Tension between cyclists and motorists would ease if everyone obeyed traffic laws

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Tension between cyclists and motorists would ease if everyone obeyed traffic laws
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By Arnold Miller, Alexandria

I would like to respond to Andy Bakker’s letter in the Sept. 11 issue of the paper (“Motorists break the law as often as cyclists”).

I concur that a few motorists break the law and even some pedestrians in Old Town engage in flagrant jaywalking. But I am not so sure about his conclusion that motorists, or even pedestrians, flout the law as often as bicyclists do.

I live in Old Town. I run, walk and ride my bike every day in my neighborhood along South Union and South Royal streets. I have never encountered the same experience as Bakker. Very few bicyclists stop — or even slow down — at the stop signs whereas motorists overwhelmingly do so.

While jogging along these roads recently, I encountered more than six bicyclists who ignored stop signs. They continued to ignore traffic laws even after I called to them to stop at the signs.

Not a single automobile driver needed this warning.

I don’t know what Bakker has encountered, but it is not in agreement with the experience of this Old Town resident.

Let’s assume I am wrong and Bakker is correct. Obeying the law is not a quid pro quo situation. The solution to the growing tension between bicyclists and automobiles — and to improving the overall quality of life in the neighborhood — is for everyone to obey the rules of the road, and also for the City of Alexandria to enforce the laws.

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