Bicyclists cannot always ride on shoulder

To the woman who gave me the finger from the back of a motorcycle in Benson on Sunday afternoon:

Had I been able to free a hand from my bicycle handlebars, I would have given you the peace sign. We should all cultivate civility, not hostility.

Had you looked to my right, you would have seen cracked and jagged pavement-very uneven shoulder, which is typical on most roads. My tires are skinny compared to your motorcycle tires. If I hit a pothole, I could easily be thrown into your path. Not a good day for me or for you.

State law requires vehicles to pass bicyclists at a safe distance. Many states require a minimum of 3 feet of clearance when overtaking a bicyclist. When bike paths or lanes are not available and the shoulders are dangerous, the state recommends bicyclists ride several feet out into the lane where motorists will see them and gives the message that the overtaking vehicle must move left to pass when it is safe to do so.

Some of your fellow motorcyclists did move left-my thanks to them.

I don’t take a full lane when bicycling; however, when a few of your fellow motorcyclists came too close for comfort, I did take an extra 2 feet of our lane. If uneven pavement comes up in front of me, I need someplace to go other than in front of the traffic overtaking me.

Yes, I pay taxes and I drive a car. So, I contribute my share to fund the roads. I belong on the roads even when bicycling. Please keep in mind how rough the shoulders of the roads are, and consider how scary it is when a vehicle roars past a bicyclist’s left shoulder.