A Westport mother of 3 — soon to be 4 — writes:
We live by the beach for the reason so many others do: the ability to walk and bike to Compo, the close-knit neighborhood, and the freedom all this allows our children at a young age.
However, what should be enjoyable bike rides with my 3 boys — ages 9, 7 and 4 — is constantly ruined by the rude adults we encounter on our rote.
I have had “serious” bikers yell at my children that they aren’t allowed in the bike lane because it wasn’t on the right hand side of the road.
These bikers are wrong. Yes, one should stay to the right of the road — biking with the flow of traffic — but a review of our state biking laws shows there are more than a few exceptions.
One includes “riding on parts of a roadway separated for the exclusive use of bicycles.”
I’ve been reprimanded by adults walking on the sidewalk for my boys not having bells on their bikes to warn that they are approaching.
Connecticut law demands “an audible signal within a reasonable distance before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.” Apparently my boys saying “excuse me” repeatedly before cautiously passing a walker is not sufficient.
I’ve seen adults be extremely rude to my 4-year-old when he passes them a little too closely. Shouldn’t we applaud a young child riding without training wheels, not make nasty comments? How will he ever learn to bike courteously like his older brothers if I don’t take him out there with me, and teach proper etiquette?
The beach, the sidewalk and roads around it are for all to enjoy. You’d think the adults of this town would be happy to see a pack of little boys enjoying their bikes, rather than sitting home with their heads stuck in iPads.