This news story popped up in my feed today. I was immediately horrified and then my emotions turned to an anger: how can this happen?
A pack of four cyclists? How could the driver not see them? Was it dark? Was the driver impaired by drugs or an infirmity?
The driver made a poor decision: overtake them with an oncoming vehicle.
I became curious about the ride-single-file laws in that state: were they required to ride in that manner? No, in fact riding two-by-two in North Carolina is 'implicitly permitted'.
I firmly believe that my safety supersedes a courtesy to motorists. Taking the lane is believed to be beneficial in preventing motorists making close, dangerous passes. I see it in my road experience. I've had a recent experience where a motorist shouted a command at Marko and I to ride "SINGLE FILE" by a motorist who had an entire lane at his disposal to pass us. We've had interactions with drivers who use the "Share The Road" phrase against us. A local cyclist was told recently by a Pittsburgh police officer to ride 'far to the right' and yet another local cyclist ticketed in 2013 for the same 'offense'.
However, regardless of one's comfort with placement in the road, motorists need to stop passing with no regard for the lives of other road users. $500 fines for killing people with your car is a second slap in the face to the families of dead cyclists and pedestrians.
I'm increasingly disturbed by the lack of education for police and driver misconceptions about the way cyclists ride. We aren't 'hogging the road' just to annoy and inconvenience motorists. We're taking the lane in order to arrive at our destination intact and alive.