Cycling 101 - A Refresher Course

By Cecil "Zeke" Yount | Apr 27, 2013

In honor of Dogwood Winter being on its final few days, I thought it might be timely to revisit some cycling terminology as a refresher for most readers and new information for others.  Some of this ground has been plowed before but, like any good garden, it needs constant attention to flourish and grow. In that spirit, I offer the following:

Salmoning – a term that applies to cyclists riding on the wrong side of the road facing traffic. I see this common and very dangerous behavior frequently in my travels around Haywood. This is very dangerous behavior because motorists can’t accurately assess the speed of a cyclist approaching them in this manner. A head on collision is quite likely. As in almost all bicycle/motorists incidents, the cyclist loses. Proper riding technique is for cyclists to ride in the road in the direction of traffic flow.

Buzzed – No, not impaired driving all though that could occur at the same time as the type of buzzing that I’m referencing here. A buzz occurs when a motorists passes so close to a cyclist that a near accident happens. Existing N.C. law requires that motorists provide a minimum passing space of 2 feet and then and only then when passing the cyclist doesn’t create a dangerous situation. Many states now require a minimum 3 feet in passing clearance.

Share the Road! – The state and national directive that indicates all users of the road should use the space equally. In N.C., cyclists have the same rights and requirements to operate on the roads as motorists except where specifically prohibited such as interstates and controlled access highways. The Great Smoky Mountain Expressway from Clyde to West Waynesville is one such example. Otherwise, cyclists have every right to be on the road as does a car, a truck, or a motorcycle. They also have the same responsibilities.  Common courtesies by all users would make us all a lot safer on the road.

Idaho Stop – Named for a legal approach to and continuance on at a stop sign in the State of Idaho. In law for a quarter century or more, Idaho allows a cyclist to come to a stop sign, survey the scene, and move past the stop sign without coming to a complete stop. While not legal in N.C., most cyclists and motorists already practice this approach to a stop sign. Often referred to as a “rolling stop”, it is a common occurrence on our highways by all users. This is not the same as “blowing through a stop sign”, which is dangerous and stupid behavior on the part of cyclists or anyone else for that matter.

I hope these four terms shed some light on the interaction of cyclists and motorists. More and more citizens are improving their health and saving money through cycling. Let’s be careful out there and look out for each other!

For more information, visit http://gr8smokieszeke.blogspot.com and www.bicyclehaywoodnc.org . You may also link to Zeke’s Great Smoky Mountain 2 Wheeled Adventures under Opinion on the Mountaineer’s website.

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