Last weekend, we were traveling to Milton-Freewater during the late morning hours and encountered a cycling event headed in the same direction on Oregon State Highway 11.
The majority of the cycling group were riding in the presumably designated “bike-lane,” (that appeared to be rather narrower than the lanes on most city streets), who were conscious of approaching traffic.
However, as we approached a lone rider approximately 50 yards beyond, we noticed the participant riding directly on the white line, placing the individual fairly close to approaching vehicular side-view mirrors. As we began to close the distance, we attempted to move into the left lane, but were prevented from changing lanes by an SUV that had slowed beside us.
As we approached the cyclist, we noticed an object on the white line ahead. Anticipating the cyclist’s attempt to avoid the object, we hugged the line to our left as the cyclist “zagged” slightly to the left, narrowly avoiding contact with our vehicle.
As we continued somewhat disturbed by our potentially cataclysmic event, we were extremely grateful for having been able to prevent an incident.
We discussed that had we been placed in our motor coach, which is considerably wider and lacks the option of mobility or wiggle room, it could have been a massive multiple-vehicle catastrophe with serious injuries and/or possible fatality.
Why the ODOT would approve such an event on a moderate to heavily traveled state highway of commercial trucking and local traffic at speeds of 50-plus mph, is beyond comprehension.
We were just thankful no one was the worse for the harrowing experience that the inconsiderate “Spandex outfitted, broad-beamed” cyclist placed on us, only to survive and ride again, challenging other drivers with the possibility of not experiencing the same outcome.
Recently, there have been numerous pro and con opinions presented regarding cycling locations and styles in this county. What precipitates the arrogance and superiority attitudes exhibited by drivers and riders throughout the U.S.? It is unfortunate that mass participation by the public cannot be established here, as in France and other foreign countries.
There are plenty of good paved country roads in this area that could accommodate massive cycling traffic for miles without causing undue hardships on local businesses by barricading a route through the main artery of a town or major highway.
Reuben T. Tsujimura