Three feet

To the Editor:

I am one of the thousands of people you see on Mount Desert Island walking, riding my bicycle and driving my car. We all have rights and responsibilities. I am particularly attentive to bicyclists and walkers when I drive because I spend a lot of time bicycling and walking. I know there are many bicyclists and walkers who don’t follow the rules. They should.

What I want to focus on is that Maine law and good practice requires motor vehicles to allow at least three feet of space when passing a bicyclist. If three feet can’t be given, drivers must wait for a safer place to pass. In Maine, it is legal to cross a double yellow line to pass a bicyclist if there is no oncoming traffic.

My experience is that most drivers give me a wide berth when passing me when I am riding my bike. The problem often is that they do it in unsafe situations, on a curve or when there is another vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. That oncoming driver has to take evasive action, normally braking, to avoid a head-on collision. I cringe every time it happens.

If (or when) there is a collision, they are probably going to take me out in the process. I am not inside a car, with a seat belt fastened, to protect me.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask that drivers wait until it is safe to pass a bicyclist before they continue on their way. Many of those drivers are on vacation. What’s your hurry? Relax. Enjoy our fantastic views. That applies to area residents as well.

Please be kind when passing bicyclists. Give them three feet of space, and you’ll be doing your part to get them home safely to their loved ones.

Dean Read

Bar Harbor

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