Bicyclists are safer when riding on right

To the editor:

The death of young Mary Wilk is a tragedy, but I do not agree with Patricia Spaniol that bicycling on the left side would be safer (letter, Aug. 4). Pedestrians can quickly step aside to avoid a collision and are safer on the left. Bicyclists move much faster than pedestrians, and a sudden move to the left — over a curb, onto loose gravel or onto a rough shoulder — could easily result in a loss of control and subsequent injury.

Another consideration is intersections. Automobile drivers stopping at an intersection look to their left for approaching traffic before making a right turn onto the other street. While we may agree that drivers should look both ways, many drivers taking a right turn at a stop sign don't even come to a complete stop, let alone look to their right. A bicyclist approaching an intersection on the left side of the road would be vulnerable to cars making a right turn into their path, with no time to react.

Side-view mirrors are available for bicycles and bike helmets. I use one on my handlebars to help me stay aware of cars coming up behind me.


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I was taught to walk on the left and ride on the right. A childhood of riding on the right in city streets taught me how to deal with traffic and prepared me to drive an automobile safely.

Jimbo Doucette, Dalton