Lincoln County News | Newcastle, ME
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 140 Issue 40


home : letters : letters to the editor October 6, 2015

6/19/2013 2:00:00 PM
From the Editor's Desk
By Sherwood Olin

When it came to framing this week's editorial theme about sharing the road, I didn't feel I could talk about it from a distance. I am a cyclist myself. I ride every day when I can and there are precious few other things in life I would rather be doing.

Issues related to sharing the road come up every summer when there are more drivers and riders and walkers out and about than ever.

This week it was brought to the fore by the death of David LeClair, the young man from Massachusetts who was killed at the start of the Trek Across Maine cycling event last week.

Riding a bicycle is a risky activity; coming to grief is not necessarily a foregone conclusion, but there are inherent risks you have to accept if you are going to ride. Those risks range from pulled muscles, on up to perhaps a catastrophic, potentially fatal injury.

For all of the American insistence of consigning bicycles to childhood, bicycles are not toys. They are tools; in some respects the most efficient ever invented.

Speaking broadly, motorists and riders are mutually antagonistic but the fact is both camps have an equal, legal right to the road.

Motorists frequently complain about riders who ignore the rules of the road and they have a point. As a legal vehicle, bicycles are bound to follow the same laws as a motor vehicles and too many riders blow through stops signs, weave in and out of traffic and generally treat the road like their personal race track.

Those people are jerks, but you find jerks in every walk of life.

The other complaint I hear frequently is that riders have no right to the road because bicycles are not the source of tax revenue motor vehicles are.

That's a spurious argument.

Most riders, including myself, own cars and drive them frequently. There is a percentage of riders dedicated to living a car-free lifestyle but they are, I would dare say, an extreme minority, particularly around here.

Legally, bicycles are vehicles with the same rights to the road as a motor vehicle. The rider is supposed to stay as far to the right as reasonably possible, and safety requires.

If the rider's safety is improved by taking the entire lane, then they have the right to do so, with the caveat they move back to the right as soon as it is safe to do so.

State law requires motor vehicles provide a three-foot buffer whenever possible. As a rider, all I want is my three feet.

That's it, really. Everything else is just good manners.

Advanced Search

Contact Us
Email Subscription
Local Online


Lincoln County News
PH: 207-563-3171 | Fax: 207-563-3127
Mailing Address: PO Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543 | Plant Location: 116 Mills Rd., Newcastle, ME
copyright 2015 The Lincoln County News

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved