Drivers must share roads with more cycling commuters

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Have you noticed how many bikes there are on the roads these days? What about the sidewalks? It seems as if more and more people are using their bikes as an alternate form of commuting. I?ve seen enough people in suits riding their bikes that I think it?s a trend. This is a good thing and a potential problem.

Too many drivers are not thinking in terms of dealing with bikes on the roads and aren?t prepared to give them space. This results in a lot of close calls and seems to be creating an adversarial relationship. Drivers need to remember that even though roads were designed with cars and trucks in mind, there is nothing illegal about riding a bike on the roads as well. Bike riders need to remember that they are subject to the same laws as vehicles ? including stop signs and traffic signals. Bikers also need to share the space with pedestrians, especially those in crosswalks.

The increase in bike-riding is great. We just all need to figure out how to get along out there.

Reader solves road-paving mystery

It turns out that I?m not crazy after all ... well, at least in one regard. In several columns over the summer, I bemoaned the fact that contractors for the State Highway Administration go out and mill down the road surface and then wait weeks before paving. Why, I asked, can?t they just do it all at once? This would eliminate the rough road with its potential for problems when drivers might lose control and, at the very least, reduce the chance of catching a pebble in the windshield.

I heard from Bill, who sounds as if he knows what he?s talking about: "You are ?Dead On? in your article.

"As a former state highway inspector and later Area Engineer for this District (4), I can tell you that the solution for this situation is so simple it will confound you. Almost all of this work is done under contract and as such is bid on under the proposal for the same. Under such proposal there exists a section called the ?Special Provisions.?

"By simply adding the provision, ?The overlay will be performed in one continuous operation by first milling; tacking; then overlaying that portion being done and completed with temporary markings before reopening to traffic.?

"This is necessary for the project inspectors to so enforce it."

If this is true and if it does not add significantly to the cost (Bill makes no mention or implication of a cost increase), then I implore the state to explore this option or provision on all of its future contracts for resurfacing roads and highways. Leaving the road surface rough and with vague or nonexistent lane markings is a safety hazard that we shouldn?t have to put up with. Of course, if there is a valid reason why this can?t be done, I?d like to hear that as well from the folks at SHA and would be happy to print it in this space. (Insert picture here of me stepping off my soapbox.)

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