Here is the LTE I sent today to The Gazette…
I am writing regarding the article “Street pedalers” in the May 26th issue of The Oklahoma Gazette.
The article quoted a local bicyclist who said that cyclists should ride in groups because it is dangerous to ride in groups, and also says that urban cyclists are hindered “by the fact that Oklahoma city prohibits bike riding on sidewalks, yet doesn’t provide bike lanes to protect them from cars. Murray that riders have to either ride on a shoulder – if there is one – or hug the curb and hope passing cars on the lookout.”
This is not the way to safely ride a bicycle in Oklahoma City. Contrary to what your article says, in most situations bicyclists are best off “taking the lane.” By riding assertively in the lane (rather than hugging the curb), motorists are more likely to see cyclists and are more likely to pass with enough clearance. Riding like this is not only safer, but it is also legal. Oklahoma law says that cyclists shall ride as far to the right as is safe, but does not mean that bicycles must hug the curb. Instead it requires cyclists to use common sense.
There are lot of good resources out there on how to safely ride a bicycle in an urban environment. OKbike.org has an excellent education section on its website. I also would recommend the book “Effective Cycling” by John Forester.