Bicyclists have rights on the road as well

A reader who takes regular bike rides around Lake Antoine recently called with a request:

Please ask motorists to be more aware — and tolerant — of those who travel the roads on two wheels rather than four.

He said he’s been honked at, sworn at and, more dangerously, forced to swerve or brake when a vehicle muscled in too close or suddenly turned in front of him.

The Lake Antoine area itself has plenty of signs advising that bicycles share the road, he said. But he would like drivers to show a little more respect on other roads as well.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin boast some of the most scenic biking venues both states have to offer. It won’t be long before cyclists enjoying the view and exercise will become common on roadways in the region.

A lot of emphasis has been placed on cyclists making sure they do what’s needed to be safer when venturing out — wear a helmet, obey traffic laws, exercise caution.

But drivers, too, have an obligation to heed the needs of bicyclists in sharing those roads, the Michigan State Police advised.

The MSP offers these safety reminders for motorists traveling alongside cyclists:

— Do not pass a bicyclist on two-lane roads with no paved shoulder when oncoming traffic is present.

— Do not pass a bicyclist on curves or over the crest of a hill until it is safe.

— Do not pass a bicyclist on the right shoulder of the road.

— Be aware that a bicyclist may be near the center of the road preparing to make a left turn.

Michigan law states bicycle and moped riders are allowed to ride in a traffic lane but must stay as far to the right as practical. Practical, authorities add, means safe and reasonable, not as far to the right as possible — there may be obstructions, such as potholes or uneven road surfaces, that require the cyclist move further over into the lane of traffic.

There is room enough for both bicylists, mopeds and other motor vehicles if everyone just acknowledges each other’s rights to the road.