Glenn Robinson (8/4, Letters) suggests that bikers would be safer if they rode facing the traffic. In my opinion that would create a very unsafe situation for motorists.
A bicycle going with the flow of traffic gives overtaking vehicles the opportunity to adjust their speed to accommodate the slower vehicle and oncoming traffic, to make a safe pass. Not so with an oncoming vehicle in the opposing lane. A motorist with a moving vehicle coming at him has precious few seconds to evaluate the oncoming obstruction in his lane of travel, the closing speed of the two vehicles, the traffic behind him and the oncoming traffic in the proper lane before deciding how to respond.
A little imagination can concoct many serious scenarios, all of which are avoided by traveling in the same direction as the traffic.
Walkers and runners facing traffic have much more flexibility to avoid vehicles — stop, get off the road — whereas bicycles don’t.
While the biking community appreciates safety concerns, I, for one, am not in favor of riding against traffic.
I agree with Glenn Robinson that bicycle traffic should face oncoming traffic. A friend of mine disagrees, asserting that he has a rearview mirror on his helmet that provides the safety he needs. But how many people have mirrors or even helmets?
Besides, you have a much better overall view in front of you versus what you can see in that dinky little mirror.
Stephen A. Sasenick
There is an obvious solution to the dangerous custom of bicycle riding on streets and highways. Bicycle riding should be done on sidewalks. If a car hits a bicyclist, death or serious injury results. If a bicyclist hits a pedestrian, a few scrapes and bruises are the most likely result. Since pedestrian traffic on sidewalks is much less than car traffic on streets, the risk is even less.
The bicyclist could use a horn or bell to tell the pedestrian to move to the right. If it is hard to see motorcyclists, how much harder is it to see a bicyclist? It seems like common sense to get the bicyclist off the roads.
In addition, bicycle riding should be illegal on any roadway where the speed limit is higher than 50 mph unless a bicycle path is designated in the shoulder area.