Follow the rules

Bicyclists and drivers will get along better by following basic traffic laws

Bicycling has so many benefits, so advocating for riding is a no-brainer. Cycling is a low-impact way to get exercise; it keeps cars off the streets, thereby curbing smog and greenhouse gas emissions; it’s free except for the initial cost of the bike; and getting around on two wheels is simply enjoyable.

What’s not enjoyable is when bicyclists don’t follow the rules of the road, as they are required to do under the law. We see this day in and day out from the CN&R’s office at Second and Flume streets. Bicyclists routinely ride the wrong direction down East Second Street, a one-way street between Camellia Way and Broadway. It’s a dangerous thing to do for obvious reasons. Drivers don’t expect traffic to come from the wrong direction. In other words, this practice is a collision waiting to happen.

Another no-no that occurs quite often in the downtown core is riding on sidewalks. It’s illegal in this region for a reason. Those are pedestrian pathways and biking on them, like riding against traffic, can easily lead to collisions. Plus, it’s rude.

We also encourage bicyclists to stop at stop signs, which is another basic traffic law. Assuming the driver of a car is going to let you breeze through an intersection is another way to get seriously injured.

While we’re on the topic of following the rules, this extends to those on four wheels as well. Like it or not, bicycles are considered vehicles. So, sharing the road is not only the safe way to go, it’s also the law. When a cyclist is riding in the middle of the road for safety reasons, don’t speed up and pass by dangerously close. Wait for the rider to reach an area where there’s plenty of room to pass.

In general, we urge using common sense. There are certain streets in Chico that aren’t easily and safely traveled by bicycle. Avoid them or ride on the sidewalk where legal. Simply put, be respectful and safe and have fun.