Tag Archives: bicycle safety

Beware Of Bicyclists. And Bicyclists: Beware!

Our long winter of  nor’easters is over (we hope). Spring is here. Up pop daffodils. Dandelions. And bicyclists.

Westporters are not always great at sharing roadways. An alert — and upset — “06880” reader writes:

My pet peeve is bicyclists in town and their road manners.

Today a guy headed north on Hillspoint towards the old Positano’s and Elviras. As I approached at a distance I briefly tapped my horn. When I came around him I was completely in the other lane, making sure I was more than 3 feet away.

I made a full stop at the sign. The cyclist blasted by me on the right without any attempt at stopping.

I hit the horn to express my displeasure. He offered a 1-finger salute as he weaved around the pedestrians, and ignored the Cadillac trying to turn into Old Mill. Here’s the video:

 

Westport Police are aware of the issue. They say: “Westport is here for everyone to enjoy. Let’s share the road and be courteous so cyclists, pedestrians and motorists can make it safely to their destinations.”

They advise bicyclists:

  • Ride where you are expected to be seen. Travel in the same direction as traffic. Signal and look over your shoulder before changing lanes or turning.
  • Riding more than 2 abreast is against the law, except in designated bike lanes. Those riding 2 abreast cannot impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
  • Wear equipment to make you more visible to others, like bright and reflective clothing. Outfit your bicycle with reflectors, a white front light and red rear light.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Tuck and tie your shoe laces and pant legs so they don’t get caught in your bike chain.
  • Obey all traffic rules and signs. Always give proper hand signals.
  • Always ride with the traffic — as close as possible to the right side of the road.
  • Ride in designated bike lanes when present.
  • Be sure the roadway is clear before entering.
  • Yield right of way to pedestrians.
  • Pass pedestrians and other bicyclists with care by first announcing “on your left” or “passing on your left,” or use a bell.
  • Slow down and look for cars backing out of driveways or turning.

Westport roads sometimes seem like this.

Be Courteous Out There!

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.”

When it comes to biking, no one will confuse Westport with the Netherlands.

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.