Cyclists ask for care from motorists at meeting with police in Rockville -- Gazette.Net


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Cyclists in Montgomery County want drivers to show a bit more courtesy when sharing the road.

Nearly two dozen cyclists attended a meeting Monday at the Public Service Training Academy in Rockville to discuss how to ensure safety when bicycles encounter cars.

“We don’t need shoulders, we just need motorists to give us our share of the road that’s our right,” said Lew Barker of Chevy Chase.

The forum was organized by 1st District officers to address concerns of drivers and cyclists who use MacArthur Boulevard in Bethesda. Recently, a Bethesda resident’s letter calling for cyclists to not travel in packs, as they hold up traffic, has circulated through the bicycling community.

“Each year, the 1st District encounters an overwhelming barrage of letters, emails and phone calls regarding the sharing of the roadways between motorists and cyclists along MacArthur Boulevard,” the email announcement of the forum states.

At the forum, Montgomery County Police Officer Edward Trybus reviewed some of the laws regarding the use of vehicles, which include bicycles. Trybus said the operator of a vehicle is impeding traffic if he or she does not maintain the speed limit.

Evelyn Egizi, of Silver Spring, arrived at the meeting driving a Smart car with a sticker of the back reading “Bike Nerd.”

“I do a lot of biking, I commute, I compete, I train. I think drivers are not aware of cyclists’ rights,” Egizi said. “I don’t have an issue, my biggest point [to motorists] is if its not safe to pass, don’t.”

The evening ended with suggestions from cyclists.

Richard Hoye, of Bethesda, suggested that police officers ride along with cyclists to see things from their perspective. Everyone agreed that public awareness of cyclists’ rights is important.

Helen Zitomer, of Cabin John, left the meeting to ride her bike home. She does not own a car and considers herself a transportational biker, that is, using her bike to get where she needs to go.

“Maybe the most useful part of the meeting was initiating a dialogue,” she said.

pmcewan@gazette.net