GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Letters/My View

August 14, 2013

Letter: Rules of the road for motorists, cyclists

To the editor:

This past month when I have been out cycling the roads of Essex, Gloucester and Manchester, cars have come up behind me and beeped.

Why? Possibly they thought I was impeding them from getting where they were in a rush to go.

Trust me, as a cyclist, I am trying to stay out of the way of cars as much as possible.

But it appears that many drivers are not aware of their responsibilities under the laws of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, some of which are as follows: Massachusetts General Law Chapter 89, Section 2 and Chapter 90 Section 14):

Motorists and their passengers must check for passing bicyclists before opening their door. Motorists and their passengers can be ticketed and fined up to $100 for opening car or truck doors into the path of any other traffic, including bicycles and pedestrians.

Motorists must stay a safe distance to the left of a bicyclist (or any other vehicle) when passing. Motorists are also prohibited from returning to the right until safety clear of the bicyclist.

Motorists must pass at a safe distance. If the lane is too narrow to pass safely, the motorist must use another lane to pass, or, if that is also unsafe, the motorist must wait until it is safe to pass.

Motorists are prohibited from making abrupt right turns (“right hooks”) at intersections and driveways after passing a cyclist.

Motorists must yield to oncoming bicyclists when making left turns. The law expressly includes yielding to bicyclists riding to the right of other traffic (e.g., on the shoulder), where they are legally permitted but may be more difficult for motorists to see.

Motorists may not use the fact that bicyclists were riding to the right of traffic as a legal defense for causing a crash with a bicyclist

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