Cyclists, drivers need to respect each other

I enjoyed Durango Police Lt. Ray Shupe’s column about cycling rules (Herald, Aug. 11). As a frequent cyclist, I appreciate both riders and drivers learning how better to cooperate. There is a point in the article that troubles me, though. He says, “Ride on the paved shoulder whenever possible.” The word “possible” may seem harmless enough, but to some it may mean that if there is any physical way for a bike to be on the shoulder, that’s where it belongs. That is neither the language or intent of the state law. See quotes from the law below:

(I) If the right-hand lane ... available for traffic is wide enough to be safely shared with overtaking vehicles, a bicyclist shall ride far enough to the right as judged safe by the bicyclist to facilitate the movement of such overtaking vehicles unless other conditions make it unsafe to do so.

A bicyclist shall not be expected or required to:

(I) Ride over or through hazards at the edge of a roadway, including but not limited to fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or narrow lanes; or

(II) Ride without a reasonable safety margin on the right-hand side of the roadway.

I would prefer to ride clear of vehicular traffic. In reality, I’m often in the vehicle lane as a result of one or more of the following: gravel shoulder, broken paving, stones from dump trucks, broken glass, car parts, trash cans, sofas, appliances, runners, people pushing strollers, dogs, bears, illegally parked cars, instant spray-on gravel washboard on county roads, etc.

The law clearly defines what the rider has a right to expect on public roads, and allows them some latitude to make a safe judgment. This is providing, of course, that they do not abuse said rules, as is also the case with drivers of vehicles. The end point is always the same: Cyclists and drivers need to respect each other’s place on the road for their mutual safety and enjoyment.

Bruce Williams