Bicylists need more than bike lanes to get around

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This is in response to Lisa Miller’s letter (June 23 News Messenger, page A5, “Bicycles Should Stay Off of Country Roads”). First, let me say I appreciate Ms. Miller’s approach, that is, not going the “all cyclists are jerks” angry rant. She has legitimate concerns and expresses them well. Safety for riders, people and animals is most important. Second, she is right that cyclists are guilty of running stop signs and, at times, riding two or three abreast. We could all do better. And I have no doubt the organized fundraising bike rides, which bring dollars into both the benefactors and the local economy, can be a frustrating obstacle to vehicles who encounter them. I’m a driver, too. But her suggestion that bicycles be confined to roads with bike lanes is not reasonable for many of us. Many of the local communities have done a fine job supplying bike lanes and paths. Believe me, we know and use them all. This region is one of the finest cycling areas in the state and it is the very country roads Ms. Miller travels that make it so. Typical destinations for the group with whom I ride are Auburn, Meadow Vista and Folsom. Rides to Nevada City, Colfax, Old Sacramento and even Foresthill occur regularly. You can’t get there from here in bike lanes. Our average rides are 40 to 60 miles. The challenge of Baxter Grade and the fun of coming down Mt. Vernon are part of why we ride. I am guessing you have encountered my friends out there more than once. Ms. Miller, cyclists should have respect for those of you who drive those country roads every day. Like some drivers, there are cyclists who are insensitive, inexperienced or inattentive. But give me a friendly “beep” before you get too close and my friends and I will get as far to the right as safe and give you a friendly wave as you pass. Thanks. Tom Frady, Lincoln