Tasting Etiquette

Our friends at the wineroad.com have put together a great video on the “Rules of the Road.”

If you are new to wine tasting, be sure to check out this video before your first adventure.

The Denver Post wrote a great article last year on How to Behave at a Wine Tasting and the Wine Spectator has written How to Get the Most out of a Wine Tasting.

Cyclists Often Have to Share Narrow Roads with Motorist in Sonoma County.  The Press-Democrat’s Sherry Adams recently wrote an article on Tips to Follow for Safer Roads.  Please be careful if you are riding in Sonoma County.

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By SHERRY ADAMS / Special to Towns

While it sometimes feels like there isn’t enough road space to go around, small changes in how we handle ourselves can make sharing the road easier and safer for everyone. Sharing the road is a learned skill.

Communicate. All road users need to signal their turns, including bicyclists and drivers.

Intersections are dangerous. No passing. Regardless of bike lanes that are striped on the straight-aways, intersections are different. We all share lanes at intersections, so we should position ourselves based on where we are going.

Motorists, you should never turn right with a cyclist between you and the curb. If you are approaching an intersection in a car, want to turn right and have a bicyclist just ahead of you, wait behind the cyclist.

Bicyclists, you shouldn’t pass vehicles on the right if you are close to an intersection because drivers often turn right without signaling. If you are approaching an intersection and want to go straight, you shouldn’t stay next to the curb. Force right-turning motorists to stay behind you.

Be predictable. If you are riding past a few parked cars, don’t swerve around them, for example. Ride in a straight line as if all the parking spots were full. Ride in the same direction as traffic. Always look ahead for obstacles and vehicles entering the roadway. Follow traffic rules such as ceding right-of-way at stop signs or red lights. Motorists, when you decide at the last minute to make a U turn or cross several lanes without signaling, you risk hitting a cyclist.

Be visible. Use lights and reflectors at night, bright or light-colored clothing during the day. Moving objects catch the eye of drivers most easily, such as bands on your ankle or reflectors on your wheels. If a collision seems possible, yelling loudly is the next best thing to a horn.

Be wary of parked/stopped cars. Someone backing out of an angled parking spot most likely cannot see you. Don’t ride so close to parallel-parked cars that a door swinging open will hit you. You do not have to be all the way over to the right if that is not a safe place to be. If a car is stuck behind you because the road is too narrow to pass, consider pulling over as a courtesy.

When riding in a group, do what you can to make it easy for cars to get around you. Listen carefully for cars on narrow roads and single up promptly when someone is coming up behind you. When going up a steep hill, split into small groups with space between each group so a car can leapfrog around the groups.

Sometimes you have to share the lane. There are times when a cyclist and a motorist have to be in the same lane. Even if there is a shoulder or bike lane, it may be full of broken glass. If there are parked cars, cyclists can’t be close enough to get whacked if someone opens a car door.

If cyclists are sharing the lane with cars, motorists have to wait behind them until it is safe to pass. It’s uncommon for this to take more than 10 seconds. When it is safe, give the cyclist a wide berth.

If you need to make a left or right turn in front of the cyclist and are not sure you have enough time, wait until after the cyclist has cleared the intersection.

Sidewalks. Most cyclists should be on the roadway, not on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are dangerous for cyclists, because car drivers aren’t expecting you to be there.

Pick your route well. Cyclists have the right to use any road except those signed prohibiting bikes (like freeways), but some routes work better than others. The best way to get somewhere by car may not be the best way for bikes. And some routes that work well for a solo cyclist do not work well for groups. Start with your local cycling map if you don’t know the best cycling routes.

Be nice. Lots of cyclists and motorists out there do not know how to share the road. Getting angry every time you encounter one of them is more stress than you need in your life. Show them how it is done, model good behavior.

Motorists, remember that what you are driving can kill. When cyclists do something stupid, they usually are only endangering their own lives. When you do something stupid, you may be endangering someone else’s life. No one wants to live with that kind of guilt or regret.

Healdsburg cyclist Sherry Adams is a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor.