Here’s my annual letter to the minority of vehicle drivers who often scare many of us bicycle riders. With warmer weather more and more bicycles are now on the roads. For those that do not ride a bicycle, it can be annoying when driving a vehicle and you encounter a cyclist and you may have to slow down because of oncoming traffic and the cyclist is too close to or in your traffic lane. You may complain that the cyclist doesn’t belong on the road or isn't far enough over to the side of the road “where they belong”. Bicycles do have a legal right to be on all roadways (except when posted otherwise) and in reality, (especially if the bicycle is a road bicycle with narrow tires), the rider is probably as far over to the right as possible to stay away from the build up of gravel, debris, glass, sticks, dead animals, rough pavement, etc. that exists along the side of all our roads that a driver of a vehicle doesn't notice. Bicycle lanes, if they do exist, often end abruptly, and also have a lot of debris built up, as they are not swept any more than other roadways. So, PLEASE, slow down and give cyclists extra room when passing them (at least three feet, according to the law in several states). Keep in mind that the person on the bicycle isn't out there to annoy you and they could be a friend, relative, coworker, neighbor, and/or just a nice person trying to save gas and get some exercise. PLEASE be patient with us, as hitting a cyclist is a tragedy for everyone, as seen numerous times here in Pocatello. A safe biking experience requires everyone's involvement. Also, PLEASE put your cell phone away when driving, as being struck by an inattentive driver is a huge concern by all cyclist.
And for your information a few State of Idaho bicycling laws that many don’t know exist are:
A cyclist does not have to stop at a STOP sign but they do need to slow down and yield as necessary, and a cyclist can ride through a RED LIGHT, but only after stopping and yielding. Also, cyclists can ride two abreast provided they don’t “impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic” (whatever that may be).
For additional information on bicycles see: TITLE 49, MOTOR VEHICLES, CHAPTER 7 of the Idaho Statutes or take a look at the Idaho Driver’s Handbook, which all with an Idaho driver’s license are expected to be knowledgeable.