Bicycles have equal right to roadway

Submitted by Austin Waisanen
Posted 11/14/19

Dear Editor:

This is a reminder for people out there that in Wyoming, bicycles are considered vehicles and have equal access to the roadway.

On the way to the Cody-Powell football game Friday …

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Bicycles have equal right to roadway

Posted

Dear Editor:

This is a reminder for people out there that in Wyoming, bicycles are considered vehicles and have equal access to the roadway.

On the way to the Cody-Powell football game Friday night, I was riding westbound in the right side of the right lane of Sheridan Avenue when I stopped for a red light on 13th Street. After a few seconds, a man and a woman pulled up behind me in a 1 ton-truck (much like the several I have owned and paid road taxes and registration for). They were yelling out the window, “Does this look like the f—ing bike lane?”

The answer is yes and you don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to interpret why. Nevermind the fact that Sheridan Avenue has no bike lanes and riding on the sidewalk is forbidden.

In Wyoming, bicycles are vehicles according to the statute that defines vehicles. A person riding a bicycle has all of the rights and duties of a driver of a vehicle (Wyoming Statute § 31-5-702). In other words, bicycle riders are no different from any other slow moving vehicle you might encounter.

They have the same privilege to the roadway and you must pass them safely.

Yes, cyclists have a duty to obey all traffic laws just as vehicles do. And just like motorists, sometimes cyclists can be seen breaking the law. Even if you saw a cyclist running a stop sign, you still have to follow the law and cyclists retain their rights to the roadway. I’m curious how the hoopleheaded drivers who yell at cyclists make it out in real life — a real life in which sometimes you are temporarily held-up and in which you have to respect the other people who live in your community.

I commute an hour-and-a-half every day to my construction jobsite in Crandall, so as an expert commuter and gasoline-burner let me offer a little guide with suggested methods for the hoopleheads and snowflakes who struggle with rage when they see a cyclist:

• You see a cyclist run a red light or stop sign.

Report them to the police and pat yourself on the back for following the law.

• You’re on a rural highway going 70 mph and see a cyclist riding in the highway lane.

You are dealing with a crazy, law-abiding person. State law requires minimum 3 feet clearance for passing. (Wyoming statute §31-5-203) If you feel like being courteous — something we rural people enjoy being known for — go ahead and give more.

• You’re heading down four-lane Sheridan Avenue, you see a bike in the right side of the right lane, yet there is traffic to your left.

Just like when you have a tourist in front of you or an elderly lady or a vehicle going slower for whatever other reason, you might have to change lanes in order to pass them. Is it that hard?

If this is too hard for you, I suggest you move to California or somewhere else where your big-city attitude of disrespect and “I’m in such a hurry” mindset will fit in better.

• You see cyclists taking up more of the roadway than you think they need.

That is just too bad, snowflake. Cyclists are required to keep to the right side of the lane, and may only ride two abreast if it’s not impeding the normal movement of traffic. (Wyoming Statute § 31-5-704) But, here is the clincher: They are allowed to be in the roadway. So in this case, you still have to wait to pass safely, just as you must for other slow moving vehicles.

If this if too hard for you or you just can’t bite the urge to yell profanities, I hear New York City has a great subway system and relative anonymity — you can be a pinhead without worrying I will recognize you next time I see you.

Austin Waisanen

Cody

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