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tl-w.gif (842 bytes)tr-w.gif (841 bytes)Frank And Fred

In which we note that a bicycle is a vehicle.

I want to get one big point out of the way: a bicycle is a vehicle. Or more precisely: in every one of the 50 states, a bike is legally a vehicle, or a cyclist has the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of other vehicles. This is important!

He's right, guys. I looked it up. And I know what it means, too, buddy.

Good, Fred! Go ahead, tell us all what it means.

It means I can sue anybody who hassles me! I got my rights!

Hmmm... Fred, you've got a talent for looking at things ... well, differently than I do.

Hey, don't worry, buddy, I can teach you. So, what were you going to say?

I guess I was going to concentrate more on the responsibility part of it. But the rights are definitely important. Both the rights and responsibilities can tell us a lot about how to ride, and how to get along with other traffic.

Sounds to me like you're going off on a tangent again.

No, really. I think if you keep in mind that you're legally a vehicle, you'll know a lot about how to ride! You won't make those really serious mistakes some new riders make.

Oh, right, right. Uh - like which ones were those, again?

Well, I've always figured these three are the worst. First, riding to the left of center. Second, crashing stop signs or traffic lights. Third, shooting into a lane of traffic without checking to see if it's clear.

There are other mistakes, of course, but my main idea this month is: If you wouldn't do something driving a car, you probably shouldn't do it riding a bike. You'd never drive a car down the left side of the street, would you? You'd never crash a red light in your car, would you? Don't do it on a bike!

Hey, I see what you're saying. But are you seriously going to tell me you stop for every stop sign every time? Come on man, be real!

Fred, I'll admit that's a hard question. But I honestly think I do stop signs the same as in a car. Some may not be textbook perfect stops, but they get the job done. I do a lot of quick "track stand" stops, feet still on the pedals. And you won't ever catch me really running a stop sign.

Shoot! I won't catch you 'cause you'd be too embarrassed. You're writing about bike safety and all!

You've got a point, I admit. I'll surely be on best behavior. But still, I say: if it's bad in a car, it's bad on a bike. Now there are exceptions, of course - I'll never walk my car down a sidewalk - but it's amazing how well this priciple works. I think it's a good one.

By the way, Fred, there's a good reason for you to be on best behavior this year. Seriously!

What, are you giving demerits or something?

No, but the public is. I always keep in mind that I'm representing all cyclists. When some motorists see a bad cyclist, they think all cyclists are bad. Think about it, Fred. When you ride, you're representing the rest of us on bikes!

... and that can be a scary thought...

What do you mean? What's so scary about me representing people?

Oh, nothing, nothing. Just stay vertical, Fred.

- Frank Krygowski

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By Frank Krygowski








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