When I was young, I was taught that when walking along a road with no sidewalks, I should walk on the side facing traffic. I presume this was to give me the ability to get out of the way if something went sideways with a driver and to be aware, in general, of traffic.
Unfortunately, some people appear to have gotten this same advice for riding bicycles, and it just isn’t the same.
Bicyclists who ride on the left shoulder scare the heck out of me as a driver, in part because of the potential for crashes like this one in Perrysburg Township on Thursday to happen. But a wrong-way cyclist doesn't have to fall onto the road first to be a hazard.
When a car driver is out on the road and comes up behind a cyclist, proper driving requires treating that cyclist like any other vehicle: slow down, if necessary, until a safe passing opportunity arises.
But when one encounters a wrong-way cyclist and there’s also oncoming traffic in the other lane, what exactly is a driver supposed to do? With closing traffic on both sides, it may not be possible to slow down enough to avoid a tragedy, and in that case, the obvious choice is to hit the bicycle rather than collide head-on with another car.
It doesn’t help that many rural roads in northwest Ohio lack shoulders wide enough for cyclists to use. But those are the roads where wrong-way cycling is most dangerous, and they aren’t likely to get shoulders any time soon.
Yes, there are bad drivers out there who carry the attitude that bikes should be on the sidewalk, or just go away entirely. They’re wrong. Bicycles have every right to the road that cars do.But for cyclists, that means obeying the same rules of the road. Keep to the right. Always.