My deepest sympathy goes out to the two cyclists hurt during the Los Angeles road rage incident reported in the Jan. 9 Herald. (“Doctor gets 5 years for road rage against cyclists.”) I hope they both recover with only bad memories.
I admit that I also feel compassion for the motorist involved. I, too, live on a beautiful rural road in Snohomish County that is impacted by recreational bicyclists. Our road follows the river, is narrow and windy with double yellow lines and no shoulders.
Although the speed limit is 35 mph, I am expected to travel this road at 7–10 mph for miles on end behind cyclists. It is very frustrating as there is no other route. Slower vehicles or farm equipment pull over to allow cars to pass, a courtesy not followed by cyclists when they impede traffic. Cyclists wave me on when it is unsafe to pass then yell or gesture obscenities when I continue to follow behind them.
A better alternative than escalating confrontations would be to require bicycles with the ability to shift gears to be licensed. I pay a vehicle license fee for the privilege of using the road so it is certainly not unreasonable to require the same for cyclists. The money collected could be used to add bike lanes that would improve safety for all. Additionally, cyclists who do not obey the laws of the road could be identified by their license number the same as a car.
The safety of roads my neighbors and I use for transportation and commerce is being adversely impacted by the increasing use of these roads by recreational cyclists. If we must share the roads with cyclists, they should also share the responsibility through bicycle license fees.