Dear Editor,

To the driver of the black pickup truck last Saturday evening - and any other drivers who are confused or ill informed about sharing the road with bicycles:

Bicycles are expected to follow the same rules of the road as vehicles, and therefore should be given a similar level of respect. On a section of road that has a dangerously narrow - or non-existent - shoulder (such Hwy. 98/Constitution Dr near the intersection with Monument Ave), a biker may chose to ride IN the lane of traffic for a short distance until the road widens and it is safe for a vehicle to pass. I have been brushed by a vehicle at that section before while trying to hug the edge, and prefer not to repeat that experience - which appears would have likely happened had you been able to get past me in the 20 seconds that it took my husband and I to complete that short section. I had a flashing rear light. We were riding single file (though I was "guarding" the rear and clearly in the middle of the lane when you laid on the horn). We were actually biking at a fast clip, and were doing everything possible to get through that dangerous spot and back out of the lane of traffic.

I realize bikers can be an irritation to some of you. However, please do not honk at a person on a bike. It can startle them into braking or veering suddenly. If you happen to get behind a bike going through a narrow section (like a construction zone or a narrow bridge), ease back and allow them time to complete the section in safety - just like a slower vehicle. Yes, it may take a few seconds more. We drive too; we know how it feels.

Conversely, I have seen vehicles cross a double-yellow line into the oncoming lane (on a blind curve) just to avoid driving too close to us - even when we have a wide shoulder and are well out of the way. That is NOT safe for anyone, and should never be done! Again, if you come up behind a biker and do not feel it is safe to pass them IN YOUR LANE, and do not have a legal passing zone, just slow down for a moment!

Bottom line: If we all travel safely and courteously, we all have a better chance of getting home to our families in one piece at the end of the day. Thanks.

Sandy Putnam

Port St. Joe