2 Questions

An alert “06880” reader sent along 2 questions. Though not related, both are interesting. She wants answers, so click “Comments” to reply. Let the games begin.

Westport is a “bicycle friendly town” (or something like that). But these cyclists are not so friendly. I got yelled at yesterday by an old geezer in bike regalia on Hillspoint who said, “why don’t you learn how to drive a car?” after I stopped at a stop sign before driving — very, very slowly — through a large break in the middle of a group of bikers.  It just struck me as funny.What are the actual rules for cyclists? Are they supposed to stop at stop signs?

Also, I wonder why Westport allows door-to-door solicitors. The magazine sellers arrive in the spring and, as a person who works from home, I find it alarming to have someone knock really hard at my door in the middle of the day. I believe that solicitors are not allowed in Norwalk (because a solicitor was cuffed by a police officer in front of my house 2 springs ago for violating the “no soliciting” law in Norwalk.)

Anyway, just 2 things I’ve been wondering about. Thank you!

32 responses to “2 Questions

  1. Elise Russi

    Cyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as autos. However, often special traffic rules are in effect for bikathons or bike races.

  2. ………..and as I was talking with a friend on Soundview Avenue, facing oncoming traffic with my dogs on leads (one of whom was 1/2 way into the street, but no traffic coming at us, a cyclist coming fast from behind—going the wrong way down the street, “GET YOUR DOGS OUT OF THE STREET!” with some hostility.
    I mentioned to him he: had brakes and now all he needed was to use manners. I added he was going down the street the wrong way but he was yelling something else by then.
    My son Steve biked cross country with a group when he was 16 and later led a group of American adolescent cyclists through France. I couldn’t swear to it, but I cannot imagine his being so aggressive and rude. (but then mothers are like that, yes?)

  3. Out here in California Bicyclists are required to follow the same traffic laws as automobiles-but they seldom do and there is great friction between the two factions.

    As to the solicitors-I can remember Dick Leonard’s son coming to our door on Newtown Tpke to sell Encyclopedias as a way to finance his college education and I feel sad when I think of that activity being prohibited. But then again there are no longer Encyclopedias to sell-everything changes.

  4. Old and Grey

    Why would anyone expect bicyclists to be different from many Westporters, rude, discourteous and down and dirty scofflaws. Not all Westporters mind you but many.

  5. David Stalling

    I get so frustrated and irritated with rude, inconsiderate drivers in their gas-guzzling, greenhouse-gas-emitting automobiles while i am being a conscientious, Earth-friendly pedaler. . . Except when I am driving my car; then I wish those pesky, sacramonious bike riders would get the hell out of my way.

  6. Re: Cyclists…
    They’re starting to respond to this in Shelburne, VT….!
    http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120520/NEWS02/120519024/Bicyclists-beware-Shelburne-Police-writing-tickets

    • Old and Grey

      Sounds like a plan…how about nabbing the cell-phone users too. Why have laws if they’re not enforced.

  7. I also don’t get the angst that comes with many of the cyclists on our roads. With the exception of those riding to raise money for charities in organized races, it amazes me how upset the everyday cyclist gets when you pass them in a car or are jogging. These weekend warriors act like they are riding in the Tour de France. Stop taking yourselves so seriously—many people in this town can go buy the fancy bike and cool riding gear. No need to act like fools along with it. Folks have the right to walk, jog, push a stroller, an actually drive on the road.

  8. Terry Vance

    I’m not sure what ‘games’ are expected. The rules for bicycles are pretty simple and are summarized on the local bike club (Sound Cyclists) web site:

    http://www.soundcyclists.com/RoadRules.htm

    The basic guidelines for both drivers and cyclists are ‘share the road’ and ‘safety first’. It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that there are jerks, and reckless jerks,in both groups. I am sorry your 06880 correspondent was insulted by a cyclist jerk. Given the disparity in likely consequences when bikes and cars collide it is not surprising that cyclists have a bit more “angst”, but this is no reason to verbally abuse drivers or pedestrians.

  9. Westporter4ever

    on at least 3 occasions i have been driving down Compo road towards the beach only to happen to catch in my right side mirror a bicyclest hanging onto my CAR!!! and when i roll down the window to say hey get the heck of my car…i’m the one that gets profanities screamed at them…REALLY and yet i’m sure if i had to stop short and had not known the biker was there, i would be to blam for the injuries sustained when I ran him over!!! It’s all about respecting the road…no matter what your driving, riding or peddling!

