Bicycles on the Highway — Whose Crazy Idea was That?

by on March 7th, 2015
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I think allowing bicycles on state highways is the dumbest idea in the world. And before you get all up in the air at me, I realize that some people use bicycles as transportation, but still it’s a very dangerous situation. Most of my encounters are with those people dressed in their spandex, so I doubt they’re on their way to the office or doctor. Well, not intentionally anyway. My primary complaint is with people who ride for recreation or exercise and choose to ride on the highways around here.

Here in Mississippi, a law was recently passed which requires that drivers give a bicycle rider a three-foot barrier. Okay, scenario: I’m driving the speed limit of 55 mph and top a hill where I see a bicycle in my lane approximately 20 feet ahead. Where exactly am I supposed to find that three-foot barrier? I don’t think the car coming at me doing 55 mph is going to give it to me. And trust me, the bicycle is definitely not doing 55, so it’s a pretty touchy situation to say the least.

My point is, though, that logically there’s no reason for bicycles to be allowed on the highway in the first place. Skateboards aren’t allowed, and I’ve seen some boogers on those things whizzing by pretty fast. At least a skateboarder has a better chance of jumping out of the way of my 2,000 pound automobile and surviving than the bike rider.

And before you tell me bicycles have the same rights to the road as I do, when is the last time you saw a registration tag on the back of one? My car tag helps pay costs for state highways. In addition, a four-year-old can legally ride a bicycle. Do we want him out there? Before I’m allowed to legally drive my car on Mississippi highways, I’m required to buy a tag, have a drivers license and maintain insurance.

But then again, the law isn’t always logical, is it? I mean, the law allows motorcycles to travel on the highway, but not four-wheelers or lawn mowers. They’re both motorized vehicles. Anyone who thinks a four-wheeler can’t go fast has never seen a kid on a gravel road in rural Mississippi.

Who are these bicycle people that have such strong advocates in the legal system? Does this come from some old law when bicycles were first used where the only competition for road space was a horse and wagon? It may be some antiquated law that just hasn’t caught up yet. That may be it, because I can remember a time not too far back when you couldn’t buy anything plastic on a Sunday around here.

The little town where I live has a sign at the line calling itself a bicycle friendly community. There are bike lanes along many major thoroughfares where riders can ride safely. I definitely don’t have a problem with that. But do they always ride in them? No!

I just think in this day when it’s difficult enough to deal with cell phone users, cars with videos in them and people eating while driving, anything that will help car drivers get from Point A to Point B needs to be in place.


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