain about it but they have a right to ride-as the laws now stand. So there is a little inconvenience with cycles and their events but so with parades, etc. Let freedom ring-we should celebrate that we have the choice.

swcohen
628
Points
swcohen 06/23/12 - 12:49 pm
2
11
Augusta attitude strikes again

Shame on the letter writer for trying to stir up controversy where there really shouldn't be any, and shame on The Augusta Chronicle for printing a letter such as this while our community hosts a major bike competition.

Gosh, let's do everything we can to discourage these visitors from returning, or worse, wanting to move here. (Them weirdo cyclists - prob'ly all democrats!)

Most other communities encourage cyclists, runners, and hikers with safe and convenient lanes, paths, and trails. Some cities call themselves "bike friendly," and it's a point of pride, touted on web pages and brochures.

Not Augusta, though. We just have to be hostile to everything. This city's like a crusty old man, sitting on his porch all day, grumbling about everybody out there having fun.

I'll tell you, when my contract is up, I'm loading my bikes into the van and moving back to The United States.

'Till then, though, please try not to mow me down as I *temporarily* borrow the right-most 14" of your highway for my ride to work. Thanks in advance.

KSL
158100
Points
KSL 06/23/12 - 01:25 pm
5
4
Sounds like a win win

Sounds like a win win situation to me.

itsanotherday1
51183
Points
itsanotherday1 06/23/12 - 01:31 pm
5
5
desertcat

The cost for bike lane adds 20% to the cost, even less than you thought. For all of the anti-bike folks; are you willing to spend a little more tax money on bike lanes? I am. This is a situation you might as well get used to; biking is becoming more and more popular and fortunately some cities are well ahead of the curve in being bike friendly. Of course, Augusta is usually well behind the curve in everything because of backwards, or at least not forward, thinking people.
We should promote biking, hiking, and other healthy lifestyles; it saves us all money in the long term.

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/23/12 - 01:57 pm
8
1
With all due respects

I think that many of you have misread what the letter writer is saying. I see no hostility toward bike riders in his letter. Maybe the comment about them "whining" would have been better not said but other than that I think he has a honest concern about their safety and dreads the day that he might hit someone on a bike. From my own observation he is right about the danger they put themselves in when they ride on a high speed highway. We all know that if the speed limit is 55mph that most cars are traveling 65 to 75mph. It is a dangerous situation , one that needs to be dealt with.

Craig Spinks
818
Points
Craig Spinks 06/23/12 - 01:51 pm
3
4
(D)esertcat,

Cycling, hiking and side-walking take effort, produce fatigue, and remove Fatso from his/her climate-controlled abode, recliner, high-fat and -sugar snacks, TV and remote control.

You're sure asking a lot of Fatso.

harley_52
29531
Points
harley_52 06/23/12 - 02:18 pm
2
5
"I can't ride an atv on the

"I can't ride an atv on the road, I can't ride a horse on the road, I can't ride a dogsled on the road. "

Well, one solution would be to build special paths for each of them.

harley_52
29531
Points
harley_52 06/23/12 - 02:35 pm
8
1
"Bike paths/lanes cost money

"Bike paths/lanes cost money and adding bike lanes to new roads increases cost by at least 1/3d. In other words its an investment that has worked well in many urban areas."

An "investment," you say.

There is no shortage of "investment" ideas for governments at all levels.

It's no wonder they're mostly all going bankrupt.

What percentage of the population rides bikes on highways and/or busy city streets?

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/23/12 - 02:55 pm
6
1
swcohen wrote

I'll tell you, when my contract is up, I'm loading my bikes into the van and moving back to The United States.

We will miss you

Bizkit
39623
Points
Bizkit 06/23/12 - 03:09 pm
1
9
We should be applauding

We should be applauding people for being concerned about health -both physical and mental with bike riding, and the environment. Biking is also a sport that draws people to the area. But Oh No ya bunch fascist wanta run em off the road. Gee Willikers! How about pedestrians yall feel there should be an open season to run em over too?????

harley_52
29531
Points
harley_52 06/23/12 - 03:12 pm
6
2
"For all of the anti-bike

"For all of the anti-bike folks; are you willing to spend a little more tax money on bike lanes? I am."

Honestly, I'm not sure what it takes to be considered one of the "anti-bike folks."

I'm not convinced it's reasonable to expect 100% of the population to cheerfully pay an extra 20%, 33% (or whatever it really is) for their road and bridges construction costs just to accommodate the small percentage of the population who believe they should have special paths for their hobbies/exercise routines.

I have absolutely nothing against bike riders. My son-in-law is a bike rider. I love him dearly and I have nothing against other bike riders. I'm sure many of them are fine folks. I'm not convinced it's a wise "investment" of tax dollars and if that makes me "anti-bike" in somebody's mind, I suppose I'll just have to live with it.

Fiat_Lux
17534
Points
Fiat_Lux 06/23/12 - 03:45 pm
9
0
I love my bike!

It was custom made, imported from England, and the first really expensive thing I ever bought myself. I've had it since I was a college sophomore. It has thousands of miles on it and I would love to ride it to work every day, weather permitting, but I can't.

Unlike Savannah was when I lived there, Augusta doesn't have reasonable alternative routes from most of the 'burbs into town. It's just too dangerous on Augusta's roadways to be a peddling commuter. No matter how much I would love to ride, my family needs me to be alive and functioning for the long haul.

I wish we could have a local option tax that funded bike paths and/or designated bike routes, and decent public transit as well. We'd all be a lot better off.

harley_52
29531
Points
harley_52 06/23/12 - 03:53 pm
5
1
I don't know how you go

I don't know how you go from....

"We should be applauding people for being concerned about health -both physical and mental with bike riding, and the environment. Biking is also a sport that draws people to the area"....

with which I agree completely. To this.....

"But Oh No ya bunch fascist wanta run em off the road. Gee Willikers! How about pedestrians yall feel there should be an open season to run em over too?????"

Is it possible to love and respect bikers, to admire them for their love of nature and desire to keep themselves in shape and NOT believe we should pay zillions of dollars for special accommodations for them to do those things on busy public roads and streets?

Are you really a "fascist" who "feel(s) there should be an open season" on pedestrians "to run em over too," if you don't want to pay for their hobbies with your tax dollars?

Sheesh.....Isn't there some kind of middle ground for we m.m..m...moderates?

harley_52
29531
Points
harley_52 06/23/12 - 03:56 pm
6
1
"I wish we could have a local

"I wish we could have a local option tax that funded bike paths and/or designated bike routes, and decent public transit as well. "

Here's an idea. Let's get it on a ballot and vote for, or against, it.

Carleton Duvall
6308
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/23/12 - 04:14 pm
6
0
Here is a solution

Because of age I no longer ride a bike for my health. I did for years and would load my bike on a rack on my car and take it to the Greenway in North Augusta. It is ten mile round trip and you meet a lot of nice people who are doing the same thing.When I became bored with the Greenway I would drive out to Columbia County and ride the path along the canal. Here again I would meet nice people doing the same thing. Both of these are safe alternatives to dodging traffic on the highways. There are other places you can ride a bike. These are just two of them

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