Bike Week Los Angeles has seen any number of ways to encourage and celebrate biking for recreation and transportation. Tomorrow is national Bike to Work day. It is a fine time for motorists who cannot or choose not to participate directly in Bike Week to refresh their understanding of driving laws as they pertain to bicycles.

The most basic thing that riders and drivers should keep in mind is that bicycles are vehicles like any other. They have the same right to the road as any car. They have the same responsibility to operate their vehicles in accordance with road signs, traffic signals and the rules of the road.

Of course, being told that bicycles deserve the same respect as other vehicles is not enough. Drivers must spare some thought for bicyclist safety if accidents are to be avoided. Hit and run accidents are a frequent problem in Los Angeles and throughout the state. Hit and run accidents where a bicyclist is the victim are a particular problem. That may stem from the animosity that many drivers seem to hold for bikers.

Safe driving is often as much about mental status as it is about knowledge and experience. If you are frustrated, tired and impatient to get where you are going, there is a good chance your driving will suffer. Bicycles are not the cause of traffic jams. If you are forced to pause for an extra moment to safely get past a bicycle, you will have made up the difference in a matter of feet. If more people rode bicycles, there would be less congestion on our overburdened roads. Bicyclists are doing you a favor. Endangering them with aggressive or thoughtless driving is a poor way to return that favor.

Source: Los Angeles Daily News, “Bike Week kicks off Sunday in Los Angeles,” by Dakota Smith, 8 May 2015

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