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Watch out for kids and bikes

August 17, 2012
Estherville Daily News

It's that time of year again when we have to start looking out for kids on their way to school.

We know. It seems like you just got used to waiting for them when they're crossing the street to the pool. But now it's time to get used to them crossing intersections and, if there's a convenience store or fast food place across the street, they might cross right in the middle of the street.

Depending on their ages, kids can be very unpredictable. You might see them riding their bikes three abreast across the street or darting between cars to retrieve a ball. A good rule of thumb is that if you see a ball bouncing out into the street you'll see a kid follow after it seconds later.

A particular danger - and this is a caution that bicyclists should heed at least as much as motorists - is bicycles on sidewalks.

Bicycles on sidewalks are just plain dangerous, and an adult riding a bike on a sidewalk at a high rate of speed could do some serious damage to another person. Another problem is when bikes cross intersections right in front of cars. The driver might not even see them, and when they dart across the intersection, there could be a collision - and guarantee is that the bike won't win.

Another problem is when vehicles turning onto other streets or drives encounter bikes, again, rolling down the sidewalk. Again, the bike is going to end upon the short end of the stick on that situation as well.

In an ideal world, bicyclists would ride where they belong - on the street. And they would angle their hand up for a right turn and straight out for a left. And in that ideal world, cars would respect bicyclists' right to share the road. Bicycles ride on the sidewalks because they're afraid of getting hit by cars. But if motorists respects bicyclists' right to the road, everyone would be a lot safer.

This is a real problem in our community, and one that needs to be addressed, whether it's by parents, schools or our law enforcement community. Together, maybe we can all solve it.

Because what we have right now just isn't working.



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