    • Gary Singer

      Bicycles are required to obey the same rules of the road as are other motor vehicles. If he’s tailgating and crashes into you if you have to brake, it’s on him. The law says every one on the road must maintain a safe distance and be able to brake in case of the vehicle in front suddenly stopping. Re: solicitors, Maybe Westport has a different ordinance, but
      in Weston solicitors may apply for a permit at the Town Hall.

  10. Babette d'Yveine

    Cyclists are “supposed to” follow all traffic regulations. The group on Sunday (if that’s when you had the incident) was part of the Bloomin’ Metric bike rally, sponsored by the Sound Cyclists Bike Club. The cyclists come from everywhere, so it wasn’t necessarily a Westport rider that was so rude to you.

    I passed a number of them and was dismayed by the how many were riding abreast, when they really should to ride single file. Riding abreast is dangerous and can lead to accidents.

    However, it’s not only cyclists who can be rude. Many times when I’ve been biking, I’ve had a car come up to me quietly and blast its horn. The driver then would speed off laughing. That can really be dangerous.

    I’m afraid I don’t know anything about door-to-door soliciting. But you don’t have to answer every knock if you don’t want to.

    • I wish joggers would run in single file too. With our windy roads and poor sight lines, it’s really in everyone’s best interest if they run one by one by one.

  11. An SUV driver on Sunday tried to overtake 100 yards worth of cyclists (a conservative estimate) on Sturges Highway, just before the Long Lots junction, and with oncoming traffic (i.e. me and cars behind). Did she never learn that patience is a virtue? Especially on a sunny Sunday morning?

    (Also, the Sound Cyclists might want to put up a few more signs for the race next year to warn local drivers about the sheer volume of cyclists).

  12. If we still had a working press in Westport, one might want to inquire with the WPD how many moving violations they have issued to cyclists. The WPD is either upholding traffic laws through enforcement or they are not – the truth is in the data. In NYC, police pulling over errant cyclists has become an every day occurrence. A few well placed “cyclists traps” would be welcome in town, and very easy pickings for the WPD.

    • Sound Cyclists has put up hundreds (100’s) of signs for this event. The signs are for the bicyclists to know when the next turn is or to warn of bad/unfavorable road conditions. There is no need to put signs up to warn motorists of the presence of bicyclists on the road. Their presence is self-explanatory. The event was publicized in the local media prior to the event for all to be made aware of it. Permits were obtained from multiple towns. Police were hired to monitor key intersections.

      Rogue cyclists should be treated no differently than unlawful motorists. It’s up to the WPD to enforce the laws. In Sound Cyclists, we are very aware of the enforcement Darien PD has started against cyclists who don’t obey traffic rules. Now please remember, don’t pass a cyclist unless you have AT LEAST 3 feet of clearance on the side between you and the cyclist. This is not just a safety suggestion, it’s the law.

      • Babette d'Yveine

        That’s why I said in an earlier statement that it’s dangerous for cyclists to ride two or three abreast (usually while chatting). I tap lightly on my horn to warn them, but they generally ignore it, which means I have to go way over into the left lane. Maybe Sound Cyclists could stress that their riders should go single file.

        • We do strongly discourage and even prohibit riding two or three abreast on some roads on our group rides. On quieter back roads, it is legal to ride two abreast as long as road conditions permit. However, we are not the only group occupying the road and we cannot control or influence the behavior of all cyclists in town.

          • Babette d'Yveine

            I saw several of them during the Bloomin’ Metric. And even quieter back roads have auto traffic.

            • Thank you for your feedback. The Bloomin Metric is open to anyone who registers. There is no requirement to be a part of our bike club. I don’t know the exact numbers but I’d estimate about 90% of the participants in the BM are NOT club members of Sound Cyclists. And yes, we are aware any road can have auto traffic.

  13. Susan Huppi

    Remember growing up in Westport that rules for cyclists were few. I think now cyclists follow the same rules as drivers of cars–that’s how it is up here in NH! It can be unnerving to have a cyclist side by side with you as your driving-evryone needs to give each other space.

  14. Text me if I'm suppose to make a left at the light

    You’re all kidding, right? They’re on bikes powered by their legs and lungs, and you’re in a two ton vehicle with power to spare. Give cyclists plenty of space and pass them when you have some room. Then take a deep breath and pass on the third Starbucks of the day.

  15. Cyclists have to (for the most part) obey the same laws as drivers. However, this also means that cyclists have as much right to be on the road as drivers. In addition, there is a 3 foot passing law in CT. Personally, I almost always ride solo as I find group riding pretty unsafe unless I’m with a group that I know and trust.

    As many have pointed out though, people don’t just become a&&holes when they get into a car – the same people are probably schmucks on a bike too. Although personally I’m a lot less worried about a schmuck going 20mph on a 20lb bike than a schmuck driving 50mph up my quiet street in a 2 ton SUV.

