Rights, not arrogance
In his Aug. 14 letter, Mark S. Morgan wrote, "There is a fine line between riding a bicycle 'confidently in traffic' and 'arrogantly in traffic.'" I think that view is based on an incomplete understanding of the history of the rights of bicyclists.
In the early 1900s, what later became the Vehicle Code specified that bicycles were vehicles and bicyclists were "operators" of vehicles. When lanes were invented in the 1920s, bicyclists had the right to use them just like other drivers.
But then, in 1963, a new restriction on bicyclists appeared: they had to ride as far right as practicable. The result was that bicyclists lost the right to use a full lane.
In 1975, however, I helped craft exceptions to the "as far right as practicable" law, partially restoring the right of bicyclists to use full lanes when necessary (in particular, for their own safety). Some people, however, still think that bicyclists who use a full lane are being arrogant.
It's not arrogance for any driver, including a bicyclist, to use a full lane when legally allowed. What is arrogance is for another road user to question a bicyclist's right to do so.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Rights, not arrogance.
From the Monterey County Herald, a letter to the editor: