Bicycles also need to follow road rules
As a driver, I try to be courteous and thoughtful of others around me.
This includes people traveling in many different ways. Between the pedestrians and the big trucks, we find also cars, mid-size trucks, SUVs, campers, motorcycles and the subject of my frustration today: bicyclists.
We frequently see the bumper sticker "Share the road," which is good advice because bicyclists have every right to use the road with the rest of us, and in fact are supposed to use the road with us.
But what of the other side? Aren't bicyclists supposed to follow the laws of the road too?
I actually called the St. Petersburg Police Department to double-check. The answer is yes, they are supposed to follow the same rules as the rest of us, including use of turn signals (hand signals usually, in their case), using proper lanes (as in staying off the left side of the road, in most cases), and respect for signs and signals.
What made me think of this was the large group of cyclists that I encounter frequently on my drive in the morning. They seem very good at getting into the left turn lane, in one very large group — probably about 50 of them. And although not all of them signal, enough of them do that I don't mind so much, until the protected green goes off, leaving the normal green light on. At this point, they still continue in their group, turning left, blocking the oncoming traffic that now has the right of way. (To which I frequently say things that are not fit to print, because I am trying to proceed through the intersection.)
Of course this is not the only problem. Many individual cyclists seem to think themselves part pedestrian, using sidewalks and crosswalks, then taking to the street when it is more convenient.
I see these law-ignoring cyclists as no better than a truck driver who tailgates, or a motorcycle rider who speeds along the road lines to get through rough traffic.
Bicyclists have campaigned for motorists to respect them, and they will complain loudly if a motorist treats them rudely. However, I think it is important for the cyclists to recognize that they need to be held to task just as much as the motorists, because the cyclists who do not follow the laws leave motorists with little choice but to learn the lesson that bicyclists are usually a law unto themselves, and as such, an annoyance and a danger to everybody on the road.
I don't mind sharing the road, but if you want to ride on the road you need to respect the laws that govern that road, even when your vehicle makes it convenient not to do so.
C. Cain, St. Petersburg
Mayor candidate flips burgers, causes a flap | July 11, story
The Police Department has opened an inquiry into the propriety of a shirt worn by a mayoral candidate.
Is that the reason why they have no officer available to respond to shots being fired in my neighborhood at 3 a.m., telling the caller she mistook it for fireworks? Is that why they want to take a report over the phone instead of sending an officer as requested?
Does City Hall even know how to spell the word "leadership"?
Ingrid Comberg, St. Petersburg
City pay raises
Mayor Rick Baker would have my vote if he were running again. Any mayor who can save money for the city in critical times is a treasure.
We don't know which candidates are for spending the reserves foolishly just to get elected. It would be prudent for the Times to check this important fact out. John Galbraith is quoted as saying, "One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know."
I realize the police and fire departments are vital, but so many other jobs that are not given raises routinely are just as important. Those funds are for disasters, depressions and for keeping our city economically viable. Asking for or demanding a pay raise at this time is unconscionable.
A.M. Long, St. Petersburg
Gas savings add up
Some tips for saving gas:
1) If you're not late, then drive slowly — leave a few minutes early.
2) As you approach a red light, put gear in neutral and coast — even if it's three blocks away.
3) When you have to stop suddenly at a red light and you know that it will be two minutes or more of a wait, turn off the engine. If it's only a minute or less, put the gear in park and take your foot off the brake.
I have saved about 5 miles per gallon this past year doing this. Also, it's safer.
Victor R. Helou, Largo
We're stuck in park | July 11, editorial
Limit days to drive
I have been worrying about this for years. Nowadays you pass houses that have four cars in the driveway — we just put too many cars on the road. There is only one solution:
We must allow only half the automobiles on the road on any one day — it has been done before. You may use your car on Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and everybody can drive on Sunday.
Until we do this we are going to waste too much energy. How will we get to work? Public transportation is not enough. We'll have to share rides with co-workers or neighbors or relatives.
Lets do it now.
Carl Heymann, Clearwater
Safety key for BayWalk | July 15, story
St. Petersburg needs more than increased security at BayWalk. We moved our office from Tampa to St. Petersburg this year, and I have yet to see one single officer of the law downtown, except on First Friday or other special events.
About a month ago I was attacked after a Rays game, and my car keys were taken. It was dark, and no one was around the bus stop at Central Avenue and Second Street where this happened about 11 p.m.
Now I am reluctant to stay downtown after dark for any reason.
Dan MacMurphy, Pinellas Park
Sunset Beach litter
Take trash with you
It frosts me that people are blaming the city for the mess, saying that not enough trash receptacles were provided. I'm sure that all of the leftover trash got there initially full of food and drinks and packaged fireworks.
Apparently, people are just too lazy to pick up after themselves. The same empty containers, I'm sure, would have fit BACK into those same coolers and beach bags they came there in.
Maggie Simon, Tierra Verde
46 Ave. N work is set | July 5, Dr. Delay
Project not needed
It seems that the county has decided to waste yet more money on a very much unwanted and extremely unnecessary "improvement" project.
On the morning of July 15, residents of 46th Avenue N were notified that they were to be the victims of a road-widening project. The area residents are, in a word, stunned and a lot more than angry at not just the surprise of the plan but the noise, dirt/dust and inconvenience of the entire project.
46th Avenue N is a not heavily used neighborhood thoroughfare and not a shortcut to anywhere. The entire strip is about to go through an incredible inconvenience for the next two years.
Many of the mobile home residents are snowbirds whose voices won't and can't be heard until this travesty is well under way.
This could very well be a death knell to the 14 small businesses along this stretch of road.
C.M. O'Donnell, Lealman
Rain barrels hold promise June 28, letter
Here's an additional source of water for yards: Place a bucket under the drainpipe for the condensation from your air conditioner. Ours fills in a couple of hours, giving us a continuous daily supply of water for our plants.
Linda Susens, St. Petersburg