Steven Smith: To motorists, cyclists and trai users


A cyclist passes along the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail that cuts across the La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.

File photo
Published: Friday, January 27, 2012 at 5:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 5:03 p.m.

This is to all car drivers, bike riders and pedestrians:

Car drivers: Please, if you pass a bike look behind you before you turn right, whether the bicycle be in the bike lane or on the sidewalk. Try to always use your turn signal, especially after passing a bike and turning right. Never turn right from the left lane or left from the right lane.

As for bikes, I am an avid bike rider and I need to say a few things: First, if you want to use the bike lane you ought to have lights, both head and tail lights that strobe. If you are going to use the sidewalk then you must have a horn or bell to warn pedestrians of your approach.

If you are one of those bikers who complain that people are stopping on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail and not letting you go fast, then try a country road. They are long and peaceful and have little traffic, but it is a road, not a trail. On the trail this is how it works: Horses, pedestrians, bikes. Each one yielding to the previous. So a bike comes in last and a horse first. That is the standard for all trails.

It is true that some pedestrians will try your patience, but that's life, live with it or find somewhere else to ride. The trail is not a road, it is a trail. It's not even a two-track trail with a line in the middle to go by so don't get all high and mighty about things. Use lights in the daytime. please.

There is also the topic of hand signals for bikes. Bikers, if you don't know them, learn them. And for God's sake, if you know them, use them. And if you know them you can start to teach all those kids that ride in the neighborhoods that they are riding on roads and by law must wear a helmet, use eye protection, wear appropriate clothing, ride on the right side of the road, stop at stop signs and use hand signals. We forget to teach our children these things; I think our parents taught us, but in our busy little worlds we forget to look out.

These are all just common sense things but seem to be overlooked all the time. They are safety and security things we forget about every day. Like wearing that helmet that you got for Christmas; get it out of the box and use it.

Steven Smith,

Gainesville

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