Friday, August 29, 2014

License cyclists

    No driver wants to hit a cyclist and no cyclist ever wants to be hit. Educating and licensing cyclists could build on this common ground and improve road safety in our communities as the world becomes ever more crowded.
    No summer goes by in the Sun Valley area that drivers don’t see cyclists riding unsafely or cyclists don’t experience drivers that express a desire that cyclists not ride in traffic.
    Personal preferences aside, cyclists have a right to ride on streets and most highways, but they must obey traffic laws. They may legally ride within a lane of traffic. That’s just one thing about traffic laws and safe operating methods that lots of drivers apparently don’t know.
    On the flip side, some cyclists ride as though they are exempt from traffic laws, not to mention the laws of physics. Some cyclists fail to signal lane changes, zip precariously between cars, ride against traffic, or fail to yield at stop signs when they arrive after another vehicle.
    Idaho licenses everyone from hunters to hairstylists, and cyclists should be no exception. For a small fee, licenses could be issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles or by retailers after cyclists complete a questionnaire. Licensing could achieve the real goal of all the “Share the Road” signs in that everyone would be operating from the same rule book.
    Cyclists and drivers should be required to periodically demonstrate that they understand the rules of the road. Over the years, road and intersection designs change, traffic laws change and everyone who operates vehicles on them should learn and acknowledge the changes.
    If we really want a world in which non-motorized transportation is a good option for commuting and recreation, we must figure out ways for drivers and cyclists to co-exist safely and happily.
    Licensing would be a good start.

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