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Safe bicycle riding in Chatham County

By Amy W. Osborne
Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - I was on Hamlet Chapel Road a few months ago driving along at about 50 mph (speed limit is 55 mph) when I happened to notice what appeared to be a female "serious" bicycle rider on a side street. She was wearing the right clothes, helmet, had a bike, etc. Expecting her to stop at the stop sign, which is a basic traffic control device, I did not think much of it. Imagine my surprise when she did not even slow down but just ran the stop sign, pulling directly in front of me without even looking!

I left skid marks trying not to hit her. Also, once in front of me her top speed was around 20 mph. I don't see how it can ever be good decision-making to pull out at that speed in front of a much faster moving vehicle, whether on a bicycle or not.

What happened to the requirements that these cyclists follow the rules of the road?

What irritates me the most is that they don't have to pass a basic test to be licensed to drive on the roads, have a bike that is safe enough to be registered to use on the roads, or have insurance coverage to pay for damages they cause when they don't follow the rules. There are basically no deterrents for bad behavior other than the possibility of getting injured or killed. Apparently, that is not working in Chatham County.

The right to use the road the same as cars should carry the same responsibilities as cars. Cyclists need to be ultra careful to observe basic traffic rules, especially when using 55 mph roads. Having the right to use the road will not do much good if a person is dead or physically unable to ride because of permanent injuries from an accident.

Also, the lack of insurance coverage leaves car owners with few options other than instituting a civil suit for property damage to their car, or personal injury to themselves or their passengers.

You can contact the State with comments here.

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Safe bicycle riding in Chatham County

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