  16. Sarah Wunsch

    Re Door to door soliciting: the US Supreme Court has struck down local laws that ban door to door soliciting, especially as it involved religious or political canvassing. The solution, the Court said, was for the homeowner to put up a sign saying “No Soliciting,” instead of having the government ban this activity.

  17. Wishes Cyclists Would Be Nicer

    Dear Ms. d’Yveine, et al: Please contact the Selectman’s office and Chief Call at the Westport PD about issues during the Bloomin’ Metric ride (or any others for that matter). Mr. Singer is correct on CT law of a clearance of three feet. But they are permitted to be two a breast, but within those same laws it is expressed that cyclists MUST stay to the right as much as possible. Traffic control devices (stop signs, lights, yield, etc) must be adhered to, again it IS Connecticut law (14-286 CGA). Enforcing it is harder, as in the grand scheme of things; the PD has larger issues to address. I think it was Joe Arcudi who wrote to the Westport News about getting a verbal tirade from a cyclist whom he had the audacity to point out they were not following the law. -WCWBN

  18. 1) “Critical mass” Merritt Parkway! (or post road) anyone with me?
    2) Really people, when was the last time you saw a cyclist texting while riding, or tossing cigarette butts and fast food wrappers off the side of the bike? Riders are discourteous?
    3)If you are driving close enough to a cyclist to hear them swear at you, then you are probably driving too close.
    4) As a former ER nurse, when I hear a call that we are getting in an “auto versus bicycle”, I can usually guess which one is going to be on the losing end of that battle.
    5) It is going to be a nice weekend, why not take the family out for a nice bike ride around the block? Can’t do it because it is too dangerous? Case closed.

    • The attitude that your death defying adventurers on a bicycle somehow A) do not require you to follow the law, and B) eliminate the need for common courtesy is a huge part of the bike/car problem. I get that a cyclist is an instant away from being an organ donor. What I don’t understand is why that realization makes many cyclists more aggressive and antagonistic (and/or dismissive, like G1). I have family members who ride, and I always give cyclists wide latitude on the roads. Rarely, is the courtesy extended or reciprocated from a cyclist. Passing a cyclist on a windy, 2-lane CT road is stressful for even a young/good driver and based on my observation they are the minority around here. Being an inconsiderate jerk is not an effective response for bike or car.

  19. Wishes Cyclists Would Be Nicer

    Dear Gl, Sadly, when one points out to a cyclist about them blasting through stop signs or lights, that is when the cyclist goes “postal” and give a one finger salute or verbal tirade. Explain to us why a cyclist is above the law and they have no need to follow the same laws we all do. One day I was walking at Compo as a cyclist blasted a stop sign (with cars at the intersection) and I said something to the effect of “hey, it is a stop sign.” The biker, festooned in Target Training apparel stopped to talk to me. He said he was the endurance instructor for TT. He felt it was okay to run the stop sign. He was cordial, but I was at a loss as to why stopping would be a bad thing if one is doing endurance training. Wouldn’t restarting from a stop be good for training and strengthening? Maybe not. But if you are representing an organization or business, I would be extra careful to show proper decorum. I appreciated his ability to discuss the merits of following the law without road rage but the end result was the same (cyclists are above the law). Sad but true.

    • Babette d'Yveine

      As several of us have said before, cyclists are required to follow all traffic regulations. That includes stopping at stop signs or red lights, and staying a safe distance from other vehicles. I was also instructed not to make left turns on the bike, but to dismount and walk the bike across the road, but very few cyclists seem to follow it. It’s a matter of my safety, too, and I value my life too dearly to take chances with it.

  20. And this just in, from the Westport Police (Saturday, May 26):

    “At 0936 hrs this morning the Westport Police along with Westport EMS and Fire Department responded to the intersection of Hillspoint and Green Farms roads on a report of a motor vehicle vs. bicycle accident, with reported injuries.

    “Officers found the Bicyclist, collided with a vehicle in the middle of the intersection. The preliminary investigation reveals that the Bicyclist a 62 year old Fairfield resident was traveling southbound on Hillspoint rd and the Motor Vehicle which was being operated by a Westport resident was traveling eastbound on Green Farms road, at the time of the accident.

    “The Bicyclist was treated at the scene by Westport EMS and transported to Norwalk Hospital with non life threatening injuries.

    “The Accident is presently being investigated by the Westport Police Patrol Division.”

  21. Babette d'Yveine

    Somebody didn’t stop at the stop sign. There are four — one on each corner.