Rules Of The Road - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1984749

Rules Of The Road

Over Memorial Day weekend, I was pleasantly surprised by how conscientious drivers were about keeping a safe distance from those of us on bicycles. Thank you, sincerely. The rest of this rant is not intended for you.

I’m often alarmed and endangered by those driving too fast and too close to bicyclists. I count myself as lucky each time I return home without having had a close encounter. People are going to get hurt, or worse.

The Hamptons affords an escape from the normal fast pace of our lives. What’s the rush?

1. Slow down.

Your Peloton and Pilates will be there if you arrive two minutes late. Better yet, leave a few minutes earlier, please.

2. Move over.

When you see bicyclists, you can move across the road divider. The consistently most respectful and safest drivers in my experience are workers and tradespeople who go out of their way, literally, to avoid getting too near. Be like them.

Note to bicyclists: We too have an obligation to share the road, so always bike single file and keep far right, even with no shoulder.

Note to pedestrians and runners: New York State law dictates that “where sidewalks are not provided, any pedestrian shall walk only on the side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic.”

3. Signal.

Although your nails are wet from that mani-pedi, if it’s not too much to ask, please signal when you’re turning. Not simply because it is the law, but because it lets everyone else on the road know your intention. “Intention” is good, not inconvenient.

4. Come to a full stop.

That’s why the stop sign is there. At a four-way stop, remember the protocol — first to arrive is first to go — and, in case of uncertainty, why not let the other “guy” go first? Courtesy is contagious.

5. Do not text while driving.

Dear big shot, multitasking master of the universe: There are 30,000 accidents annually, some fatal, as a direct result of texting and driving, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. It’s not urgent to see who liked your latest Instagram post. Put your phone down until you arrive at Citarella.

Also, parents might explain to their entitled kids driving European sports cars that mowing down a bicyclist would look bad on their resumes, and manslaughter means jail.

Props to the Southampton Town Police (and town employees), who’ve been consistently professional, helpful and nice in my 25 years of living here. It cannot be easy to enforce the law in a community composed of so many 1-percenters who have the misguided belief that the rules the rest of us follow don’t apply equally to them.

Be safe and enjoy.

Robert Rosenthal