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Editorial: Bikers and drivers must work together

Bikes and cars have a sometimes uneasy alliance on public streets. Bikers might sometimes resent drivers for crowding the side of the road. Drivers might get angry at bikers for riding too close to the lane of traffic. It's easy to get frustrated, and frustration can sometimes lead to bigger problems.

It shouldn't be a difficult situation to work out. No biker wants to get hit by a car, and while Tony Kornheiser, a Monday Night Football commentator, sports columnist and television and radio personality recently upset bikers by arguing on the radio he should be allowed to run down any cyclist that got in his way, we don't believe any driver truly wants to hit a biker.

Car-bike incidents are not a frequent problem in Farmington, but it doesn't take much for an accident involving vehicles of such different sizes to turn tragic. We know of one car-bike accident already this spring, and while it didn't result in much more than a few bumps and bruises it's a reminder of how narrow the margin for error can be. The fact is, drivers and bikers need to cooperate to keep the streets safe.

That's not always easy. Some drivers seem to feel bikers have no place on the roads. Some bikers seem eager to assert their right to be there. It can be a volatile mix.

This is a situation that only works if people work together. Bikers have a right to be on public streets. They are responsible for staying as far to the right as is reasonable -- on the shoulder or, if there is no shoulder, as far to the right as possible. But bikers also are bound by the same traffic laws as drivers. That means stopping at stop signs and red lights. It means watching out for cars as much as cars should be watching out for bikes.

As the weather warms this spring bikes will become a more frequent presence on Farmington area roads. If everybody works together, we can keep the roads safe for everyone.