Last September a 14-year-old boy was riding his bicycle to school when he was struck by an SUV and killed. This week the driver of that SUV was ticketed for an illegal lane change which resulted in the crash which killed the boy.

That driver, Cynthia Napoleon, is due in court to answer for the ticket in January. In the meantime, as you might expect, the parents, family and friends of the boy, along with bicycling groups around the state are outraged that the woman only received a ticket.

According to traffic laws, bicycles and cars must share the road. This is fine for the car drivers who are protected by 3,000 pounds of steel, plastic and glasses, and much less so for the bicyclists who have naught but a helmet to protect them.

This past year in New York efforts have been made to better accommodate bicyclists on state roadways. This has increased the number of bicyclists on the roads, further complicating the situation for both parties. Although traffic laws clearly define the right of way for both types of vehicles, not all drivers are aware of the laws. Even when they are following the law there is still a great deal of risk when drivers, or bicyclists, refuse to yield because they believe, or even know, they have the legal right-of-way.

Simply having the legal right-of-way is no excuse for causing a collision which might result in injury or even death. Even worse is committing an illegal move which also results in injury or death.

As gas prices rise across the country more and more drivers are choosing to put down their car keys in favor of two-wheeled, pedal powered transport. This has resulted in an increase in bicycling. With the increase in cycling comes the invariable mix of cars and bikes that can create hazards for both.

It’s a dangerous driving world. Be careful out there.