SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.
[ASK TROOPER STEVE: Send safety question to Trooper Steve]
The most recent question asks: Can you specifically address bicycle safety along the trail on Rinehart Road in Seminole County?
Along the east shoulder of Rinehart Road north of Lake Mary Boulevard, you’ll find a very well taken care of bike trail. Hundreds of bicyclists and pedestrians travel along this trail each and every day. Having the trail there does not take away anyone’s responsibility when crossing a public roadway.
I took a trip to the intersection of Rinehart Road and Timucuan Trail and sat there for just over an hour. What I found while I was there was that just a few of you are putting yourselves in some pretty serious danger.
So we need to remember that just because we are on a designated bike trail, does not mean that throughout your ride you’re not going to be required to stop or yield to other traffic.
Remember any time you’re crossing a public roadway with a traffic light, the traffic light is in charge of whether or not you cross that roadway. Simply because you are on the trail does not mean that you can continue along the crosswalk without yielding to other traffic that has right of way. I also noticed that the local government has also installed bicycle size stop signs to remind bicyclists to stop prior to going into the intersection.
So what’s the problem?
In one hour I witnessed four bicyclists proceed into the intersection without stopping. As they proceeded into the intersection the pedestrian signal indicated a stop hand. This means no pedestrian or bicycle should be crossing at that moment. As they enter the intersection vehicles traveling on there right of way were coming right at them.
In return, the bicyclists would become verbally argumentative with vehicle drivers. Now let’s think about that for a second. If you were crossing when you were supposed to cross there would be no stress and safety would be there for both the bicyclist and the drivers. If you are crossing when you are not supposed to you are forcing vehicles to brake when they should be the ones with the right of way within the intersection.
The solution: remember being a driver and a bicyclist come with a lot of responsibility that we tend not to even acknowledge. Mistakes while either in your car or on your bike can result in serious injury or even death.
My advice is whenever you are a pedestrian or a bicyclist and on a designated trail always stop or yield before crossing any public road. If the local government is going to go out of their way to install smaller stop signs that are designated for your travels, I’m pretty sure that they are there for a reason. Some people may be focused on their workout and feel stopping could interrupt the process but when you cross when you’re not supposed to and a crash occurs I think yielding or stopping is a little more important to some of our assumed entitlements.
If you have a traffic question for Trooper Steve, submit it here.