This time of the year there is an especially large number of bicyclists using our roads. Conflicts occur when two rules of the road collide. Washington state law does not allow for a vehicle to cross over a double yellow line to overtake another vehicle. (A bill is in the state Legislature to change that law to allow passing bicycles.)
It also requires vehicles to provide a safe distance while passing a bicycle. The Washington Department of Licensing spells out the requirement of safe distance as a MINIMUM 3-foot clearance while passing a bicycle at SLOW speed (greater distance at higher speed).
Bicycles are considered vehicles and have all the same rights and responsibilities of motor vehicles. The rules for bicycles are for them to ride at the right-hand side of the road as close as prudent and safe. This does not mean riding on the lawn or in the ditch or even so close to the edge as to have no safety zone to dodge debris or make safe maneuvers.
All too often drivers try to squeeze past the bicyclist without crossing the yellow line and come dangerously close to clipping the biker who is trying to share the road. (In fact, the law allows bicyclers to ride two abreast)
Please do not yell at our bicycling neighbors to move over. They have every right to utilize our roads. If you do not want to cross over the double yellow line, be patient and wait for a legal opportunity to pass.
For the vast majority of drivers who do safely cross the yellow lines, thank you for using common sense in selecting which rule to follow, the double yellow line or the safety of your neighbors.
Submitted by your friendly bicycling neighbors,
Paul Flyr and Lyn Smith