August 7, 2013 |

Bike riders have as much right to the road as drivers

Each year after IRONMAN has left the majestic beauty of Lake Stevens and the Pacific Northwest it seems there are those who are a bit unhappy with the bike course – I mean drivers, not bicyclists.

Each year, here at the Journal, I get one, sometimes two, people who call and complain about the four to five hour period that they may have to take a detour on one of the bike route’s roads.

First, I need to say that I am a huge supporter of IRONMAN. It brings people to our community, which means revenue and business as well. Something every town needs to survive.

Second, if you haven’t actually spent some time down at North Cove Park on IRONMAN weekend, you are really missing out. The athletes and their families bring something with them that is truly palpable. Their energy is contagious.

Also, I love a sport where the athletes are consistently encouraging one another. While they are competitors, most of them are only competing against themselves.

IRONMAN couldn’t be a part of our quaint town if it weren’t for the throng of over 600 volunteers who make this event possible each year.

So, it’s a little disheartening to get complaints about having to detour for bikers or runners or that bikers should give drivers the right of way. It’s only one day of the year people! And an early Sunday morning at that.

I want to share what the Washington Department of Transportation says about the state’s bicycle laws so that everyone understands that it’s not always easy being a bicyclist.

• A bicycle is a legal road vehicle, just like a car. This means that bicycle riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers (RCW 46.61.755).

• Cyclists who violate traffic laws may be ticketed (RCW 46.61.750).

• Cyclists may choose to ride on the path, bike lane, shoulder or travel lane as suits their safety needs (RCW 46.61.770).

So, thanks to all of the police from all over the county for doing such a great job directing traffic and keeping the bicyclists and drivers safe during IRONMAN and please, while it may take you a few extra minutes to get to your destinations, slow down and be patient with those riding their bikes on our roads.

I am sure that you would have a hard time living with yourself if you injured or killed someone because of your impatience.

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