Letter: Sharing the Road Goes Both Ways

Full disclosure: I’m an avid bicyclist, and I’ve ridden just about every road around Malibu as a result. 

Driving down the other side of Kanan on Saturday at 10:50 a.m., we encountered a line of traffic, impeded by a group of more than 20 bicyclists. These were middle-aged and older riders, and the most inconsiderate group I’ve ever come across. The initial groups riding two abreast were at tunnels two and three, where there is no shoulder. These riders made no effort to get to the right or give way. I would have thought this an anomaly, but for the next group I encountered riding two and three abreast going down the hill, also rode in the road. At the bottom of the hill they were riding four abreast, completely blocking the road and all traffic, until pulling off the road. 

Regardless of the laws, all bicyclists I know recognize that we share the road with imposing and dangerous vehicles that will get the better of us if we, or they, make a mistake, and that challenging them is folly. The rules I’ve seen practiced are simple, and consists of: 

1. Ride in a single file at all times that you can. 

2. Ride as far to the right as is safe, and if possible, ride and stay on the shoulder or to the right of the lane line. 

3. When there is no shoulder or lane line, stay as far to the right as is possible and safe. 

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4. When you must pass, pass as quickly as you can, telling the passed, “On your left.” 

5. Obey all traffic signals, stops and traffic signs. 

6. Leave time and room for opening doors from vehicles alongside. 

7. Never challenge a motor vehicle; you will inevitably lose. 

Using these rules is safe, considerate and it helps make a good name for bicyclists. Not following these rules ruins it for the rest of us, and is inconsiderate and dangerous behavior. By the way, it is illegal for bicyclists to impede traffic and illegal to not ride as close to the right of the roadway as possible. 

Geoff Ortiz 

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