Fight For Your Right To Party!

> Baltimore, Md: My boyfriend was recently side swiped by a car on
> Charles Street in Baltimore. (He is okay.) He was riding with traffic
> on a one way road with parked cars on both sides. He exchanged info
> with the driver only to discover that her insurance would not accept
> fault because he was riding closer to the parked cars and not “in the
> lane.” Can you offer any advice?

Absolutely … This is similar to the rant that I posted here two weeks ago. While bike lanes are advisory in nature they are not mandatory. They couldn’t be. If a cyclist needed to make a left turn, that cyclist should and would be expected to merge left earlier than the end of the bike lane to make the turn. yada, yada. My reading of the driving handbook has bicycles, tractors and segways and anything else in a travel lane being treated as a vehicle that should be negotiated—not run over. That is regardless of the lane markings. If a car hit another because it was driving on the lane marker would that exempt them from paying? You gotta fight that. This issue partly illustrates my point made the other day.

Bike lanes create a confusion in the mind that implies that cyclists need to get over to the right at all times regardless of speed and that notion of “all times” represents a level of trepidation unrealized in real life. On a frequent ride that I take often, I crest a narrow two lane street on a steep hill. Moving over to the right (as we are told to do—”slower vehicles to the right”) gives cars just enough room to squeeze by—dangerously. Sometimes my ability to navigate the road safely is threatened by this reality. It’s incumbent upon me to use my common sense to use the street safely rather than to end up in a ditch because some non-thinking Suburban driver needed to get to the Starbucks fifty seconds earlier than they might make it otherwise.

So, get a lawyer….(and always call the police). In this case, the cyclists I think was doing everything right. Over as far as possible. Get too far over and you’ll get doored. If these were cars, it might come down to who had “position” first, so absolute fault is not “clear” in that the cyclist—in theory—could’ve turned into the car.

So few officials actually ride… I mean, really ride. They have no idea of the shortfalls that exist in this regard. How is that possible?

—Chris Jones

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