Share the Road Dammit!

I am all for cycling, and sharing the road with cyclists. However, sharing teh road is a two way street (pardon the pun). Cyclists need to be aware that cars are big, heavy, have blind spots and lots of sound deadening to make it even more challenging for drivers to be aware of cyclists.

While I try to pat myself on teh back for being aware of my surroundings even I have had my situations where I cut off a cyclists by turning in front of them or what not. However, and you thought I was going to go easy, some of these damn cyclists are insane and are going to get hurt.

Do the math, 180lb male body + 20lb bike + wimpy plastic helmet vs. 3200lb steel car. Who is going to come out better off by being cocky or breaking the law? It’s been a little while since I ran into any really cocky riders, so most recently my problems have been with cyclists not following “the rules.”

If I am going to share the road with you, I expect you to be heading in the same direction as me and on the street. If you are flying down a side walk, going against traffic, coming to a partially bling intersection, don’t get your panties in a bunch when I can’t see you as I creep through the stop sign looking.

By default, a driver is going to first check traffic in the lane that they want to travel in. Since I tend to turn right out of my neighborhood I am going to look left immediately to look for traffic. Then check right for peds and u-turns, then check left again before venturing into traffic.

Now, I know it’s not all the riders fault, I mean if that homeowner and the city would just remove bushes, trees and fences I would be able to see far enough to notice you. But since I can’t please refrain from swearing at me, spitting on my car and flipping me off as you narrowly avoid plowing into the front of my car as I inch forward.

I am proud of your athletic prowess and the drive to cut down pollutants while riding, but the responsiblility is not ALL MINE. Open up your own eyes and ears, be aware of upcoming intersections especially when you are breaking the rules.

A little common sense, patience and learning the rules of the road we can co-exist in traffic without these nasty exchanges.

7 thoughts on “Share the Road Dammit!”

  1. As a person who’s been hit by a car on a bike (In mississippi) I always watch out when I’m on my bike now.

    Though I have to admit, when I’m on my bike, the amount of BS moves drivers do far outweighs the stupid moves I see people on bikes do (myself included).

    I’d vote for Bike only roads. it’d be great if we could turn downtown denver into downtown Bejing

  2. Good point Joe, I want to be clear that I am not trying to say drivers aren’t a bigger problem, just making it be known that cyclists can be justs bad.

  3. My $0.02?

    I think there are a bunch of mis-matches in play in any car/bike interaction.

    Mismatch 1: attitude

    When I am cycling I am shorter tempered due to increased heart-rate, blood flow, adrenaline etc.

    In that state any confrontation triggers a near fight-or-flight reaction. This is probably heightened by the fact that a driver’s error or aggression could cost me my life.

    When I am driving it is usually to or from work and I am either just barely awake, or mentally drained.

    Mismatch 2: visibility

    A cyclist’s eye level is approximately 5.5 ft above pavement, a driver’s is about 3 ft. That combined with a-pillars, b-pillars, c-pillars, and high trunk lines put drivers at a big disadvantage for visibility. This also means that situations which can clearly be seen developing by the rider, may be hidden from the driver.

    Jay, you are dead on about the sharing the road being a 2-way street.

    Moving violations for cyclists should be enforced equally, which they unfortunately are not.

  4. Tread lightly Jay…very lightly. Drivers are for the most part complete a**holes when it comes to cyclists & pedestrians. If you don’t believe me, head out on your bike for a while and just observe the utter madness. I almost get hit 3-4 times per week by someone not paying attention at an intersection, not to mention jackasses that like to honk at me for no reason at all, except maybe to try and scare me for sport. Punk asses! My wife runs 4-5 times per week, usually on sidewalks, and has reported NEARLY getting hit at intersections when she has a “walk” sign about once per week. C’mon people. Head out of ass = good thing!

    This is a TOTAL joke. Drivers just don’t pay attention like they should. I agree with Josh (and Jay), that sharing the road is a “two-way street,” but if you review your rules of the road manual from when you took driver’s ed., you’ll recall that cyclists have the SAME road rights as cars, and pedestrians ALWAYS have the right-of-way. I’m sorry, but lazy-ass driver’s that just don’t care to pay attention require a swift kick to the nuts.

    Am I a perfect driver? Absolutely not. But when I screw up I give the “I’m sorry wave,” and don’t try to blame the person who’s in the right.

    Lots of love,

    The Bear

  5. Dan –

    I think I stated before, if not, drivers are almost always at fault in altercations like the one I experienced. However, based on the rules, if he were a car, he would be driving down the wrong way of a one way street.

    Near misses are scary as hell when someone is coming from a direction that is not expected. Also, my post is about me and cyclists, not the average driver and cyclists.

    This cyclist was in the wrong in both where he was riding and his behavior. For what it’s worth, I stopped in time, and he didn’t NEED to take any evasive action even though instinctually he did. He also did not need to act the way he did.

    Like I said before, had he been following the rules, it would have never happened because he would have been on the correct side of the road. 😉

    Of course now I pay more attention to that corner than the cars coming, but that’s another story. 🙂

    I may not ride as much as you, but I have had my share of close calls, some from me being stupid and some from drivers being stupid.

  6. Agreed. If cyclists cannot abide by rules of the road then they get what they get. I feel the same about idiots that don’t wear helmets. Not to go off on too much of a tangent, but if you’re not wearing a helmet on a bicycle or motorcycle and then sustain a serious head injury, or worse (death), then I’m really sorry but I ain’t gonna feel too bad for you. You know the risks. Same deal as smoking…uh…I’m totally getting off subject now.

    Cyclists rule!!!

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