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Bikes, runners and motorists and sharing the road

June 22, 2010
Lake Placid News

The Ironman triathlon is just weeks away and there are many athletes already in the area training for the annual event. In addition, there are also lots of bicycling and running enthusiasts along local roadways, which means they and motorists should exercise caution.

    Motorists should be aware of some of the challenges bicyclists face while on the area roads. In many places a shoulder is non-existent and where there is one, it is filled with potholes and sand. Sometimes, cyclists are forced to ride in the middle of the lane simply because the road conditions demand it. Drivers need to be conscious of this fact.

    Cyclists, especially visiting cyclists who may be

unfamiliar with the roads, need to recognize that drivers have places to go and it’s annoying to have to slow down because cyclists ride two or three abreast. Drivers should not be forced to slow down until they can determine that there is no traffic in the oncoming lane and it is safe to pass the cyclist, especially on roads that are very narrow and winding, such as the Wilmington Notch.

    Cyclists who are training for the Lake Placid triathlon need to be aware that how they conduct themselves on the road reflects on the cycling and Ironman community as a whole. This is not just a park or a training ground; people live and work here too and they have places to go. Please be courteous and ride single-file and to the right of the white line whenever the road conditions allow it.

    Also, those cycling should save chatting with fellow cyclists for areas where there is a wide shoulder that allows two to ride side by side without crossing the white line.

    Drivers need to be respectful of athletes using the road and realize that arriving at your destination a few minutes behind schedule by slowing down out of courtesy and safety is far better than the alternative. The bottom line is this: No matter how much of an annoyance cyclists are, a person on a bike is no match for a vehicle. If a car hits cyclist, there is a good likelihood the individual on the bike will be killed. Drivers pulling trailers or boats should also be aware that the object they are towing is likely wider than their vehicle, so they need to give cyclists an even wider margin.

      No cyclist, runner or triathlete wants to be training on the same highways as vehicular traffic. In the Adirondacks, however, there are no bike paths, running paths or even bike lanes. Unfortunately, those same roads are utilized by vehicles, which makes it a dangerous situation.

    Also, everyone should try to be patient and refrain from the urge to engage in a road rage incident. That would be against the North Country Way of Life.

    Please, be safe this summer — whether training for Ironman or simply enjoying a bike ride or run — and give each other some space.

    And remember: It’s always better to be safe than sorry.





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