Letter to the Editor: Request to Share the Road

Submitted by Loretta Stacchi

One group of cyclists using Pine Hill. Three rows, three in each row using the entire lane.  At first just myself behind them. By the end by North Road, nine cars had joined me.  Question: is there any reason they couldn’t move to single line to let the cars pass? They were aware we were behind them.  Just saying. 

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Curt Dudley-Marling
November 9, 2023 9:12 am

I’m an avid cyclist and a member of several bike clubs and I regularly do rides with groups of friends.The rule we follow is that we always ride single file in the presence of cars. It is understood that there is nothing to be gained by annoying drivers and that in any confrontation between a bike and a car the car always wins. Riding three across in the presence of cars is inconsiderate and, frankly, dangerous. So I think you’re right to be annoyed.

Aurelia Rose
November 8, 2023 5:36 pm

All of the people commenting are choosing to ignore the letter to get on their own soapbox. The issue here, which I have also seen on Pine Hill and elsewhere, is groups of cyclists who are illegally riding side by side. Yes, many of the roads are not safe for a single cyclist and cars do not often allow sufficient passing but overcorrecting by having groups of cyclists block the road is not a solution. This is entitlement on the part of these cycling groups — no way that is fair sharing.

Frank P Richichi
November 5, 2023 10:41 am

I have been cycling in the area since 1974. I have had several near misses with vehicles over the 49 years. That changed 6 weeks ago when I was hit by a car. I suffered 5 broken ribs. My bike faired worse. The problem is a perception of cyclists as second class users of the roads. Many of the roads can’t safely support concurrent vehicle and cycling traffic. No amount of Benjamin Moore paint applied to roads to make lanes will change that. We need to be respectful and patient with each other. Until we have separate roads for cars and cycles we will need to share what we have.
BTW Finland, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all have dedicated cycling roads.

Catherine Price
November 5, 2023 8:57 am

I regularly cycle on Bedford roads by myself. I stick to the right and have a rear view mirror on my bike so that I can see cars coming up behind and move as far to the right as possible. That said, there is not a single ride whereby impatient drivers who will not wait the 2-3 seconds for the car coming in opposite direction to pass before passing too closely to me, or even worse, cross over the yellow line such that the oncoming car blasts their horn causing them to jerk closer to me. Pine Hill is a prime example of where this occurs most every ride. Yes I understand the complaints about the group riders cycling double and triple, but be honest, in the span of your day or week how much time are you held up by the cyclists? Is my life worth that 2-3 seconds of your time? Patience is a virtue – let’s all be more considerate – cyclists and drivers. Thank you.

November 3, 2023 11:16 am

It’s because cyclists typically feel entitled to the entire road and don’t care about traffic. I’ve seen many being very reckless to the detriment of their safety going through red lights or weaving around cars stopped at red lights. Similar situation to the pedestrians in Cambridge who are looking at their phones and walk right out into the street without checking for oncoming traffic .

Ryan Mantz
November 2, 2023 10:12 pm

I do appreciate the idea of sharing the road and the opportunity to comment on what that means. Passing cyclists on the steep, narrow section of Pine Hill is not safe for on coming traffic or for cyclists. MA law requires 4 feet between a passing car and a cyclist. That would clearly place the passing vehicle into on coming traffic which may not be visible when the motorist attempts to pass slower cyclists. The law also requires passing vehicles to be well clear of cyclists before returning to the right side of the road. Nine cyclists traveling single file would present an unsafe passing situation. Bedford has many narrow roads and few bike paths which require all to share road. As a cyclists, I do remain as far right as I can, with storm grates and road hazards often preventing me from being next to the curb. I’ve always appreciated that MA motorists generally recognize where our roads narrow and keep cyclists safe by patiently waiting for a safe opportunity to pass when a wider road and visibility allow.

Barbara Aldorisio
November 7, 2023 5:36 pm
Reply to  Ryan Mantz

Thank You for your letter Ryan regarding the new State law cars keeping 4 feet away from the Bike rider on the road…My question how do we accomplish that? Babs

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