This past week the video of Tyler Noe getting plowed to the ground has taken the US and social media streams by storm. Reading comments on these posts makes it VERY clear that all is not well between cyclists and drivers. There is some pure hate being spewed out there.
With this in mind, we wanted to throw out 10 Things Every Cyclist Wants Drivers to Know…
(And we know the door swings both ways…so we’ve included what we’re committed to doing on our end to help improve relations as well.)
- Our #1 goal is not to piss you off or slow you down. We understand it can be frustrating to get stuck behind a cyclist and we do our best to choose the roads we travel on to minimize the amount of driver and cyclist interactions.
- What looks like attempts to make you mad are actually attempts to keep everyone safe. We understand there is plenty of risk in sharing the road with 2000+ pound vehicles. After being buzzed multiple times, it is not uncommon that we will take more of the roadway to make sure you pass when there is enough safe room to do so. Again, not because we want to piss you off, it’s just we want to come home to our families.
- 99% of us also drive cars. In fact, most have multiple cars that we pay plenty of tax, registration, and insurance on which helps pay much more than our fair share of our road use, upkeep, and maintenance.
- Riders bombing through busy stop signs and red lights angers us just as much as it does you. Yes, there are situations where we do not come to a full and complete stop at stop signs in really low traffic areas. Just like there are thousands of occasions each day where drivers do the same.
- Not all cyclists are a-holes. As with any demographic across the world, a small percent of cyclists will be a-holes the same way a small percentage of drivers will be a-holes. Please don’t judge us based on your previous interactions with cyclists and instead judge me based on my actions. I agree to do the same for you.
- Sidewalks and jogging paths are meant for pedestrians. As faster moving cyclists, we are a danger to pedestrians if we try and share these traffic paths with them. This is the reason you will see a cyclist riding in the street, right next to a nice jogging path. Again, it is not to piss you off or slow you down. (Note: this doesn’t mean riders can’t use these paths, but if you do, keep it slow and safe around runners/walkers/kids.)
- Riding “two abreast” (side-by-side) is actually safer for us and better for you as well. The time and distance it takes to pass a group riding side-by-side is a lot less than a strung out single file line.
- Cycling is growing in numbers. In fact, cycling has been called the “new golf” in regards to business men and women choosing it as their recreation of choice. This means that there are going to be many more driver and cyclist interactions.
- We are just like you. We are brothers, sisters, mom’s, dad’s, grandparents, and children. We have kids that count on us to return from each ride we go on. Each time we leave our house, we kiss our kids and tell them we love them. We know that all it takes is one impatient, distracted, drunk, or pissed off driver to prevent us from ever returning home. We ask you to take those extra few seconds to make sure it’s clear before passing. You put down your cell phones while driving. You give us those 3 feet, or even more if you’re willing, to make sure you pass us safely. We appreciate it more than you know.
- We know that something needs to change. We need to get the conversation away from drivers vs cyclists and instead discuss the ways that we can co-exist peacefully and safely. We don’t want to piss you off and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be the person that prevents our family from ever seeing us alive again.
So with all that said, I’m ready to take the first step on behalf of cyclists and say what we need to do better:
- If we want drivers to “share the road”, let’s make sure we’re not riding like a-holes. This is especially true on our group rides. We’re not on closed roads so we should never be crossing yellow lines, riding 5 across, or blowing through stop signs and red lights just to try and “win” the ride. This (understandably) pisses off drivers. This leads to the next point.
- We need to ride and abide by the rules of the road. These rules vary for each of us based on the state, but nowhere should we be blowing through busy stop signs and red lights. Take the extra 15 seconds.
- We will be more courteous. If cars are backed up for an unreasonable time behind us, let’s find a safe spot to move off the road and let them by. Small courtesy and respect for the drivers time can go a long way.
- Although sometimes unavoidable (especially for you awesome commuters), let’s do our best to minimize the time spent on busier two lane roads. Especially on group rides. It makes it really tough for our fellow road sharers to pass. If you do have to travel on these roads, adhere to the point above.
- We will do our best to be more visible and predictable. Let’s make sure we’re using front and back lights when riding, especially when the daylight is fading and in the dark to help drivers see us better. Let’s also make sure we’re not cutting off traffic and darting in and out of lanes. Smooth and predictable!
- We will give a friendly wave to safe drivers letting them know we appreciate their patience and respect. I mean, who doesn’t like a friendly wave?
Drivers, we are ready to step up and improve relations between us.
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