How Can Drivers Share The Road With Bikes?

Friday, June 12th 2009, 10:03 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- There may be some things you need to know about Oklahoma's laws when it comes to sharing the road with cyclists.  Whether you're driving a car or riding a bike there are laws to abide by when in each other's company.  Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers say they'll write you a ticket if you disobey and that includes cyclists.

Signs abound reminding drivers to share the road, but how exactly are drivers supposed to do that when it comes to cyclists?

"Well, I think safety in cycling goes two ways. Cyclists need to obey the laws and the motorists need to hopefully just give us a little bit of space and some patience," said cyclist Jesse Boudiette.

Not only is traffic safety a two-way street. It's the law.  Cyclists must obey the same traffic laws as motorists and motorists must treat cyclists like any other vehicle.

"People need to know that if you're driving a car that bicyclists have the same rights to the roadway as motorists do," said OHP Lt. George Brown.

Written laws say cyclists must go the minimum speed limit and signal to turn, just like a car.  But there are some unwritten laws that motorists should use as rules of thumb around bikes like slowing down and giving cyclists space.

"You know there's a specific law on the books that says you can't travel within three feet. I would say multiply that by three. Nine, ten, twelve feet is a good rule," said OHP Lt. George Brown.

Although it is legal for cyclists to share the road, law enforcement officials encourage them to use designated trails like the RiverParks Trails or the Osage Prairie Trails.

Hap Pendley doesn't like sharing the road, especially when it comes to riding bikes with his children.  That's why he sticks to trails.  He and his kids ride the Osage Prairie Trail between Skiatook and Tulsa every week.

"The cars are kind of scary, not paying attention or sometimes they're even aggressive when you're on the road. So, we come here and we can ride for a long ways and feel safe and secure," said cyclist Hap Pendley.

Tulsa has more than 50 miles of bike trails at the RiverParks alone.  But, it is summer time and cyclists are out on the streets.  So, be sure to be aware, be courteous and share the road.