LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - A cycling alternative

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I must state that the proposal to designate Middle Waitsburg Road as a designated cyclist route is in poor judgment. Middle Waitsburg Road, like most county roads, is narrow.

Pavement leads to a graveled soft shoulder that leads to ditches, dirt banks and embankments. There is no safe escape for cyclists or vehicles. The road has solid single and double yellow lines over 75 percent of its stretch. These solid yellow lines indicate to drivers that the road is dangerous and they need to use caution.

Cyclists are granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle. Slow moving motor vehicles are defined as ones that are proceeding at a rate of speed less than the normal flow of traffic at the particular time and place. These vehicles are required to have flashers, flaggers, orange apparel, signs or a combination of one or more.

Why are cyclist not required to wear orange? Or have lights on their bicycles, more than a small flashing red light, of which most of are hardly noticeable during daylight hours? A majority of cyclist wear earth or dark tones, these colors allow them to blend into the landscape.

When shaded areas are present or the sunlight is blinding, obstacles on the road cannot be seen. The proposal to install electronic signs that can be activated by a cyclist is silly and a waste of money. Country road signs and mailboxes are magnets for vandalism. An electronic sign will be costly the first time someone takes a bat, gun or large rock to it.

Secondly, large farm vehicles travel these roads, it isn't uncommon for a farmer to have to use the shoulder of the road while moving wide or slow moving vehicles and it is just another obstacle for all motor vehicles to have to look out for. Cyclist do not have a venue designated for their sport, like skiing, football, baseball etc.. They must co-exist with traffic and it can be volatile and dangerous.

I respect the sport but I do not believe any county road should be designated as a specific cycling route, the road is already marked as dangerous by the solid yellow lines. I think the cycling committee should use the electronic-sign money to research transforming the abandoned railway system that stretches from Walla Walla to the outlying communities into a safe and challenging cyclist path.

Amy White

Walla Walla

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