Q: I just had an unpleasant encounter with a bicyclist.
I was on my daily walk when I heard a “beep-beep” and “excuse me.” As I stepped off the sidewalk so two bikes could pass, I told her to ride in the street as she was an adult, and she told me to walk in the street.
Who has the right of way? Does a 76-year-old have to move out of her way and off the sidewalk where she could twist an ankle?
Sandie Ehrman, San Jose
A: It’s usually legal to bike on a sidewalk in a residential area. The bicyclist was rude to tell you to walk in the street.
Q: Many thousands are killed on US highways and streets each year. Isn’t it time to run TV ads promoting safety, instead of speeding SUVs and sports cars?
Melanie Duffe and others
A: Traffic crashes kill nearly 40,000 and injure over 4 million people every year in the U.S. A group called CityLab found that around half of U.S. car ads feature dangerous driving behavior.
In 2019, speed was a contributing factor in at least a quarter of traffic fatalities, which rose a staggering 8% last year, a trend experts attribute almost entirely to a massive uptick in speeding on pandemic-emptied roads.
The study found that after viewing car ads that promoted high-speed driving and rapid acceleration, people were more likely to think those driving behaviors were a good idea. Australia and Canada discourage car companies from advertising dangerous driving. In 2018, the U.K. banned advertisements from several car companies that promoted dangerous driving.
CityLab concluded: “Americans live on 30-mph streets, not on the set of ‘Fast and Furious.’”
Q: I have been paying close attention to complaints about speeding drivers. It seems like so many freeways are inundated with these selfish and unruly drivers. We travel Interstate 280 regularly to visit our grandchildren, from San Mateo to Saratoga.
We typically drive 70 mph, which is slow on 280, and stay in the middle lanes to allow those who want to go faster to pass us. However, we’ve seen so many people who are going at least 90 mph and some have to be going over 100 mph! I-280 is wide open and seems to attract speeders.
We rarely see enforcement, but the other day for the first time in ages, we saw two drivers getting tickets. YAY! I hope more enforcement is forthcoming to slow these drivers down so word gets around that they can’t keep getting away with this unlawful behavior and scaring the beejezzes out of the rest of us!!
A: That would be welcomed.
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Author: Gary Richards