A Cyclist's Guide for Oblivious Drivers

I was so mad riding my bike yesterday. It was in the evening and there were tons of deer and turkeys out. I was riding in a large and hilly park since there were t-storms close and I didn't want to be too far from my car if it started to thunder and lightning.

What ticked me off were the people in cars that were stopping the in middle of the road to look at deer like they were some exotic animal at the zoo. I come flying down a hill and around a corner to find a SUV parked int he middle of the driving lane, with another car parked in the other lane gawking as well. I slammed on the brakes and barely squeezed through, right as one driver started moving again, without checking for traffic. There were parking spaces within 100 yd and plenty of room to pull over on the shoulder. I'm tired of inattentive drivers who have complete disregard for other cars, bikes, and pedestrians on the road.

I've come up with a list for drivers who don't also ride bike and seem to think we're just a nuisance on two wheels. If every driver knew these things, the world would be safer for cyclists.

1. Don't expect a bike to get over on the shoulder for you to pass. Especially if it's gravel. Bikes have the same right-of-way as cars and gravel is dangerous for a road bike. I do not need to move to facilitate your giant SUV making a pass.
2. Before passing, take a minute to gauge how fast the bike is moving, particularly if you need to make a right turn. We may be going faster than you think. Every cyclist has been cut off or clipped by someone who speeds up to pass and then makes an immediate turn.
3. When passing, give as much room as possible. In cross-winds, it is damn near impossible to hold a straight line on a bike. You may think it's funny to pass by close, but if that cyclist is blown into your path, you will still be at fault and Gatorade makes a sticky mess.
4. Give room for making stops. A bike moving at 25 mph takes more distance to stop than a car at 25 mph (think "itty-bitty brakes").
5. Be cautious around cyclists in the aero position. You know, the guys and gals in the tighty-short shorts who are hunched over their bikes like Lance. A cyclist in the aero position is less stable than normal, and they don't have quick access for their brakes. They have responsibilities for their own safety, but just use a little extra caution.

There is a reason I ride in the country where there's little traffic. Hillbilly dogs, on the other hand, are a whole different problem.

1 comment:

Patricio said...

Those are great, wish ppl learn those when they take their driver's license test!