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Letter: PCH dangers lurk

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Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 1:30 pm

It’s Pacific Coast Highway! Why are we so surprised that people get hurt or worse, when they disrespect this highway? Would you consider it sane to cross a freeway? The 405? 101? The truth is, that even where the posted speed is 45, people do go faster. They can go 50 or even 55. It’s basically something that everyone does. So when you’re wearing your darkest outfit, at dusk, when the driver’s eyes cannot see well, or in the dark or the glare of the sun, please, remember that it’s not always possible to see you.

True, some people are drunk, some are reckless, and some are, well, incompetent drivers. But, for goodness sakes, they’re also on the freeway! So don’t cross the freeway and if you have to cross, then pay attention. They may not even see you. And for bikers, I know your community has decided that a bicycle should take up a whole lane of the highway. The truth is that I’m deadly afraid of bicyclists. Not because I worry that they will hit me, but I’m worried for them. If they need to avoid an open car door, they’re entering into the lanes of the highway. Living on the PCH (not in the street, mind you) I do see this so much. Cars nearly colliding in order to avoid a bike.

So now that I’ve shown you how politically incorrect I really am, I’m on my way to the store. Carefully! Shary Nassimi

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1 comment:

  • Bjartmarr posted at 12:25 pm on Tue, Mar 19, 2013.

    Bjartmarr Posts: 1

    Ms. Nassimi,
    You appear to be suffering from some misconceptions about bicycling, roads, and the law. Let me help you out here.
    (1) PCH is not a freeway. It is an uncontrolled-access highway. If you are treating it like a freeway, then you are driving dangerously, and you need to stop doing that before you hurt somebody.
    (2) Speeding is not "basically something everyone does". It is something that dangerous lawbreakers do. If you look a little closer, you will notice many people driving PCH at or under the speed limit. Please stop zooming past us and instead make yourself one of us.
    (3) It is a cyclist's responsibility to be visible: generally, this means lights and reflectors at night. It is YOUR responsibility to notice and avoid a visible cyclist. That means if you can't see the road in front of you because it's sunny or dusk or dark or for whatever reason, you legally MUST slow down or pull over until you can see again.
    (4) Actually, the California legislature is the entity that has decided that a bicycle may take up a whole lane. That's right, the law spells out many circumstances when a person on a bike may take up the whole lane (CVC 21202). These circumstances are present on most of PCH. Although they are always allowed to ride on the roadway, many cyclists ride on the shoulder when possible as a courtesy to motorists. When a cyclist is riding in the middle of the lane on PCH, they probably have a good reason (even if that reason isn't readily apparent to you, passing them at 55mph). If you are upset at them, please change lanes to pass and then contact the sheriff. No matter what they do, you are NEVER permitted to take matters into your own hands and try to scare them off the roadway.

    If you are worried that you might hit a bicyclist, then please slow down, drive carefully, give them a wide berth, and wait until it's safe to pass. Lower speed and a little bit of patience could save somebody's life (and will probably save you many speeding tickets as well!)