In response to Sara Ferguson's letter ("Bicyclists vs. everyone else," Sept. 29, Gazette), I will help explain the sudden increase in "avid" cyclists around Lake Hefner. In the past few years, there have been several deaths of cyclists in the Tulsa and OKC Metro areas due to motor vehicles. These deaths, compounded with a rash of overly aggressive drivers and a seeming disinterest of local government to implement our current cycling laws, have forced many cyclists to use Lake Hefner as an alternative training ground instead of roads. I believe there is a solution to this growing concern, but there must be cooperation.

First, cyclists must obey all cycling laws, especially stop signs. Second, cyclists must realize the short stretch of path by Louie's is not for racing. Slow down and pay attention. There are always small children, strollers and dogs. Third, all others using the trails must stay out of the bike lanes! There are designated lanes and paths for walking and running. 

Finally, for bicycles on the roadways, there is no state or city law that requires a cyclist to use a designated bike path. However, common courtesy must be used. When a cyclist can travel the speed limit, use the road. There is no reason to travel 25-plus mph on a bike/pedestrian trail. When a cyclist cannot maintain this speed, use the bike path.

Many times I have been on the roadways at the lake traveling the speed limit, only to be yelled at, given obscene hand gestures and ran off the road by motorists.

The ultimate goal is to provide common ground where cyclists can travel city streets without fear of assault. Hostile behavior between motorists, cyclists and pedestrians creates an unsafe environment for everyone. If cyclists are continually pushed off the roads by motorists " and if the city and state governments do not get involved to provide for a growing and positive sport " this situation will likely worsen.

Oklahomans need to surpass the idea that bicycles are not an acceptable means of transportation. I agree that everyone needs to get along, but that doesn't mean everyone has to agree with your own ideas and lifestyle. Compromise and respect have to start with everyone; every person needs to be more self-aware and accountable.

"Tommy Willis
Oklahoma City

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