Bicyclists have as much right to road as cars

Q. Aren't bicyclists supposed to be following the same rules of the road as cars? I drive on Lake Washington Boulevard in Renton and the bicyclists don't stop at the stop signs. They ride two to four abreast and won't move over, causing cars to veer into the oncoming lane.

A. You're right about bicyclists having to follow rules of the road but a little off when it comes to cyclists' rights and drivers' responsibilities, say both King County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Fagerstrom and Mark Canizaro of the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.

"Bicyclists must abide by all the same regulations as cars, except when it comes to equipment," Fagerstrom said.

"The short answer is, cyclists are a legal vehicle and they have a legal right to the road, and they must follow the rules of the road, including stop signs," Canizaro said. But state law says bicyclists can legally ride two abreast.

And drivers should not feel entitled to getting around cyclists with whom they are sharing the road, Fagerstrom said.

"The bicycle is another vehicle on the road, and the vehicle behind it is subject to the same regulations as if it were a car. You're legally required to treat the bicycle as if it were a car," he said. In other words, if you veer into the oncoming lane to get around a bicycle, you're breaking the law.

Canizaro, who condemned bicyclists who don't follow traffic rules, offered this advice for drivers: "Before you go with that instinct to get past, look farther down the road and assess the situation. I often have people blow past me in really dangerous situations."

Early warning

• Both directions of Interstate 405 will be closed for up to 12 hours beginning tomorrow at 8 p.m. This is the first of two weekend closures to demolish the last of the old Northeast Eighth Street Bridge over I-405. All southbound lanes will reopen at 8 a.m. Sunday; northbound lanes reopen at 1 p.m. Traffic will be detoured around the closure by way of the exit and onramps at Northeast Eighth Street.

Northeast Eighth Street will be closed to traffic at 7 p.m. tomorrow and will reopen by 1 p.m. Sunday. During the closure, access to northbound I-405 from Northeast Eighth Street will be limited to one ramp; the westbound ramp to northbound I-405 will remain open.

On the Road appears each Friday in the Eastside edition of The Times.


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