Rethink Your Commute and Be
The Courteous Bicyclist
In looking for ways to enhance or initiate safe transportation infrastructure amenities and to ensure our right to travel as legitimate street traffic, many of us joined organizations, attended public agency meetings, and wrote letters to elected officials. As the success of these efforts has served to promote more documented everyday bicycle usage, it has also brought the unintended consequence of increased friction among the user groups of motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Bicyclists who pay no heed to the Vehicle Code, undermine all the hard effort put forth to provide better bicycle accommodation. Although most bicyclists ride safely and lawfully, there remain enough two-wheeled scofflaws on our streets and sidewalks who continue to underscore the notion that "Bikes DON'T Belong".
Bicyclists tend to overlook their most direct opportunity toward achieving safety and accommodation which involves no funding, no new laws, or waiting for advocacy groups to organize. Rather than reinforcing an image of bicycle outlaws, it has become the mandate for each cyclist to become an individual ambassador to demonstrate that street space is deserved because of mutual user respect.
Bike San Mateo County has authored "The Courteous Road User's Guide" to provide guidelines for all road users on how best to accommodate everyone. In addition to defining how bicyclists should conduct themselves, it explains how motorists can accommodate bicyclists by recognizing the specific hazards bicyclists must avoid and explains why bicyclists sometimes need to "Take the Lane" in order to ride safely. The intent of the Guide is to provide a simple educational blueprint to encourage individual responsibility to meet the social and codified obligations that all must undertake to ensure that our public thoroughfares retain and continue to maintain safe accommodation for every user.