To the editor:
This is in response to Mr. Walker's letter on July 30. I agree that cyclists should use common sense when riding, and try to stay as far right as possible, and ride single file where a motorist's sight might be limited.
At the same time, Section 131 (c.) of the Standard Traffic Ordinance for Kansas states that "Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles." This means it is legal to ride two abreast on the county roads. Kansas law also states: It is the responsibility of the automobile driver who comes upon a slower bicyclist to safely pass the bicycle in the same manner as he would pass another vehicle.
My husband and I have had motorists purposefully see how close they can get to us while passing. We have had motorists swear and yell at us for no other apparent reason except that we are on a bicycle. Is it that much of an inconvenience to pass us as it would be to pass any other slower-moving vehicle? I don't feel inconvenienced when I'm passing cyclists in my car.
I've heard people ask why cyclists don't use the trails or paths to ride on. I would say that a lot of recreational and mountain bikers do use the trails and paths. Most of the cyclists you see out on the roads are competitors or long distance enthusiasts. They range from triathletes to road racers. They ride road bikes, which are not built to ride rough trails, or gravel roads, or to absorb the shock you encounter when riding across cracks and curbs on some paths. They are lightweight and built for speed. Most riders on the roads are training for competition and seek terrain, riding surfaces, and distances conducive to training for their sport.
I hope reading this helps non-cyclists to understand and appreciate the sport of cycling a little better. And hopefully Mr. Walker will realize that accusing the entire cycling population of being "ignorant and arrogant" is not a very fair statement. Not to mention the threatening statement about the cyclist's "undeserved safety."
At the very least, both cyclists and motorists should have a respect for each other, and be willing to make adjustments to make sharing the road a little easier and friendlier for everyone.