This is a very hot topic right now. With new roads being paved with bike lanes and more people commuting to work on their bikes around the city. This is all amazing because it is showing that more people are making an effort to being active and healthy and certain cities are embracing that by creating bike lanes or re-paving to allow cyclists and cars to “coexist”. I put that into quotes because that only works in an ideal and perfect world. Which is something we do not live in.
Being a runner, cyclist, and driver I get to see the good and bad of all sides. I get to see the cars that pass me and almost clip me. I get to see cyclists blow through stop signs and red lights thinking they own the road. I see cars pull up to a stop sign/red light past the cross walk and do nothing but give me an evil look when I pass. I see cars in the same situation realize they are in the cross walk and back up to allow me to pass. So I see a lot while I am out training or driving.
Now the big thing that law makers and enforcers are saying is if you are on the road you must follow the rules of the road. I say “great”. I stop at stop lights and stop signs but I will roll through them like cars, because we all know that no one makes a full stop at a stop sign. If I roll through a red light I make sure no cars are anywhere close and even then I kind of make a right turn then a U-turn so I am basically turning right then turning right back onto the street (hope that makes sense). I was on a ride today and I saw a cop giving a cyclist a ticket because I guess he blew a stop sign. Do I have sympathy for that? No. I ended up talking to that guy a little later and he told me he slowed down, this was an area with little to no traffic ever, then went through. We talked for a bit about how we kind of thought about the laws and how everyone treated cyclists. And as we were doing this a car blew right passed us, then another car passed us but went over the double yellow dividing lines.
So that leads me to my next point. If you want to treat cyclists like they are cars than ticket cars who pass us under the 3 foot limit, or those cars who cross the double line to pass us. Now I really don’t think those passing the double yellow to pass should be ticketed because they are being amazingly accommodating and giving us space (which is why a lot of places are creating new laws allowing a double yellow cross to pass cyclists which is great). What I really want is just to have cars respect cyclists and cyclists respect cars. It just sucks that a few bad cyclists make cars hate cyclists because they don’t obey laws and a few totally unaware drivers make most drivers seem bad.
But from my point of view I think it is all about awareness for drivers. The thing we always read about when someone hits a cyclist is “I didn’t see them”. That’s because we, as drivers, are not paying attention. We are texting, messing with the radio, doing our hair or make up or whatever the hell else we do in the car. Now I don’t want to make it seem like I am blaming only the drivers, because I am not. I just think we all need to work together and respect each other so we can all be on the roads together. And hopefully the lawmakers will realize some laws need to be changed to accommodate this. So here’s some advice: cyclists, ride defensively and assume no one sees you, do not blow red lights and stop signs, and when a car does something nice give them a wave so they know you acknowledge them, that will show the driver you are thankful for them. Drivers, if there is a bike lane do not drive in it and if you are turning right make sure you look for a cyclist because they have the right of way since that is their lane, if you are passing a cyclist make sure you give them a lot of space and remember your mirror sticks out about a foot from the car, do not honk to say “I’m behind you”, I am happy you are letting me know you are there but what happens is that honk will startle me or I will assume you are annoyed with my presence on the road.
Those are just a few things that have popped into my head and the list of tips goes on and on but I do not remember all of them. Hope you enjoyed the post and, again, I am not blaming drivers for everything! I think everyone has a part to play to make our roads safer.