Share the Road, Please!

by Steve Niebler

Our aging population, high gas prices, COVID, the explosion of ebikes and other reasons have led to an increase in the number of bicycles on the roads across the country and here in Adams County. Cars, bikes, runners, walkers and others have been in conflict on the roads for a long, long time and that’s not likely to change anytime soon unless we all agree to try to get along. We all need to share the roads in a respectful and courteous manner.  

Riding a bike on the streets requires those on bikes to practice some basic rules of the road that other vehicles must follow. These include:

  • Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb.
  • Cross at intersections. When you pull out between parked cars, drivers can’t see you coming.
  • Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalks, stop at STOP signs and follow traffic signals just like cars do. 
  • Ride on the right-hand side of the street, so you travel in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic.
  • Use bike lanes or designated bike routes wherever you can. (Also, join Healthy Adams Bike and Pedestrian Inc. (HABPI) in their efforts to develop local bike paths.) 
  • Watch parked cars, doors can open suddenly.
  • Ride single file on the street. 
  • When passing other bikers or people on the street, always pass to their left side, and call out “On your left!” so they know that you are coming.

Wear bright clothes and put reflectors and lights on your bike. This helps other people on the road see you. And if they see you, that means they’re less likely to run into you. Earbuds and headphones are cool but should never be worn while riding on the street. They will keep you from hearing an on-coming vehicle.  

And, for those in cars, SHARE THE ROAD, PLEASE!  Blowing your horn at a bike rider is not only rude but dangerous as it may startle riders. Bike riders usually know you’re back there and most use a mirror to check behind them, especially since  electric cars can be pretty quiet. Poor road shoulders and other traffic may keep bikes from getting over to allow you to pass. Waiting a few seconds and simply being patient may save a life. The few seconds that you save in zooming by a bike rider may cause either that rider or you to have a serious accident. Waiting until the “coast is clear” and pulling widely around the biker on the left will keep us all safe. 

According to the law in Pennsylvania, vehicle drivers are required to give a four-foot space between their vehicle and a bicyclist. They can also pass on a yellow line IF they slow down and wait until there are no on-coming vehicles. Sadly, many drivers appear to be unaware of this law. 

Bikes and cars will need to get along in the future as we experience more energy-related expenses. Cooperation and respect for each other is the key to safety for all of us. 

Steve Niebler is a life-long resident of Adams County and a long-time HABPI Board member. He is very active in the community & thinks everyone should exercise.