Two encounters with wrong-headed bicyclists

The in basket: Brian J. Peterson says, “I get a little upset at bikers … who think they are immune to the laws of the road.

“For example,” he said, “(One) Friday afternoon in late October I’m driving through Illahee park. The main road through the park is one way. As I’m heading down the road going around 10 mph the right way, a man and woman with a child, on bikes, came around the corner going the wrong way and almost hit me in my car,

“I told them they were going the wrong way on a one-way street. The man cussed me out and then the lady told me cars are required to yield to bikes.  

“‘I don’t think so,’ I told her (and) she then proceeded to cuss me out for not moving my car off the road so they could go around me. I couldn’t  back up the wrong way on a one-way street.

“Later the same day I’m heading home westbound on E. 30th Street,  when a middle-aged man comes barreling down the hill on Viewcrest completely ignoring me and the stop sign at the end of Viewcrest and headed west also on 30th. I had to slam on my brakes and swerve to miss him. 

“When i told him he had to stop at the sign just as cars are required to, he cussed me out and flipped me off, saying ‘Cars must yield to bikes.’  I told him bikes have to stop at stop signs also and if I hadn’t slammed on my brakes I might have killed him.

Brian called the police both times, he said, and was told  there is nothing they can do unless they see it happen.

The out basket: It’s unusual in my experience to encounter two aggressive, misinformed bicyclists in a single day, but that’s appears to be what happened to Brian. 

Cars are not required to yield to bikes in any situations in which they don’t have to yield to other cars. State law accords bicyclists all the rights and duties of motor vehicles, except that bikers are specifically allowed to ride on the shoulder, which cars can’t do. 

Deputy Scott Wilson of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office tells me, “The parties that Brian mentioned were not operating their bicycles in accordance with the law. The operators of the bicycles could have been (ticketed) for at least two traffic offenses, ie:  traveling in the opposite direction on a one-way road (Illahee Park incident); failure to stop at a stop sign (man on Viewcrest @ East 30th).

Scott also said roads in state and county parks are public roads and violators can be ticketed on them. They’re not private roads, such as shopping center parking lots, where violators can’t be cited.

While I was at it, I asked if bicyclists can ride across streets in crosswalks and whether it mattered if pedestrians are in the crosswalk. Scott said bicyclists may stay mounted in crosswalks and on sidewalks, but must yield to pedestrians in either case.

I ran Scott’s answers past the State Trooper Krista Hedstrom, who said she agrees with him.

3 thoughts on “Two encounters with wrong-headed bicyclists

  1. Dear Road Warrior, you wrote there is no driving laws on private property, like mall parking lots. Are you sure? When I was a teenager we used to do burnouts at the old Bob’s Chevron in downtown PO. Cops used to sit across the street at the old Vlist Used Car lot and watch/laugh at us. Then one day they came over and said state law had been changed and even if it was private property, if it was used by the public we could now get ticketed. So, if I decide to go do donuts on say, a church parking lot, can I get a ticket for reckless driving or anything else. Thank You

  2. This story should be on the front page. If the family had bee injured or killed, the driver could have sued them for damage to his car because that were breaking traffic laws. It is possible that they are stupid enough not to know, but that’s no defense.

  3. It always surprises me how arrogant bikers can be. They might think they always have the right of way, but when its done and over they will be hurt severely and I will have a small dent on my vehicle. I give one simple equation to bicyclists “Mass x Speed = right of way”

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