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Oxford

Cyclists, Motorists Same in Eyes of Law

Oxford has added a number of bike lanes around town in the past few years due to an influx of cycling. / Photos by Amelia Camurati
Oxford has added a number of bike lanes around town in the past few years due to an influx of cycling. / Photos by Amelia Camurati

In the past few years, Oxford officials have made a push to make roads safer for those traveling by car and bicycle.
Many roads in town are now lined with bicycle lanes to make traveling from Anderson Road or College Hill Road to campus much safer for both drivers and cyclists. On roads without bicycle lanes, drivers are to give cyclists at least three feet of space for their safety since a bicycle is not nearly as protected as a car.
“The city of Oxford promotes itself as a bicycle-friendly community and respects the rights of cyclists as well as encourages bicycling,” Oxford Deputy Police Chief James Owens said. “It’s an effective way to travel, it’s good on our environment and it also helps us cut down on our motor vehicle traffic.”
In the eyes of the law, cyclists are treated as vehicles and should adhere to the same rules of the road.
In the eyes of the law, cyclists are treated as vehicles and should adhere to the same rules of the road.

But while many cyclists see themselves as different entities than cars and motorcycles, cyclists are held to the same rules of the road as any other motorized vehicles. When a cyclist comes to a red light on the road, regardless of bike lanes or not, the bicycle should stop until the light turns green just like all traffic surrounding it.
“Motorists are to remember that a bicyclist has the same rights to the roadway as that motor vehicle,” Owens said. “On the same side, bicyclists need to be aware that they are under the same rules of the road as a motor vehicle. They have to stop at a traffic light, they have to stop at a stop sign, and they cannot go down the wrong way on a one-way street.”
Even if a road does not have a bicycle lane, cyclists are not supposed to ride on sidewalks.
Even if a road does not have a bicycle lane, cyclists are not supposed to ride on sidewalks.

Owens said bicyclists are not to ride down sidewalks and are to move with and not against the flow of traffic. When traveling at night, bicycles also need additional markers such as lights and reflectors to make the rider more visible.
Last week, a cyclist was hit by a car, and the Oxford police department is investigating the wreck and looking for the driver. However, Owens said cyclist/car wrecks aren’t common in Oxford despite the amount of traffic and narrow roads.
“I encourage cyclists to follow the rules of the road. You can be cited just as a motor vehicle can for violations of the rules of the road,” Owens said. “You’re held to the same.”
Amelia Camurati is managing editor of HottyToddy.com and can be reached at amelia.camurati@hottytoddy.com.

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