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Don't ride your bike on sidewalks

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POSTED: April 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.
The warmer weather has brought more runners, walkers and bike riders out, but they may not be warmly welcomed on the road.
Cyclists and pedestrians in the road may have drivers blowing their horn and taking extra precautions.
But laws are in place to manage both travelers, with violators risking a possible $86 citation.
Lt. Max McLendon from the Hinesville Police Department Traffic Unit explained cyclists are not under the same regulations as a pedestrian, but "considered to be operating a vehicle."
People on a bicycle are supposed to ride with the flow of traffic, while walkers and joggers should go against traffic if no sidewalk is available.
"By law, a person on a bicycle has to ride as close as the edge roadway as possible going with the flow of traffic," McLendon said. "They have to obey all traffic signals just like they were driving a car."
Cyclists are prohibited from riding on sidewalks, while walkers and runners are legally required to use the sidewalk, if one is there.
"They are supposed to be as close as practical to the edge of the roadway, running towards traffic...so they can see traffic coming towards them," McLendon said.
"If you're not facing traffic you don't know what's coming up behind you."
McLendon advised walkers and runners out during dusk or early morning hours to wear "something that will illuminate you."
He suggested cyclists use headlights and pedestrians wear some type of reflective safety vest or shirt.
McLendon said if the unit responds to motorist-pedestrian crash scenes, it is generally between a vehicle and a bicycle.
"There's enough room for motorists and cyclists to share the road," he said.
"You shouldn't be in that great big of a hurry that you just can't pass that bicyclist at a safe distance and a safe rate."
He explained bicyclists can also be in fault and "bear the burden of the crash," when they choose to illegally ride on the sidewalk.
Cyclists can be intimidated by traveling with cars, but McLendon said lanes are usually wide enough for them to ride outside the white strip of the road.
It is drivers' responsibility to pay attention to what is in front of them, "whether it be a bicyclist, pedestrian or whatever it may be."
Laws also regulate how pedestrians may cross the road. They are only supposed to cross at a marked crosswalk or walk to nearest intersection to cross the road.
McLendon explained pedestrians are required to only cross when it is completely safe to do so and should not wait in the middle of the road.
"There is a law about pedestrians stepping out in traffic," he said.
People can report violators if it is becoming a constant hazard. But only those caught by officers will be subject to penalties.
"Of course, everybody out there sees somebody violate something everyday," McLendon said.
He said citations cyclists and pedestrians may receive would not affect their driver's license since they would not be operating a motor vehicle.
 

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