Borrego Sun - Since 1949

"Lane Sharing"


Last updated 10/20/2020 at 10:05am

This letter is in response to a Letter To the Editor from the Oct. 1, 2020 issue of the Borrego Sun, titled “Lane Wars” on Page 7.

Dear Ms. Red Mustang,

Sorry, but you are indeed wrong because there are two aspects of the vehicle code that you perhaps have overlooked.

First is the difference between a bike lane and a shoulder.

On the left hand side of the ‘roadway’ there is a white line, usually called the fogline. Outside of this there may be a bike lane and if there is it will be well marked with sign posts and writing on the lane itself. I can assure you that cyclists love bike lanes and will always stay in the bike lane and keep out of your way as much as they possibly can.

If there is no marked bike lane, what is outside the fogline is a shoulder. The shoulder is not considered part of the roadway and you probably know that you are not permitted to drive on it. Cyclists may ride on the shoulder if they consider it safe to do so. However, they are not obliged to ride on the shoulder for a very good reason. Sometimes it is beautiful and sometimes it is awful or non-existent, and it can change from one to the other on a dime.

So if the cyclist decides that the shoulder is unsafe she will ride in the left lane, staying within 18” of the fogline. And that is what appears to be offending you, although it is legal and the cyclists has a perfect right to be there.

So that raises the second issue. The cyclist is in her lane riding perfectly legally and now you have to pass her. A fairly recent law in California requires that when you pass a cyclist you leave a clear space of at least three feet between any part of your vehicle and the cyclist. So “crowding the line a little” is just not going to do it. You are breaking the law. But more seriously you are endangering the life of one of your neighbors.

So could I request please that you gain a better understanding of the vehicle code and then instead of driving past cyclists in such an aggressive manor that they feel obliged to express their discomfort to you in some way, you show them some respect. That is the norm in our beautiful community here.

Roger Coombes

– Borrego Springs, California

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