Opinion: Tahoe-Truckee motorists need to exercise caution around cyclists
July 14, 2015
In a Sierra Sun Letter To The Editor on July 6 by Jamie Brimer, "Bike riders, not motorists, are the problem at Truckee-Tahoe," the writer exhibits a prejudicial view of cyclist. That type of thinking can be deadly to cyclist
The bicycle rider a motorist runs off the road and kills, injures or just terrorizes is someone's friend, someone's son or daughter, someone's husband or wife, or someone's father or mother.
Cycling is a recreation well suited to an alpine environment like Truckee. It's a fantastic form of exercise that's easy on knees and backs. It provides inexpensive environmentally friendly transportation for short trips.
More than 43 million Americans say it is their favorite outdoor activity. Only running and fishing are more popular in this country as an outdoor activities.
Many motorists in Truckee drive at excessive speeds, use mobile phones and text while driving, roll through stop signs, blow through traffic lights and drive while intoxicated on alcohol, prescription drugs and illegal drugs. These violations can and do kill and injure others.
Some cyclists roll through stop signs and do so at their own peril. Cyclists ride on the white line to be more visible and to avoid parked cars, road debris and cracks and potholes at the roads edge.
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They ride two abreast, making them more visible to motorists. Furthermore, it's more efficient and it's legal (there is no requirement in California for riding single-file) and takes less time for motorists to pass.
The recent USA Cycling National Championship road races in Truckee attracted more than 1,200 participants, plus family, friends, officials and support staff. This event included categories for kids under 10, all the way to world-class elite riders.
These cyclists came from all over United States to race and train on the roads of Truckee. The economic impact of this event was in the millions of dollars for Truckee. It also brought a spectacular Sunday afternoon of free racing entertainment to the streets of downtown Truckee.
Yes, motorists may need to take a few seconds out of their day to exercise caution around cyclist using the roads. Motorists must do the same when slow drivers insist on driving in the left lane on I-80.
Motorists must also do the same for road construction, pedestrians, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, lost tourist, snow removal, and building trade contractors clogging the roads.
If you're driving a car or truck, you are protected by seat belts, air bags and the mass of literally tons of metal. If you are riding a bicycle, your only protection is a Styrofoam helmet and the humanity of the motorist passing by.
Douglas Gonda is a Truckee resident.
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