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Bicyclists should ‘follow the law’

June 27, 2011
Lake Placid News
To the editor; an open letter to bicycle race organizers and bicycle shops in Lake Placid:

It is time again for those involved in bicycle racing in this area to engage in some serious conduct training sessions with cyclists who have come to train and race on local roads.

My wife and I have already encountered several cyclists riding two or more abreast in defiance (or ignorance?) of the law when being overtaken by a car. They don’t seem to realize the additional hazard they create to themselves and motor vehicle traffic by not maintaining single file, as state Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1234 requires in that situation.

A more serious problem is the rude behavior exhibited by some who seem to feel that the road belongs to them alone.

My wife was driving today toward Lake Placid through the Notch on state Route 86 when she was blocked by a large group of cyclists riding four abreast. She followed slowly for some distance until she was finally able to pass the group safely. She was rewarded for her patience by a rider in the lead foursome who gave her “the finger” as she passed. This kind of behavior is going to lead to a confrontation where someone may be hurt. In the event of a collision cars trump bicycles.

In addition the long term consequence could be an end to bike racing in this area. The racers are mistaken if they think locals are going to put up with that kind of rudeness and arrogance.

I am a recreational cyclist as well as a driver and feel privileged to have this beautiful Adirondack country to ride through. Most of the cyclists who come here that I have spoken to feel the same way.

I call upon you, the organizers of cycle racing to get across to your constituency that the continued opportunity to train and race here with support from the community depends on cyclists adopting a code of decent, lawful behavior when riding.

They are guests in our “house” and we expect them to behave as such. As long as they do, we will go out of our way to make them welcome.

Don McLaughlin



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