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Keep Delaware Yield law on the books

February 25, 2021

I write in defense of the Delaware Yield Bicycle Law (Cape Gazette, Feb. 19). Around the country, states are slowly realizing that bicyclists are most vulnerable when they are stopped at an intersection. Cyclists are most wobbly as they start off from a stop. Allowing a cyclist to avoid a stop when it is safe just makes sense. My experience is that most of the opposition to the law comes from non-cyclists. As James Wilson points out, the data does not support their assertion that the law has put cyclists at risk.

The street crossings along the Lewes-Georgetown Trail are not typical intersections and are not representative of thousands of intersections across the state. The trail is mostly through the woods, and is mostly used by casual, recreational riders. When the trail is forced to cross a road, it is very well marked for both riders and drivers. DelDOT has done a great job as the photo in your article clearly shows. Letting the law expire will not make these crossings safer. Those who are truly worried about the safety of cyclists should argue for stop signs for the cars! Personally, I think the problem with the L-G trail is that it is fundamentally different from the other nearby trails: Gordons Pond and Junction-Breakwater. The latter have almost no road crossings, earning a reputation for being totally safe. When a casual rider moves to the L-G trail the circumstances have changed.

Finally, I must address the stated concern for when it is “left to the judgment of the cyclist.” If that is really an issue, it is time to rethink right-on-red at stop lights and the HAWK lights here in Rehoboth. Both of these allow the “judgment” of the driver to decide to go through a red light. In both cases, as a lifelong cyclist, I can say from experience, when cars can decide to run red lights, bicycles are at risk.

Bruce Kauffman
Rehoboth Beach
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