DEAR SUN SPOTS: Maine law says that you have to walk or ride a bike with the traffic flow on the right side of the road. I think it is a ridiculous law because when I know that there are drunken drives, people on their phones and, oh yes, the famous texting drivers behind me, but I don’t stand a chance of getting out of the way if I can’t see them.
If I am facing traffic, I feel that at least I have a chance to get out of the way. If someone can tell me that I’m wrong, please explain why. — Fern Asselin
ANSWER: Actually, Maine law requires walkers to face traffic, not walk with it.
As for bicyclists, they do have to follow the rules for all vehicles and travel in the same direction. Sun Spots agrees that it is not a very satisfactory or safe situation, and many states are building special bike lanes. Unless they are available, bicyclists, like motorcyclists, must use special care while sharing the road with inattentive drivers.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: As a daily commuter on Route 4 from Jay to Lewiston, does anyone know the statistics on how many deaths occur? Maybe seeing the numbers people will slow down a tad or pay more attention. Thank you. — Donna Dalton, Jay
ANSWER: You are not alone in your concern over the dangers of Route 4. Sun Journal reporter Christopher Williams wrote a story about this very topic for Wednesday’s paper. In that story, Maine Department of Transportation traffic engineer said there had been nine accidents at the Lake Shore Drive area from 2007 to the end of 2011 (none were fatalities).
Because Route 4 passes through several communities, compiling numbers for the entire road is difficult.
Sun Spots would like to think that if she published those numbers or heart-wrenching stories about awful crashes that driver behavior would change, but she doubts it. Despite overwhelming evidence — and numerous news stories — that people in cars should wear safety belts, motorcyclists and bicyclists should wear helmets, and that texting and speeding are dangerous, people continue to thwart laws and hurt themselves and others.
The good news is that tighter regulations and better enforcement have reduced traffic deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 188 fatalities in Maine in 2006, 183 in 2007, 155 in 2008, 159 in 2009 and 161 in 2010.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: If a driver’s license has expired while a person is having an eye operation, how much time can one have to renew it without taking a test?
Thank you for a great job. — No Name, Lewiston
ANSWER: According to www.dmv.org/me-maine/renew-license.php: “If it’s been less than a year since it expired, you may be able to renew it without taking the written test again.” This is a private website, not the official Maine website.
To be sure about your individual situation, you can check with the local Bureau of Motor Vehicle office. In Lewiston it’s at 36 Mollison Way. Or call 753-7750.
Sun Spots hopes you can now pass the eye test with flying colors.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I am not the original writer, so I'm not sure which sandwich shop the July 15 Gusher (in Aug. 1 letter) was referring to, but I can tell you that Heidi's on Turner Street in Auburn (right after the roundabout for Walmart/Lowe's) has awesome bagels with lox and cream cheese and capers.
They are the yummiest I've had since New York City! Plus they will make it just the way you want it. I'm not a capers’ fan myself, so I just get the bagel with cream cheese, lox, tomato, red onion and cucumber slices, preferably on an onion bagel. And now I'm going to go get one for lunch! — Leslie Riehm, email@example.com
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