Sharing the road still too difficult for some

Especially with the Lake Placid Ironman last weekend, I can't help but notice all of the bicycles I've been seeing out on the road lately. It brings to mind a couple of concerns I have, both with the people who ride them and the people who ride by them. When it comes to experienced cyclists, I have few gripes. Some are more assertive about their right to the road than others, but generally I find they do their best to stick to the shoulder. They always have helmets and generally submit the right-of-way to motor vehicles in appropriate instances. If anything, I feel sorry for them having to put up with the ignorance of some drivers who don't respect their right to the road. As a person who was regularly commuting to work by bicycle not too long ago, I can attest to the huge difference it makes when drivers take caution when passing a cyclist. It's frightening to watch the audacity people often take in passing cyclists on state highways without slowing down or yielding part of the lane. It's not only rude, but dangerous, and a poor way to treat cyclists, many of whom come from out of state to stay in our hotels and eat at our restaurants. On the flip side, there are many riders, especially teenage boys, who have no business being on the road. Despite helmets being mandatory for anyone under 14, there are too many young people riding without them. On my daily commute from Elizabethtown to Lewis, it's been all too common to see youth riding without helmets, often on the wrong side of the road, with little regard for traffic laws. It doesn't take an accident with a motor vehicle for a helmetless rider to get seriously injured or even killed, so it surprises me that our ever-present law enforcers aren't doing more to crack down on this behavior. Granted, it may seem silly for a squad car to pull over a kid on a bike, but if that's what it takes to save a life, I'm all for it. Matt Bosley is the editor for the Valley News and Tri-Lakes Today newspapers. He can be reached at 873-6368 x216 or matt@denpubs.com.

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