Dear Mahatma: I have been driving on interstate highways for more than 54 years and have observed some common tendencies. Slower drivers have the ability to control the speed of faster drivers. Faster drivers have no control over the speed of slower drivers. I recall that I learned at some time in the distant past of a state law that requires a driver who causes five or more vehicles to accumulate then the driver must arrange for the vehicles to pass. Is there such a law? -- Highway Veteran
Dear Veteran: We too have been driving for a while. But we have no recollection of such a five-vehicle or more law. Maybe it was a courteous rule of thumb.
What we do know is that it's legal to drive in the left lane of a four-lane highway. That is, two lanes in each direction. The requirement is that if someone behind you is traveling faster, yield the lane, move over.
As our old Dad used to say to us five kids: Capiche?
Dear Resolver of Roadway Questions: Why did someone think it was a good idea to reduce part of 12th Street's four lanes to three, creating a traffic bottleneck to provide bike lanes on both sides of the street? I have seen TWO bicyclists in all these years. And the center lane isn't so much a turn lane as a passing lane. Please tell me this is an experiment gone awry and four lanes of traffic will soon be restored. -- Weary Traveler
Dear Weary: You present two matters. First the second; then second the first.
Regarding center left-turn lanes, Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-309 says those lanes "shall not be used for through travel, nor shall a center left-turn lane be used for passing or overtaking, except as a part of the left-turn maneuver." If drivers are hot-rodding the center left-turn lane on 12th Street, they shouldn't.
Regarding the bicycle lanes, did you know the city of Little Rock in 2018 was given a Bicycle Friendly Community Award from the League of American Bicyclists? A news release from the city said Little Rock thus joined "374 visionary communities from across the country."
That vision includes parts of other streets such as Main and Louisiana, where vehicle travel lanes have been reduced to accommodate the building of bicycle lanes. The Mahatma is part of a "community" located on Louisiana Street, in the 600 block. When the street was reconfigured, several members of this "community" said to him: "What the heck!"
Turns out vision is in the eye of the beholder.
At its essence, this is a political matter. The city Board of Directors, in its wisdom, supports making more opportunities for bicyclists.
Our advice is to run for the city board on a platform advocating the inalienable right of drivers to have maximum lanes, and convince the rest of the board.
Vanity plate: SHESBAD
Metro on 10/12/2019