by Jimmy Lee King
Now that Spring is here we’re going to see more and more of those 2 wheeled, crayon-colored bicyclists. Kentucky has the amazing Route 8, that follows the Ohio River on the Kentucky side. The Ohio River valley is gorgeous, which is part of the allure for bicyclist’s. You have the river beside of you the entire time, many times you see wildlife from the road, sometimes having to watch yourself due to deer walking around. It’s most of the time smooth enough to make a nice ride for bicyclist’s. I’ve talked to many bicyclists who have talked about different experiences with motorists. I decided to investigate and share what I found about sharing the road with bicycles and vehicles. What are the legal rules for motorists and bicyclists? Below is listed the exact language used from the Kentucky State Police web site. The goal here is to give everyone an understanding of specific laws for motorists and bicyclists and create more harmony for both on Route 8.
Rules of the Road for Motorists and Bicycles.
RULES FOR BICYCLISTS
- Never use Interstate and Parkway systems for cycling.
- Use hand signals to communicate your actions to other vehicles.
- Obey the instructions of official traffic control signals and signs. Stop at
stop signs and for stop lights just like a motor vehicle.
- Operate a bicycle within posted speed limits or at a rate reasonable for existing conditions.
- Ride a bicycle on the right side of the road with traffic.
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and on sidewalks. Give an audible warning (bell or horn) before passing pedestrians.
- When riding at night, operate the bicycle with a white light visible from the front and a red reflector or light visible from the rear.
- Reflector tape may be used for added visibility.
- All slower-moving vehicles, including bicycles, shall drive as closely as practical to the right-hand boundary of the highway. Extreme caution should be used when moving out into the center of the road to avoid road debris, to pass another vehicle, or to make a left turn.
- DO NOT RIDE ON THE SIDEWALK
- Never park a bicycle on a sidewalk in such a way as to interfere with pedestrian traffic.
- Ride on a bike path adjacent to the roadway, if one is provided.
- Carry no more persons than the number for which the bicycle is designed and equipped.
- Never ride more than two abreast so as to interfere with the normal movement of traffic.
RULES FOR MOTORISTS CONCERNING BICYCLES
A motorist must:
- Share the road with bicycles.
- Before passing a cyclist, look to see if there is loose debris on the pavement that might cause them to move into the center of the lane. Pass a cyclist only when it can be done safely, and give ample room (3 feet) between your car and the cyclist. Realize the air turbulence your vehicle can create at high speeds or in windy weather. Give the cyclist extra room if your vehicle has extended outside rearview mirrors. Return to the lane only when you are safely clear of the overtaken bicyclist.
- Look for cyclists. Because of their narrow profile you will need to develop your eye-scanning patterns to include bicyclists.
- When you are turning right after passing a cyclist, leave ample room so you don’t cut him off when you slow for your turn.
- When opening your car door, check behind for cyclists.
- At night be extra alert and don’t use your high beams, for they will temporarily blind the cyclist.
Remember, bicyclists are not special and privileged. They have the same rights, rules, and responsibilities as all other highway users. One thing that I learned from this is that bicyclists are told NOT to ride on sidewalks. I didn’t know that was discouraged. A lot of the rules here are common sense but it’s good to see the rules in writing and know for sure. Be patient out there and share the road. Be nice to the people enjoying our beautiful Route 8. You can’t blame these bicyclists for loving the beauty of Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley.