Archived Story

Ryan Horn: Don’t ride your bike in the road

Published 10:03am Thursday, October 11, 2012


One of the scariest moments in my life as a child was when my parents caught me riding my bike in the road. Their reaction scared the daylights out of me.

Needless to say, I was relegated to the sidewalk the remainder of my childhood. As the popularity of cycling has sky rocketed the last 10 years, the danger of riding your bike in the road has remained ever present.

Solutions to safety issues have been mild and perplexing at best. In some instances, cyclists have been given their own lanes on roadways and ‘’cutsies’’ at stoplights and stop signs. Their presence makes motorists nervous and tense.  With cars, trucks, semis and the occasional tractor already sharing the roadway, the space for safely riding a bike, simply doesn’t exist. The difference in size and speed amongst automobiles and cyclists is evident; it’s lethal.

I hear the plight of cyclists. They’re conscientious citizens, practicing environmental awareness and healthy, physical exercise. To be candid, I envy the ‘inner-drive’ pushing them as they pedal the hilly country roads (especially during a Michigan autumn). In the city, cyclists aren’t bothered with ridiculous parking rates and demoralizing traffic. The economic benefits of riding your bike to and from work as well as leisure activities would be noticeable instantly, I presume. Cycling culture has a lot to offer and I embrace it, sort of.

A more comprehensive set of solutions needs to address safety issues for both parties. Cyclists shouldn’t be ushered into the roadway and motorists shouldn’t have the added distraction of near-invisible cyclists weaving in and out of traffic — at much slower speeds.

Let’s acknowledge and discuss the clear benefits and dangers of cycling. It seems as a society we have addressed this issue halfheartedly.




  • Dave

    Your article doesn’t make much sense.
    What are adults supposed to do>?
    Especially in the cities where ordinance requires staying OFF the sidewalk. You kinda sound like one of those bicycle haters. Fact is: Driving a motor vehicle is a PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT. Cyclists are PEDESTRIAN EQUIVALENT. If they make you nervous, tough, they have as much right to that road as YOU do.

  • KT in the morning

    Makes sense to a this cyclist. Common sense tells me to ride off the road as much as possible for obvious reasons – right or not. Cyclist are NOT pedestrian equivalent as they are NOT given the right or REQUIRED to walk in the roadway.

  • Patty

    Wow! Well stated, Ryan. Cyclists are putting themselves in harm’s way by when disregarding automobiles by riding three, four and five-wide and then not budging, even on blind hills and corners. Not all do this but where I live is beautiful and frequented by large groups of cyclists. It’s becoming a real concern for their safety…trust me my car would be fine. A tap of my horn was all it used to take, but last week on two occasions that was wasted. Courtesy should dictate moving to single file. Im not always in a hurry, but life and death emergencies occur. Be a good neighbor. Watch and respond in kind. We are all too busy, I know. But it shouldnt be so easy to disregard the respect and life of another. I speak to both sides of this issue.

  • Samuel Taylor

    Rights are derived by who Came first, the Pedestrian,
    and Equestrian.
    Followed by bicycles.
    I like denoted Bike routes, and Bike lanes, with the
    Rider facing oncoming traffic Myself, But a cyclist
    has just as much right to the roadway, as drivers.
    What I cannot get is why those in cars drive as they,
    are going to get wet, on Rainy Days, with their tops
    up, and Windowws rolled up?
    Sam taylor

    You don’t need a bike lane on every street, but every
    fourth street would be fine, then a Cyclist would only
    have to ride four blocks, in either direction to freel

  • Matt

    Great article! Do you have any suggestions for a solution? Even though this individual below me is an asshole, he still brings up a good point regarding cities requiring cyclists to stay off sidewalks.

  • Samuel Taylor

    Sorry, My Comments were So Offensive to You.
    I beleve a Cyclist under 12 Should Not be required
    to ride in the Streets.
    and further be required to dismount His, or Her
    Bike when crossing a street.
    Any Cyclist over 12 be required to use the Roadway.
    With a Proper Helmut, and Wearable L.E.D. Lights,
    an Hour Before Sunset until an Hour After Sunrise.
    Sam Taylor

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