More specifically to the older two, (eleven and nine), I took advantage to ride with them and explain how to operate their bikes on the main roads around Wallingford (South and North Main Streets, Center Street, Hall Avenue, North and South Cherry, John Street and then crossing Route 5 at John Street to head back home).
In as many times over each of the days, I was "informed" by drivers in cars that my kids were in the road and should be on the sidewalk (and then of course they sped away when the light turned green so I didn't have a chance to respond).
Luckily, I have a blog. Not that I expect them to necessarily read it. I mean, they've never taken the time to learn the rules of the road when it comes to sharing it with bikes and they've been driving their cars for decades, but I digress.
With warm weather likely to be sticking around for a few more weeks, and given the two separate incidents, I have decided to write this up regardless.
In the state of Connecticut (Share the Road CT: Motorists) bicycles in the road are considered legal vehicles like any other operated apparatus with wheels and drivers should obey the following rules of the road and the laws on the books:
- Motorists are to Yield to Cyclists
- Bicycles are considered vehicles
- Cyclists should be given the appropriate right of way
- Allow extra time for cyclists to traverse intersections
- When passing, leave four feet between you and a cyclist
- Wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass
- Check over your shoulder before moving back
- Making a left turn
- Overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction
- Overtaking and passing pedestrians, parked vehicles, animals or obstructions on the right side of the road
- When the right side of the roadway is closed to traffic while under construction or repair.
CAN a bicyclists ride on the sidewalk? Sure. Connecticut allows bicycles to operate on sidewalks subject to the following rules:
- Each person operating a bicycle upon and along a sidewalk or across any roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal within a reasonable distance before overtaking and passing a pedestrian; and
- No person shall operate a bicycle upon or along a sidewalk or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk if such operation is prohibited by any ordinance of any city, town or borough or by any regulation of the State Traffic Commission.
That doesn't mean they MUST (required) be on the sidewalk. It means, they MAY (allowed) be on the sidewalk (so long as a LOCAL ordinance does not prohibit it).
In this day and age when people complain about "lazy" kids that only want to sit on their computers and handheld devices certain folks might want to give a little consideration to the ones that do want to go out and ride and get some exercise (and give the ones learning the rules of the road some extra points).
I want to close by saying too that the two driver / passenger combinations were absolutely the exception to the rule on both days. Every other car we came across watched us stopping at the intersections and let us go when they were left turning across our path from the opposite direction. All of you folks gave me the opportunity to explain to both of my older two what was going on, why, and who had the right of way and so forth (so thank you for that opportunity in action).